Off the Shelf — Batman/Superman Vol. 3: Second Chance

Batman Superman 3 coverNutshell: Second Chance is the story arc Little Kid Me always wanted to read; what happens if Batman and Superman forget who they’re supposed to be?  Pak delivers a page-turner of a story, and the covers — including variants — are gorgeous.  Though I’m sure fans will snap this up, n00bs can easily enjoy this tale.  Grade: A-

Best Lines:
“I’m no superhero — I’m just a scientist.  This is simply a field uniform.”
“I’m dressed up…like a bat?  What is this?”

Goodies: Cover gallery, including all the awesome variants (my favorite; the #14 variant by Paulo Siqueria)

Publication 411: Collects Batman/Superman #10-15. Scheduled for publication May 12, 2015.

Thoughts:  I love this series.  Writer Greg Pak has created personas that stick with me, because I get ’em.  Clark Kent is a good guy that gets angry when bad people do bad things.  Bruce Wayne is a good guy that does bad things in order to beat the bad guys.  Any wonder there’s often some sturm und drang?  And I love this arc; who hadn’t wondered what Batman and Superman would do if the weight of their past wasn’t on their massive shoulders?

While “Enter the Microverse” has a different vibe to it than the rest of the issues included here, and “Danger Zone” feels like Super Spacetime Adventure Hour in the confines of this TPB, overall this is an excellent representation of how to do the issues-to-trade thing right.  Okay maybe one more thing; I’d have loved more about how this story got its start, and maybe a sketch gallery. And a pony.  Who doesn’t want a pony?

Subscribe or Shelve: Even if you haven’t been slavishly following all the myriad incarnations of Batman and/or Superman of late, you’re gonna enjoy this series.  Batman/Superman takes the basics everyone knows and lets you enjoy the ride, no piles of other series needed, in case  you’re trying to save your hard-earned.  So dig in.

Issues/Chapters:

“Enter the Microverse” — Lemire/writer
There’s a microscopic city that has infected Batman’s brain.  Yes, you heard me.  Luckily, a certain Dr. Palmer is available when Superman calls.

A fun stand-alone story that serves as an aperitif for the main story arc course of this TPB.  Jeff Lemire does a great job juggling a “Fantastic Voyage” style plot, a slew of cool cameos, and manages to wrap things up nicely.  Love the half-panel on page 12 that shows Superman and The Atom Dr. Palmer miniaturizing.  Is it kind of crazypants?  Well, it’s actually completely crazypants.  But it’s a one-shot.  So enjoy.

“Danger Zone” — Greg Pak
A has infected Superman, thanks to the battle with Doomsday.  So Batman, Wonder Woman and Steel head to the Fortress of Solitude…and find a rift in The Phantom Zone. Out of context, it feels a bit Saturday Space Matinee from the 50s, but it’s always nice to see the JL (or at least a few of ’em) together.

“Second Chance” — Greg Pak
The trickster Kaiyo gives Batman and Superman the chance to time travel and change one thing.  But what will change because of their actions?

Sure, the ol’ “what’s more important: family or the world” idea has been done to death.  Still, Pak makes it compelling. Pretty much a set-up for the excellent…

“Eye of Satanus” — Greg Pak
Kaiyo runs into Lord Satanus and makes a bargain; Batman and Superman, with their memories erased.  What choices will they make, and can they be molded?  Meanwhile, Selina Kyle and Lois Lane must figure out what’s going on…

Loving this story arc!  Pak takes us into the minds of the men we thought we knew, and wipes away all the “woulda/coulda/shouda” from their internal monologue.  Especially love how much Batman/Wayne loves his BatToys (and his good looks.)  My favorite of the issues collected here.

“Blank Slate” — Greg Pak
“Without their memories…what kind of ‘heroes’ will our heroes become”?  Indeed.

Love the Jae Lee/June Chung cover.  Then again I’m a sucker for Stempunk Selina and her cats.  And the way Pak wraps the whole “what will they do” around a subplot starring a murderer that pleads his innocence to Lois Lane.

“Forget-Me-Not” — Pak
With no memories, Batman isn’t The Dark Knight, and Superman turns vigilante…

The story ends with a bang. Well, several bangs, and a strangely satisfying face-off between Batman and Superman.  Though gotta admit the back-and-forth between Selina and Lois is also highly entertaining.  And let’s just say Lois’ temporary wardrobe upgrade is a whole lot of awesome.

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