Thursday, November 19, 2015

Batman/Superman #26

Lately I'm more than a little hesitant to get issues with Bat family members doing cameos because a lot of writers have gotten the characters wrong recently. Doing things that make them unlikable and/or makes no sense. I don't even look at spoilers for a certain title because it's pretty much guaranteed to tick me off. While I didn't think Greg Paks' first Batman/Superman annual was perfect I did think it was enjoyable and he had a pretty good handle on one particular character. Let's see how he handles three bat kids interacting with Superman.


Some men forced to work for Vandal Savage are panicking as their equipment is malfunctioning and they don't want to make their boss mad. They attack when they mistake Superman for Savage but the big guy lets them know their there to help. He tries to introduce everyone else (Batgirl, Dick and Red Hood) but stopped when a kid's thrilled to see Superman. Clark feels awkward since his powers aren't at full strength and Jason explains the situation to them. Savages' men don't take the news well but a save from Superman puts them at ease.

Clark gives the bats different jobs to help everyone escape. Jason puts together a list of weapons to see what they can use against the big bad. He says Savage kicked Supermans' ass so they need something more, he also notices Clark isn't in the greatest of moods. They try to work on the teleporter Savage uses with Clark darkly suggesting rigging it to materialize Savage into a rock. Batgirl laughs because she thinks it's a joke but Clark isn't amused. Dick sets up witness protection stuff for the people and the kid wants to be "Clark." Then tries to hurt Superman...which is actually a little distrurbing. While the kid is jabbing him with a fork he eavesdrops on Dick telling the mom that Savage is immortal which means he can strike at any time. This only seems to upset him more partly because the little brat apparently did hurt him since he's bleeding.

I was worried about what role Jason would be playing and I don't like him playing the devil on his shoulder. Yes Jason has a point that Savage will likely kill these people but I don't know if he'd suggest this. Not to Superman, not on what's basically a family mission which translates to no killing. Naturally Jason instantly gets labeled the bad one as Dick says Batgirl and him didn't invite Jason there to murder people. The way this is written really rubs me the wrong way. It has Jason suggesting nuking the area to stop Savage just so we can see the idea being planted into Clarks' head.

Shadow monsters, which look like ninjas, attack. Dick is apparently slow on the uptake as he protests "killing" them despite Superman attacking like Jason. And he doesn't seem to notice there's no blood. To up my annoyance Robobat appears because Clark called him. Jim says he scanned them and confirms their not sentient but would his tech really be able to tell if they were something like magic based? Anyway they uncover a high tech ship that apparently connects with the Nazis.

Overall: I was enjoying this until the kill or not to kill debate. Last time Pak had Bruce pick Jason for the mission because he kills. It was unclear if Jason killed anyone in the issue but there was a lot of debating. It also didn't seem to occur to Bruce (or he didn't care) that his idea of shooting the floating sphere would kill the aliens within. I think that Jason would phrase things differently like asking what the actual plan is if their not going to kill to defend the people. Jason knows Superman is usually right up there with Bruce on the whole death thing so it seems odd for him to be suggesting this. Although I felt it was odd for Bruce to suggest Jason could kill in the annual too.

You're telling me Jason Todd, the guy that has connections to people with magic and tech automatically thinks they should set off nukes? While he's right that no one else is coming up with ideas this is really extreme for him. Hell his current portrayal in his series has him willing to give the bad guys a shot at redemption! I might not agree with that in some cases but that's a far cry from this!

Superman seems to be drifting towards the kill idea even before Jason says anything. I'm not sure how the solicit can connect given what we're shown. I have a feeling everyone will blame Jason if Clark goes off the rails. The only way I can see it working in line with what the solicit says is if Jason was just ranting to blow off steam/get a reaction and didn't think Superman would actually try to follow through. It's not how he's being written in his title but it makes more sense.

Dick does very little in this aside from getting overly preachy like the whole thing was his idea (I think Babs contacted everyone.) You know what would have made more sense? Contacting more people, hell Superman got Gordon. They could have contacted Tim and gotten the Titans. Jason could have at least gotten Roy, who has worked on alien ships and would likely figure out a teleporter. If there were more people I doubt Jason would have jumped to the nuke suggestion (even if I think he won't have gone there in the first place.)

I think we're either supposed to think Jason reached this idea because it's a desperate situation (noticing Superman is upset when the others don't and seeing him bleed) or he likes killing? Honestly I only added the last suggestion because of his yells during the maiming of the Shadow monsters and I don't have many conclusions to jump to. Maybe I will in the re-read as this is my gut reaction from my first read through.

