Tom King. If he’s not penning a modern classic Joker and Riddler tale, he’s making readers care about Kite Man. He made a tragic new entry to the Bat Family and has made Robin hangouts a thing. Then King went and made the case for and had Batman and Catwoman get engaged. The only thing left on what has to be considered an epic run is craft a definitive Batman/Superman story. With issue #36, King hits the meme equivalent of hold my beer.
Fittingly, King treats this first chapter of Super Friends like a grown-up installment of Super Sons. Batman is reluctant to talk to Superman about his engagement while Superman is leery of Catwoman. To help talk some sense in their respective mates, Catwoman and Lois Lane keep pushing them to grow up and talk like friends. King has always written Catwoman so well that it seemed obvious he would immediately find Lois’ voice.
Clay Mann handles the artwork, which is outstanding. Mann is like the evolution of Jim Lee in his prime. There’s a realistic quality to everything and the posing makes sense for everyone. This book would still make for a great read even with decent art, but with Mann (and inker Seth Mann and colorist Jordie Bellaire), this is just an overall great issue.
As has been a hallmark of his run, King finds different avenues to explore Batman’s humanity. He’s not an all-perfect, all-knowing hero. He’s a regular guy who still has real emotions including worrying that his best friend is going to like his fiancé. Then King digs even deeper into how Batman and Superman truly view each other. And King digs into the well of long forgotten Batman villains and comes up with another winner.
Occasionally, DC will put trades of random stories together. For the next Batman/Superman collection, this undoubtedly has to be included. This is my new favorite Batman and Superman story and I’m betting I won’t be the only one.
Rating: 10 out of 10