Most helpful critical review
A Solid Collection - that could have been Super!
on 8 October 2007
This is one of the Elseworld series, where heroes have been taken from their normal storylines and put into strange plotlines and scenarios. This particular volume concerns probably the two greatest heroes of the DC universe: Superman and Batman.
This graphic novel takes place over a long period of time - from 1939 to 2919!It shows the initial meeting of Superman and Batman at the World Fair at the very beginning, and takes us on a roller-coaster journey into the futre. The collection weaves some well-known characters into the plot from the lives of the two main protaganists, such as Lex Luthor,Dick Grayson (the first Robin) the Joker, Ra's Al Ghul, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen to name a few. Also appearing are the sons and daughters of Superman and Batman, which makes for an interesting time.
The style changes in the collection depending on what period the authors are covering, so that in the Thirties episode the encounters are quite basic, and the style is very austere. Moving through into the seventies and eighties sees more changes, and the style moves on to reflect the period much more. How Batman and Superman are drawn is very different from how they started out. And in the future, the authors have let their imagination go to show how they think Batman and Superman would turn out.
But is this any good? Well, it is not my favourite Batman/Superman team-up ever. I preferred World's Finest to this, by quite a long way. This has some faults in it, which can't be easily swept aside. The idea is good, but ultimately, the graphic novel can't handle such a huge period of time properly. Some of the storylines are a bit weak, or rushed through in order to get to the next timeline. An example of this is the Joker storyline - The Joker has always been Batman's main nemesis, and yet he doesn't get enough time on the page to really make an impact.And i have to say i wasn't a huge fan of the children's storylines either...
In my opinion there is too much going on, with not enough depth to each chapter, and although there are some strands that carry on through the book there isn't enough intelligent continuity to make this collection stand head and shoulders above anything else out there.
The good points though are the ideas. The ideas themselves are good, and you would really like to see them developed a little bit more than they are. The artwork is not amazing, but then this is never meant to come close to Kingdom Come by Alex Ross, but it is certainy functional and reflective of the periods in the heroes lives.
All in all though, this isn;t the best graphic novel you will ever read. There are many more collections out there that are better than this for both characters. But this is an interesting diversion from the mainstream titles that Batman and Superan appear in. It is fun whilst it lasts, but i would spend my money on World's Finest rather than this (but then if you are collector, you would end up getting this too!).
My favourite piece is the Dick Grayson sub-plot.......watch out for that!
It is not dreadful, but it isn't great either..........