Sunday, May 4, 2014

Smallville Season Eleven: Detective

When the news first broke that Bryan Q. Miller was introducing Batman to the Smallville Universe and bringing Stephanie Brown with him I was excited. DC Editorial decision to substitute Batman's partner for Barbara Gordon (who they were currently pushing as part of the New 52 reboot) had just the adverse effect. So I'd stayed away from the storyline until I recently picked up the collected trade paperback. Sure, I'd rather have Steph than Babs, and this version of Batman's costume is a little too much like Knight for my liking, but it's still pretty good.

The story centers around Batman and Nightwing coming to Metropolis in search of Joe Chill as the Dark Knight Detective has finally got a lead on the man who murdered his parents. Offering us the first meeting between Batman and Superman, in classic comic fashion as the pair fight before later cementing their friendship, the storyline also features Mister Freeze and the Prankster who team-up to take down the heroes with Kryptonite bullets and an insidious plan using the likeness of one of comic's greatest heroes as a ploy to steal weaponized drones.

The Captain Carrot mention aside (which is freakin' awesome by the way) Miller's tale offers an interesting look at the Superman/Batman dynamic in this small corner of the DCU. Batman's final confrontation with the boogeyman from his childhood, who is now a doddering old man and Federal witness in need of his protection, is an unexpected fresh take on the Dark Knight Detective finally catching up with the man responsible for creating Batman. Barbara works fine as Batman's sidekick here, although I would have loved to have seen Miller's original vision of the Bruce/Stephanie Dynamic Duo given a chance. Worth a look.

[DC, $14.99]

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