DC comics


Collects Batman/Superman issues 16-20, Batman/Superman Annual 2, and Batman/Superman: Future’s End 1.

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Adrian Syaf, Tom Derenick, Tyler Kirkham, Ian Churchill, Emanuela Lupacchino, Cliff Richards, Jack Herbert, Vicente Cifuentes

Publisher: DC

Publishing year: 2015

The main storyline takes up most of the collection. Someone shoots Supergirl, Steele, and Krypto without a trace. Even Superman can’t see who did it. Worse, an innocent man wearing a Superman costume is killed. Then people Superman has saved in the past are killed. Clark must find out who is doing this. Bruce thinks it’s “Superman’s Joker”: a psychopath with an obsession with Superman. Bruce and Clark must find out who is behind it, and quickly.

This was quite an entertaining mystery and adventure story. I’m not a huge fan of psychopath villains, but this time it worked. I didn’t see where the story was going and enjoyed it. It was personal for Clark to begin with and became even more personal. I also really enjoyed Lois and Bruce working together, even if briefly.

In the annual, the previous story’s mastermind can influence the minds of others. He sends a compulsion to some of Batman’s enemies to kill Clark Kent.

Meanwhile, Clark is in Bahamas investigating the damage that Doomsday did to the local ecology and people. As a reporter. Bruce is trying to convince him to switch to Superman’s outfit. When Clark arrives, something triggers an explosion, and he decides to use his new “solar flare” ability, which allows him to clean up the explosion safely, but leaves him powerless for 24 hours. He falls to Earth near town. Locals are raiding the buildings for food and medicine. Clark tries to convince them that he’s there to help, when ManBats attack.

In this story, Clark must fight and run from enemies because he’s powerless. He still wants to help and defend the local people. The story shows his personality well. When Batman shows up, he’s convinced that without his powers, Clark can’t make it. The story has a couple of nice scenes between Bruce and Clark.

The final issue is set five years in the future. Apparently, JLA has fought off an invasion from space. During it, Bruce forced Clark to do something so terrible that Clark faked his own death and abandoned Earth and his friends. Bruce is trying to fight Clark’s enemies in power armor and waiting for Clark to return. A really dark and pessimistic story, which was very different from the others.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this collection, except for the last story.

Collects World’s Finest issues 0-6.

Writer: Paul Levitz

Artists: George Pérez, Kevin Maguire

Publisher: DC

Publication year: 2013

In the New 52 universe, Huntress and Power Girl are from Earth 2. Huntress is Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman. But in that universe, Selena Kyle wasn’t a criminal. Power Girl is Kara, Superman’s cousin, and in Earth 1 she takes the identity of Karen Starr, a billionaire known for buying tech companies. The seed money came from Helena when she hacked this world’s Bruce Wayne’s companies’ accounts. Helena works in the shadows using several identities. On Earth 2, they were heroes, Robin and Supergirl. In this world, they’re trying to find a way back home and also doing heroic works.

The story starts five years after Helena and Karen have come to Earth 1, accidentally. A superpowered man, Hakkou, attacks one of Karen’s companies. He gives off radioactivity, which affects even Karen. He destroys Karen’s pet project, which was supposed to open a portal to another dimension, to Earth 2. Karen and Helena pursue him and the fight continues for three issues and a couple of continents.

We also get flashbacks both to Karen and Helena’s life on Earth 2 and to right after Hel and Karen came to Earth 1, accidentally. The heroes of Earth 2 faced Darkseid – and fell. Karen still hopes to get back and save whom she can. Helena has given up hope of that, but supports her friend loyally.

Levitz writes in a classic superhero style, and I like it very much. Helena and Karen are brave heroes who think of others before themselves. Because of her near invulnerability, Karen can and does often fly brashly in. Batman trained Helena, so she’s the more tactically trained one. They were best friends before they were thrown into this strange world, and now they can only rely on each other. With this premise, the comic could well be dark. But it’s not. Hel and Karen tell jokes to lighten up the mood.

