With six of Batman and Superman’s greatest allies infected by The Batman Who Laughs, can the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel find out who among them has been turned or will The Batman Who Laughs outsmart them at every corner? What is his ultimate goal?
Now that Batman/Superman is in the latter half of its first arc, things are really starting to pick up steam as The Batman Who Laughs’ plan is revealed as well as the rest of his Secret Six. I initially thought all of this was supposed to be a slow build as the Infected would be revealed over the course of this book, but with tie-ins and solicits, some of the reveals have been spoiled, but that doesn’t make them any less cool.
The book picks up where it left off, with The Scarab, Jaime Reyes, standing over a defeated Batman and Superman. The heroes manage to break free of The Scarab’s techno goop only to be attacked by Deathbringer, Donna Troy, and the Sky Tyrant, Hawkman. Hawkman had already been revealed as a member of The Infected from his own series, so seeing the next member being Donna Troy was a genuine surprise and I can’t wait to see how her change happened.
Donna gives Superman a walloping, revealing her main motivation to be the utter decimation of The Titans; noting the imprisonment of Wally West, Dick Grayson being shot in the head and losing his memory, and the death of Roy Harper at Sanctuary, a facility that was supposed to protect its patients under the guidance of the Trinity. Donna is motivated by all of the kids Batman and Superman have sent to their deaths over the years and she is very justified in doing so.
Meanwhile, as Sky Tyrant is mollywhopping Batman, Gordon muses about the plan that The Batman Who Laughs has for Earth-Prime. Instead of destroying it, he reveals that the Evil Batman wants to bring the Justice League Watchtower from his universe into the Prime one. With it, he’ll shine an evil Batsignal that will Infect everyone on that world. You can always expect a villain to give a big, bad monologue that Batman will take advantage of as he causes a distraction that allows his and Superman’s escape.
David Marquez’s art in these initial few pages is great. He manages to convey Batman and Superman’s individual strengths, but then posits Sky Tyrant and Deathbringer as being credible threats to both of them respectively. Donna is able to brutally take down Superman with weighty attacks, made even better by Alejandro Sanchez’s colors showing the contrast between her darker colors and his bright reds and blues. She literally drags Superman with her lasso and sends him crashing through an ice structure like a madwoman.
During their brief moment of reprieve, Batman and Superman form a plan to plunge the Fortress of Solitude into the ocean by causing its reactor to fail, preventing anything from escaping or getting in. With their plan formed, they take the fight to the Infected. Doing what he does best, Marquez draws an epic fight scene where Batman rides a serpent-like creature that tail-whips Donna and then goes hand-to-hand with Sky Tyrant again. This time, however, Batman holds his own and says he’ll kick Sky Tyrant’s ass like he kicked Owlman’s ass before. Unfortunately, Sky Tyrant gets the upper hand and almost bludgeons Batman with his mace.
I can’t stress enough how hilarious it was to see Donna there and then have her gone in the very next second. Marquez made that panel unintentionally hilarious, but the proceeding fight was badass. The sequence of blows between Batman and Sky Tyrant were hard-hitting, pulled out and made even better by Sanchez’s use of red backgrounds to sell the intensity.
As per my recent Supergirl review, however, events play out the same in which she saves Batman in the nick of time and then Superman after he tries and fails to talk Jaime into controlling the Scarab after he shows his humanity. She catches the Infected Batarang, backhands Donna, but then transforms into one of the Infected herself, thus furthering The Batman Who Laughs’ plot.
This issue of Batman/Superman was nothing but non-stop action and future set-up. I love that the new crop of villains are former heroes that have had their inhibitions removed and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. Joshua Williamson has scripted an awesome story, made real with David Marquez’s dynamic art, Alejandro Sanchez’s beautiful coloring and John J. Hill’s expert lettering. The Batman Who Laughs is genuinely a credible threat and things are looking dire for the DC Universe after this amazing issue.
Batman/Superman #4: Secret Six Revealed
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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