Batman Superman the New 52 issue #16 is out now and sure to shake up readers of this comic. The artwork is stunning and the storytelling right on but it is the premise that is sure to shake readers up a bit. In this issue, the story turns to the darker Batman side of the mythos, only its main target is Superman.
The story begins, as most stories do on a fairly happy note. Two overweight costume characters show up at a children’s hospital. They pretend to be Superman and Batman for a day to entertain the kids. The real Superman is delivering an Orca, along with Steel and Supergirl, back to the ocean to join the rest of the family of whales.
And then you turn the page.
In an instant, the Orca explodes, Steel and Supergirl and even Krypto are shot somehow, by something too fast for Superman to react to. And at the children’s hospital, a window is punctured and the volunteer who dressed up as Superman, slowly staggers out to the hallway and collapses.
Batman: “Whoever did this slapped around your friends… and then killed a completely helpless civilian…just because he was wearing a ‘S’. Luthor, or any of the others would have gone straight after you. This person’s playing games. Trying to send you a message.”
Superman: “What message?”
Batman: “I don’t know. And you probably never will either.”
Superman: “What the hell are you talking about?”
Batman: “I know a little something about this kind of thing Clark. You’re not dealing with a rational person. There’s…nothing here to make sense of. You’ve got yourself a Joker.”
Superman: “A Joker…”
Batman: “A remorseless, obsessive, insane murderer who’s playing a game you’ll never understand.”
DC is taking risks. While everyone, being the comic book fans who think the Iron Man that is portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. is the real Iron Man; or those others who think the last Superman movie was actually good…You sad little minions of Hollywood crap. Those that think the battle between Marvel and DC is fought out on a movie screen. While the rest of us who have been carrying around these magazines in our backpacks or rolled up in our lunch boxes know the real battle for comic book supremacy is the written word. Artwork helps. Hell the artwork is great but learn from the rise and Pompeii like fall of the early Image comics, artwork does not keep your reader in the game.
Story. Story. And because it is this damn important. Story.
Nobody goes, hey did you remember that comic from a few years back where Catwoman had that serious body and was crawling around on all fours with her butt in the air…oh how about the one where Flash was ripped and my god did you see the one where Supergirl was nearly naked through the whole comic…No what they say is did you read ( yes read!!) the last story arc where Catwoman is now the Crimelord of Gotham. Or where the Joker came back and he was Batman’s friend only Batman didn’t know. How about when Captain America died or when Superman died and now Falcon is the new Captain America and how about Spiderman and Silk, who is a female Spiderman only she was hidden away for all these years….
Story dammit story.
Batman Superman #16 looks to be laying the foundation for a terrific story arc. A Joker type nemesis to face Superman. I don’t know. Are Superman fans ready for the kind of dark storytelling that comes with a Joker villain? We will see, but I think its worth an opportunity to follow.