As a bonus, we also see their first meeting on Earth 2.

However, Karen’s clothing is often torn to shreds, which is a tiresome troupe. Also, Hakkou isn’t particularly memorable villain. The dialog also equates ugly with evil, which I really didn’t care for. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the comic focusing on two superheroines.

The art styles of Pérez and Maguire are very different. Perez draws the present story and Maguire the past which works well, at least for me.

Collects Batman/Superman issues 10-15.

Writers: Greg Pak, Jeff Lemire

Artists: Karl Kerschel, Scott Hepburn, Tom Derenick, Daniel Sampere, Tom Raney, Ken Lashley, Jae Lee, Diegones Neves, Marc Neering

This is a collection of stories which don’t have much to do with each other. In the first story, Batman has collapsed. With his microscopic vision, Superman first finds a tiny dead man is in Batman’s brain’s blood vessels. And then a whole tiny alien city! Superman contacts Dr. Palmer. He shrinks them and they go into Batman’s brain! They encounter the aliens and, of course, battle them.

This was loads of fun! The premise is, of course, ridiculous but I throughly enjoyed it. Also, I love Ray Palmer in Legends of Tomorrow, so it was very nice to see him in the New 52 universe.

The next story is actually the first part of a Doomsday story, but the story doesn’t continue in this collection. Superman is out of control because Doomsday has poisoned him. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Steele go to the Fortress of Solitude. Doomsday escaped from the Phantom Zone, so our heroes head to the Zone as well, hoping to find a cure from there. Of course, the Zone is full of villains and monsters whom Superman has sent there… and they’re not co-operative.

This story doesn’t work as a stand-alone. If the continuation was impossible to print here, I think it should have been left out. Now, it’s almost like an ad for Superman: Doomed. I did enjoy Batman and Diana working together in the Phantom Zone.

The next stories continue from volume one and the Powergirl/Huntress story from volume two. First, Bruce and Clark encounter Kaiyo the Chaos bringer again. This time she sends them to Earth 2 and they have a chance to change just one thing. Bruce and Clark hesitate while they witness the final moments of Earth 2’s heroes.

Kaiyo isn’t impressed with them and so she strips Bruce and Clark of their memories, and sends them to Gotham City, separately. Immediately, Clark sees a giant robot trying to catch Catwoman, and helps her. She quickly realized that he’s lost his memory and gleefully takes advantage of that. Meanwhile, Bruce is getting to know his life and meets Lois Lane.

This was an interesting story. Without his memories, Bruce is a far less dark and far less determined. He’s still heroic and tries to help the people around him. But for some reason, Clark tries to take over Gotham. So, without the influence of Ma and Pa Kent, Clark would be a tyrant? I’m not sure I buy that. More light-hearted Bruce makes perfect sense, though. I was almost sorry to see him return to his default mood.

Like the previous one, this collection has a lot of artists. Mostly, their styles are pretty similar, but Jae Lee’s art is, again, very distinctive.

But I enjoyed most of the stories here, with the exception of the ending of the second one.

Collects Batman/Superman issues 5-9, Batman/Superman Annual 1, and Worlds’ Finest issues 20-21.

Writers: Greg Pak, Paul Levitz
Artists: Brett Booth, Jae Lee, Kenneth Rocafort, Philip Tan, Scott McDaniel, RB Silva, Norm Rapmund, Joe Weems

This collection has three stories. The first one is about virtual reality game. Toymaker has made a new VR game with three game testers, one of them Jimmy Olsen. The testers gleefully try to kill Batman and get Batman and Superman to fight each other. Except that it’s not a game, at least not the way the game testers think it is.

I’m not a fan of VR games come to life –stories but this one was pretty decent. Except that it changed our heroes pretty significantly. Batman is now dead and only walking around because nanobots reanimated his body – and his mind! But I’m pretty sure the editors will just ignore this very interesting change…

The main bad guy uses the rage and hate of gamers to whip them into frenzy against their heroes. This seemed a bit excessive to me, but there was an outside influence that explained some of it and the ending was pretty rosy.