Babs...she really has very little personality. She might have come off better in the previous issue, I don't know. Here she's shown as very naïve as she doesn't see something's wrong with Clark and as her dad points out she blindly trusts his judgment. There's no real presence to her and much like other appearances I've seen her in she doesn't seem particularly skilled especially if she's not a genius.

I do think the killing issue can be written better without making Jason into the bad guy. I'd love to see an instance where he's in the right and they all realize it. If that happened it would have to be in his title as I can't see any other book wanting to have their heroes be wrong. I'm irritated but sadly not really surprised. I do worry how next issue will go especially since I'm already dreading Robin War. I was looking forward to December.

Say What?: Babs has an eidetic memory (which was meaningless here and in the annual) but isn't a genius? Uh, I'm pretty sure she's supposed to be that smart. I mean she hasn't acted brilliant in a lot of books since the reboot but it's supposed to be a thing. After seeing her telling Dick she was smarter than him in the FE issue of Grayson it's weird to see her say she's not a genius. Plus it would make sense for her to work on the teleporter if she was a genius otherwise there's no point.

Was Clark really going to say Dick was a spy? I'm still in disbelief over him saying Jason was a Robin, much like it being revealed to another character in Eternal it doesn't make much sense to say this. I mean do the rogues of Gotham know who he is? Wouldn't they be getting on Joker for claiming he killed a Robin if said Robin is alive? Wouldn't it be a big thing to know one of the bats kills?

Saying Jason was the "mean" Robin. Screw that retcon. Damian is meaner than him. I think this is supposed to support the idea of Jason jumping to kill.

Questions Asked?: Does Gordon recognize Dick? Shouldn't the people their helping know him since they know who Superman is? Is there anyone who doesn't know Dick is alive? Worst spy ever.

Did You Notice?: Dicks' fur lining is blue?

The skull on the back of Dicks' laptop.


  1. I don't think Jason suggesting to take down Savage by any means necessary is neither putting him as "the devil on Clark's shoulder" or particularly contradictory with his current characterization. Jason brings the idea because Superman is weakened and he can't really warrant the safety of the civilians. And Jason's main priority has always been saving all the innocents he can.

    Clark pointing out Jason's credentials the way he did was to get the people to cooperate with them. I mean, they were ready to ditch them as soon the realized this wasn't the Superman they knew so highlighting Jason's experience is only natural.

  2. Going "let's nuke them" is pretty extreme and he can think of other ways. This is the Robin that managed to go toe to toe with Batman for months without giving it his all. In Jasons' current portrayal he's taking up a no killing rule so this can't take place around the same time.

    And I mention Jason as the devil on Clarks' shoulder because Clark IS thinking of these options as his "joke" showed. Maybe Jason saw it too because he's the only one to notice Clark isn't in a joking mood.

    They were ready to ditch Superman before they saw him catch the nuke. They were already with him at that point, saw Batgirl was with him and didn't demand more information on Grayson. They might not know who Dick is and if they did it wouldn't matter who a third person was. They were mainly with them because of Superman anyway, the others were just extra icing on the cake.

  3. It is extreme but Vandal Savage is inmortal so there are very few things they can do that will ensure the safety of the civilians.

    Jason isn't giving up the lethal force entirely, he did promised to kill JD if she fails after all and again, Vandal Savage is inmortal for all we know he would be able to shrug off a nuke.

    Exactly, they needed proof before they were willing to cooperate so Clark was just kind of "selling" the boys skills at the people so they would listen to them as well.

  4. The nukes are Savages' weapon so Jason is essentially suggesting they use the villains weapon/means against him. Which is usually how they write anti-heroes when their in the wrong. Plus Jason has fought immortals before.

    Once Bruce put Ra's in Arkham, stripped away his ID and gave people orders to sedate him into a coma.(Basically what Lobdell originally had in mind for what Jason did with Crux.) I think the only reason it didn't last was because the writers didn't do their research and just assumed Ra's was free since he usually is.

    Jason is giving killing up as long as JD is with them to set a good example. He agreed to kill her since she made him promise to do so if/when she fails to play by his rules. That doesn't mean he only goes by the no kill rule when she's around especially since she could find out. If it's possible for Vandal Savage to shrug off a nuke then it shouldn't be used in the first place since it still puts the environment and everyone else in danger.

    They didn't need more proof at that point. They would have agreed if he had normal people with him if he gave them the same jobs. Being Robin didn't matter because he never bothered to say who Dick was beyond Grayson. They trusted him just because Superman said they could and Dick would help with IDs.