Superman/Batman was an interesting series. It was based off of the silver age team-ups in World’s Finest and the desperate need for comics fans to see the two biggest superheroes fighting side by side.
Right now, there’s a sale on the digital version of the series this weekend for only 99 cents each issue. Now, not every issue was that great, but for 99 cents a piece, who really cares? Well, you should. So, in the interest of fairness, I’m going to tell you a few of the storylines and issues that I enjoyed the most, because there are some absolute must-reads going on in this sale. And even when the sale ends, you’re still going to want to check these issues out. There’s a lot of them, so for you’re benefit, try to get in on the sale, but if not, at least they’re available digitally now!
The Beginning – Superman/Batman #1-26
First off, you pretty much have to read the Jeph Loeb stuff, whether or not you like him. It was interesting more than anything else because it was the beginning of the series and featured some incredible artwork by Ed McGuinness on the “Public Enemies” storyline, and Michael Turner on the “Supergirl” story. Both of these stories were adapted into screenplays for the incredibly popular DVD/Blu-ray animated features as Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, respectively. I’m guessing that you’ve seen those, so why not check out the source material? Also, if you haven’t seen those, you should totally watch them and check out the source material!
Blackest Night – Superman/Batman #66 – 67
After the Jeph Loeb stuff, for me, the series began to falter a little bit until DC’s big 2009 event Blackest Night came into play. The Blackest Night tie-ins for this series by Scott Kolins were a blast. While not featuring Superman or Batman, issues #66 and #67 used the horror elements of the crossover event to feature Bizarro and Man Bat to take their places. And if we’re being completely honest with each other, as weird as these issues were, they were at the top of my list of Blackest Night-related comics, including the Green Lantern issues and the main series. So, if you haven’t read those, you don’t really need to have read Blackest Night to get the gist of what’s going on. But it focuses on the concept of outsiders and friendship. And Frankenstein shows up, and when Frankenstein shows up in a comic, you should know that you’re in for a treat. And that’s another interesting thing about this series, some of the best issues feature replacements for Superman and Batman, so it became more of a Superman/Batman Family title more than anything else, and usually those were one and dones.
Anniversary Issue – Superman/Batman #75
After this, though, the next best issue was the #75 anniversary issue. It’s a more or less generic anthology book, so there’s nothing necessarily groundbreaking about it, but it’s got some incredible stories in there. Most deal with the fundamental differences between Superman and Batman, but they’re handled in an incredibly fun manner. Furthermore, it features what is probably David Finch‘s best script when he talks Damian Wayne as Batman and Connor Kent as Superman. There’s a lot more really cool “what if” style stories, but at it’s heart, it’s a great comic. It even has a Duncan Rouleau short about who has the better bet, Superman or Batman? Krypto or Ace? Also, it features a Brian Azzarello/Lee Bermejo Joker/Lex Luthor short done in the style of Calvin and Hobbes. Anyway, it’s an oversized issue packed full of Superman and Batman goodies, so check this one out for sure.
Halloween Stand Alone Issue – Superman/Batman #77
The next issue I’m going to recommend is one of my favorite comics of all time, Superman/Batman #77. This issue was the most fun I’ve had reading a comic book outside of Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl run. The issue features Damian Wayne as Robin teaming up with Supergirl, and how are they teaming up? They’re teaming up by going undercover at a Halloween party. It’s incredibly fantastic on both writing and art standpoints as it features the incredibly talented writer Joshua Williamson (who, in my opinion, is one of the very few people that knows how to write Damian Wayne), and the gorgeous pencil work by Ale Garza. Seriously, DC Comics isn’t putting out any Halloween comics this year that I’m aware of, so do yourself a favor and pick up this seasonal issue of Superman/Batman and have a great time reading it.
Rise of the Indie Creators – Superman/Batman #78-87
After Superman/Batman #77, the series turned out to get really interesting with the appearance of several more obscure writers at the time who were mainly working in the indie realm of comic creation. There’s a one and done double feature issue that shines the light on Superman and Batman, as well as Huntress and Power Girl. And it also features the writing greatness of one Joe Kelly. But after that is when the series became almost like an indie tryout book. In issue Superman/Batman #79, Chris Roberson, writer of iZombie, took to the pages of this comic and penned a story, accompanied by Jesus Merino‘s art, about returning to the universe of DC One Million. He did an incredible job by bridging the gap between universes in a short run about a time master gone awry. After reading this, it’s no surprise that he went on to be the main writer to fill in the gaps of John Michael Straczynski’s run on Superman.
Afterwards, with issue Superman/Batman #81, up and coming comic scribe Cullen Bunn, writer of the amazing series The Sixth Gun, and the insanely talented ChrisCross got their chance to tell their own Superman/Batman story. And what a story it was. Dubbed “The Sorcerer Kings,” Bunn told the tale of an alternate timeline in which the planet Earth was destroyed, Superman was invulnerable to magic, and the Justice League was made out of some of the strangest characters that DC Comics has to offer, including Klarion, Jason Blood, Aquaman, Traci 13, and many more. This story arc was jam packed with mystical forces, mystery, and Detective Chimp. Also, Batman looked totally awesome, and Superman got to carry around a giant sword. There was nothing wrong with these issues.
Sadly, at this time DC Comics announced the DC Relaunch and there was no Superman/Batman title announced for the new DCU, but the series hadn’t had it’s last laugh, though. In issue Superman/Batman #85, writer Joshua Hale Fialkov told a story that we don’t normally see. It was a noir, detective story, but in these issue Batman wasn’t the only one doing the detecting. Focusing on Clark Kent’s journalistic nature, Fialkov had Superman and Batman solving a situation in which Batman’s identity was about to be exposed as a result of The Dark Knight’s being framed for murder. Superman’s intelligence was played up in these issues in what was one of the best ways to wrap the series.
Those are my favorites from the series, but you should also check out the annuals, which were always good. My favorite, though was Superman/Batman Annual #4 which featured the writing of Paul Levitz and the pencil work of Renato Guedes. This issue expanded on the story details of the Batman Beyond television show, introduced Superman into the universe and launched a new ongoing comic book series based around the character of The Future Knight.
If you haven’t read these issues, hopefully you’re going to heed my words and check these out. For 99 cents a piece this weekend, what could go wrong other than buying every single issue? Remember though, the sale only lasts until 11pm EST on Sunday, October 23, so make sure to make your mind up about what comics to pick before you start browsing the app. You seriously don’t want to miss this one.