The art is by Brett Booth and it’s sideways. Pretty neat idea and easily distinguished this story from the rest.

Next up is the annual where Mongul’s son Jochi comes to Earth to challenge Batman and Superman and their clans for all life on Earth. He lives in a savage Warworld so obviously he was to fight the heroes. Batman chooses Red Hood to go with him to Warworld. Batgirl almost forces her way in. Superman chooses Supergirl and Steel. Krypto (the dog) also follows them.

Jochi has been challenged for the leadership of the Warworld. As soon as our heroes hear that the other would-be leaders would like to just incinerate Earth, Batman and Red Hood go to the arena and help Jochi. Jochi then becomes a part of the Batman clan. Superman, Krypto, and Supergirl make up another team while Steel and Batgirl have a more secret mission.

Even though the story was sounds like it was focused on arena fights, it actually has a decent storyline. This was very uneven art wise with three different artists whose styles didn’t work together well.

The last story is actually from World’s Finest. Even though that series stars Huntress, Helena Wayne from Earth-2, and Power Girl, Karen Starr also from Earth-2, Bruce and Clark are the main characters in this story, too.

Karen’s powers are going haywire and Helena contacts Batman for help. Batman doesn’t want Superman anywhere near Karen, because his powers could also start acting up. But Clark turns up anyway and insists on helping Karen. It turns out that Kaizen Gamorra could be behind it and so Bruce and Helena go undercover to New Gamorra. Of course, Kaizen has plots within plots. He has targeted Power Girl especially and used Kryptonian DNA to power his own super soldiers.

This story also had three different artists, whose styles are very different. Jae Lee’s first and third issues were especially jarring compared to the very conventional art of Scott McDaniel and RB Silva on the second and final issues.

Bruce still doesn’t trust Clark. His thoughts belittle Clark’s intellect and he thinks that Clark constantly rushes headlong to trouble. When Karen’s powers act up Bruce is very worried that he can’t stop Clark if Clark’s powers start misfiring, too. Clark is also somewhat cautious of Bruce. They’re definitely not the best friends from previous incarnations. In fact, they have chillier relationship than the one in the Trinity series. But they do sometimes think that they must rely on each other.

This was an ok collection and I enjoyed all three stories. In fact, I ended up buying the first World’s Finest collection. Hopefully, it’ll be decent.

Collects Trinity issues 17-22.

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Writer: James Robinson
Artists: Patrick Zircher, Jack Herbert, and Tyler Kirkham
Publisher: DC
Publishing year: 2018

The collection has two storylines. The first one is No Home for You Here where the Trinity is sucked to another dimension, essentially a fantasy world. It has enough magic that Superman loses his powers and Wonder Woman is struck blind. I was prepared to really like this story because they would need to use their wits more than powers. But nope. The only difference really was that Clark’s costume was torn during fighting.

The second story continues the first one and is the titular search for Steve.

I like lost worlds. I’m not familiar with Skartaris and the warlord Travis Morgan. It’s apparently DC’s equivalent of Marvel’s Savage Land or Burroughs’ Pellucidar. However, it does look very dated with women wearing only fur bikinis. Admittedly the Warlord himself only wears a loin cloth, metal shoulder pads, and a helmet.

Diana, Bruce, and Clark must battle their way through the fantasy land to Morgan’s city so that his sorceress daughter can send them home. Very battle heavy story, even though Bruce gets to play a little of detective near then end. The framing story is that someone is interrogating the Trinity for everything they know about this fantasy land.

In the Search for Steve Trevor, fantasy comes to our heroes’ world. Bruce, Diana, and Clark track down a mysterious “security organization” and find out that Steve and many other people have been transformed to mindless fighting machines. Of course, they must investigate further and try to return him to a human.

This collection feels much grimmer to me than the first two. There aren’t many moments between our heroes, it’s mostly just mindless fighting. Too bad.

Collects Batman/Superman 1-4, Justice League 23.1: Darkseid.

Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Jae Lee, Paulo Siqueira,Ben Oliver, Yildiray Cinar, Netho Diaz
Publisher: DC
Publishing year: 2013

The main storyline tells us the story of how Batman and Superman met for the first time in the New 52 world. Also, some kind of demonic spirit transports them to Earth 2 where they meet their older counterparts and Wonder Woman.

Collects Batwoman issues 7-11.

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Writer: Marguerite Bennett, K. Perkins
Artists: Fernando Blanco, Scott Godlewiski, Marc Lamin

Kate Kane continues her battle against the terrorist organization the Many Arms of Death. She and Julie have tracked down the operative called the Needle to Sahara Desert. Her plane is shot down and she must fight Colony soldiers who have been poisoned. After trekking in the desert for almost a day, she hallucinates about her lost year in the island Coryana and about her former lover Safiyah. The Needle’s operative captures Kate and takes her to an underground secret lab. It turns out that the Needle is actually the Scarecrow.

Most of the story is full of hallucinations while Kate battles her scars and father issues. The Scarecrow has also imprisoned Colony Prime who thinks of Kate’s dad as his dad. They bicker while trying to save themselves.

The final issue is a more stand-alone story. Kate’s right hand woman Julia is missing and her apartment shows signs of fighting. Kate tracks her while berating herself for not noticing quicker that Julia is missing. This one has a new villain to me, at least. I didn’t really care for him.

This was a pretty good exploration of Kate’s inner demons and the art complemented the hallucinations. Kate is a very wounded character and her father’s betrayal has also cut deep. She starts to question if her actions are doing any good at all, especially after the collection’s final issue. The story doesn’t end in a cliffhanger but Kate is going to confront her sister so it’s not neatly tied up, either.

Of course, the main action is in the TV-show so Kate can’t have much character development here.

Collects Trinity Annual 1 and Trinity issues 12-16.

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Writers: Rob Williams
Artists: V. Ken Marion, Guillem March

The collection starts with the Annual where Lex Luthor abandons his place in the Dark Trinity alongside Circe and Ra’s Al Ghul. Circe and Ra’s continue to plot while Jason Blood investigates the Pandora Pits. Inside Blood is the demon Etrigan, as he has been for a thousand years. But when Ra’s draws Etrigan’s blood and it drips to the Pandora Pits, Etrigan is freed. The demon is free to rampage in a nearby Greek City. He draws a horde of lesser demons to him and wants to kill every human.

Bruce has invited Diana and Clark to a meal in a posh restaurant in Gotham City. However, they’re interrupted almost immediately when Blood sends a disturbing picture to Bruce. They head to Blood location and when the demon horde descends on the city, they’re close enough to defend it.

Jason Blood is also free of the demon which he has kept caged inside him for a millennia and he’s not eager to resume the bond, even if it were possible.

This was a very action packed story of Trinity fighting the demons. I felt that the ending was a bit of a cop-out even though I knew it was coming.

The next four issues are the Dark Trinity storyline. John Constantine, Zatanna, and Deadman come to a remote mansion in Gotham. Batman asked them here because Red Hood, Batman’s former Robin, has been possessed by a demon. He asks Deadman to go inside Red Hood to break the possession. Deadmand tries to do that. Instead, Red Hood swallows both Deadman and Zatanna. Literally. Constantine hesitates but in the end he makes a gateway to Red Hood’s mouth so that he can follow Deadman and Zatanna and hopefully rescue them.

Then Artemis and Bizarro attack. They, too, have been possessed. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman fight them.

This is a very fight-heavy storyline. We find out Circe’s motivation and plans.

The final issue is a one-shot during New Year’s Eve. A devious criminal gang Kobra has kidnapped Deadshot’s daughter. The Trinity helps him. Again, the ending was rather open.

While this was an entertaining collection, I felt that it wasn’t as good as the previous Trinity stories. There aren’t many bonding moments between our heroes. Circe and Ra’s interact a bit but the other two trinities don’t. Mostly it’s just fighting.

Collects Batwoman issues 1-6 and Batwoman: Rebirth 1.

Writers: Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV
Artists: Steve Epting, Stephanie Hans, Renato Arlem

This Kate Kane is from the TV show Batwoman. I’ve only seen the first season.

This collection starts with an issue that recaps most of the TV series’ Batwoman’s origins. The death of her twin and mom (except that they’re different from what we saw on TV), her kicked out of Military Academy for being a lesbian, and her descend to a drunk socialite. She falls overboard, hits her head badly, and ends up on a paradise island. Except that the island is a haven for warlords and other bandits. She falls for the leader of the island, Safiyah, who keeps the peace between the four warlords.

A year later, she meets Batman and decides to pull her life together and become Batwoman.

In the main storyline, Kate is in Istanbul, following a lead about Monster Venom biodrug. It leads her back to the island Coryana. But the island has changed. Outsiders have bought most of it and Safiyah is gone. One of Safiyah’s closest allies is after Kate, blaming her for bringing corruption to the island. Kate finds out that the corporation which created Monster Venom now own most of the island. She must try to save the island and the inhabitants. We also get to see some of her year on Coryana.

The art for this storyline is crisp and clear. It fits the story well. The colors are especially nice.

The fifth issue tells the story of Kate’s year on the island from Safiyah’s point-of-view. Hans’ art style is softer and blurred, dreamlike. It also fits a flash-back issue well, even though it’s very different from Epting’s style.

The final issue takes us several years into the future. A Batman (not Bruce) has taken over Gotham and uses Batdrones and Bat troops to spy on the people and the criminals and to keep them in line. Renee Montoya is the Commissioner. Kate leads some military outfit called the Colony and leads an attack against Gotham. This isn’t a current storyline so I’ve no idea if this will be continued or even given a proper ending. But I love alternate realities and this is a very intriguing one.

This was a good beginning to Batwoman comic even though Kate isn’t in Gotham and her supporting cast is quite small. The storyline introduces three new villains, which I strongly suspect we’ll see gain. I liked Knife and her personal connection to Kate but I didn’t really care for the main villains.

Kate is working with Julia Pennyworth who is apparently Alfred’s daughter and a Special Forces operative. She and Kate have nice banter and she’s Kate’s “Overwatch” with the codename of Tuxedo One.
I enjoyed this collection a lot even though it was surprisingly dark. It has only a couple of humorous moments. But I intend to continue with it. Luckily the Finnish library system has the next two volumes, too.

Collects Trinity issues 7-11.

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Writers: Cullen Bunn, Francis Manapul

Artists: Clay Mann, Francis Manapul, Emanuela Lupacchino

This collection starts with a “Dark Trinity” of Lex Luthor, Ra’s Al Ghul, and Circe. They are drawn to Pandora’s Pits which spew forth a terrible monster, forcing the three to work together.

In the next issue, Clark talks with Diana and Bruce. Clark has nightmares where he is battling himself and only one Superman will survive. Bruce scoffs that it’s just his nerves but Diana believes him and together they’ll wonder what has changed in the world they live in. No doubt, this is also a continuing storyline.

The last three issues have a space adventure! Diana, Clark, and Bruce are teleported suddenly from near Smallville to the Watchtower. The tower itself and The Green Lanterns have been infected with an alien virus and Cyborg’s arms and legs have been ripped off and he’s dying. Diana, Clark, and Bruce must work together to save their friends. The virus looks like a monstrous head over the head of the infected.

This was an entertaining collection. I really enjoyed Manapul’s art in the last three issues and he also pulled a little twist at the end. I think the two first issues are set-up for future stories. But it was great to see Lex, Ra’s, and Circe together. They have such different motivations so I’m sure they’ll create lots of problems to our heroes.

The last story had also some small uplifting moments, reminding me why I read these stories in the first place. Looking forward to the next ones.

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