Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Jesus Merino
It is normally relatively impossible to find an excuse to get me to buy this book, I mean, since Loeb left the book I’ve bought a grand total of two issues. This one and the Final Crisis issue. This is book is just….I want to say it’s pointless, but I’m not one of those “Every page must matter to get my money” kind of people, I just want a good story. Unfortunately this book has felt like hastily written stock stories that only secures continued publication because the name “Superman/Batman” should be a license to print money. I mean, it’s the Worlds Finest, it shouldn’t be unreasonable for the book to be good, especially since the lead characters have no other real excuse to team up these days since they aren’t even on the JLA.
So I guess it’s fitting that for the book to draw me back in it took a writer I have passing familiarity with saying “F the present” and taking us to the 853rd century. I mean, how long has it been since we took a wild ride to the crazy Grant Morrison created far flung future? Rhetorical question, I own Booster Gold #1,000,000, All Star Superman, and Batman #700. I know the answer. Point is that it’s a very seldom visited future era of DC, despite that the JSA for a time called Matthew Tyler, the Hourman of DC 1,000,000 as one of their number. Despite that it’s supremely awesome and ridiculously original. For those not in the know, back in the late 90’s Grant Morrison orchestrated a crossover event for the entire DC Universe where Justice Legion Alpha came back in time from the 853rd century to bring the current JLA to the future to take part in games and contests as part of the celebration of the return of Superman Prime from his self-imposed fifteen thousand year exile in the sun. Superman Prime, of course, being Kal El of Krypton. Yes, he’s alive, in the 853rd century, in the sun. Anyway, the JLA goes to the future, the Justice Legion comes back to the past, and both teams have to save the future, Superman, and everything in between from Solaris and Vandal Savage.
In short, it’s awesome.
The premise of this issue is that Epoch, the Lord of Time, shows up in his Chrono-Cube, wielding his Anti-Hourglass, and is stopped by the Superman and Batman of that era. Not letting this halt his plans, he quickly escapes from Asylym Planet of Pluto after taking out Robin, the Toy Wonder. Much the way you’d expect out of a man calling himself the Lord of Time, he’s got a lot of little tricks up his sleeves; from secret knowledge of the Batcave, to having the right components at the right time, he’s obviously planned insanely far in advance. In fact, I think he’s only truly surprised once or twice in the entire issue. Now, what baffles me is that this villain that I immediately viewed as a Kang knock-off is actually an established villain that I’d never heard of. Ouch. I try not to hold it against him though, as he was a good villain for this story, and an excuse to not only do the story but also to possibly use the twists I think I foresee.
The return of Batman 1,000,000 and his sheer badassness was great for this issue, and the way he takes the famous Bat-ism of time to plan to the extreme. Sure, he doesn’t get a lot of page time, and to be honest, only Epoch really does, but there’s just a lot of cool stuff here. Easter Eggs primarily, as we get to see things like the future Batcave, the future Watchtower, and even the future Fortress of Solitude. Trophies from all over time and from various incarnations of the various legacies, it’s a very nice touch. Especially seeing that the giant penny survived.
Jesus Merino does a great job here with the future, the trophies, the characters, all of it. The book has a futuristic feel to it that gives way for something a little older when the time comes. Actually, I wound up liking his work on this book more than his run on JSA last year (which looked far better than it read), and it only helped make the sale for me. The future has to look good, you know?
Alright, so I’ll level with you, this issue isn’t fantastic. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s not even bordering the cusp of greatness. Hell, if you aren’t familiar with DC 1,000,000 you probably won’t even understand why you should care about this issue. This story arc is going to primarily be for fans who remember the event fondly, which is far from the worst thing ever. The book isn’t inaccessible by any means, which is nice considering the expected massive continuity when placing a story in the far flung future, but given that it’s a time travel story that has yet to appear as if the present will be one of its eras of choice, I can’t foresee this arc having any long lasting ramifications on continuity. In other words, it’s just for fun and nostalgia.
5/10 if you’re not a fan of 1,000,000
7/10 if you’ve got the nostalgia factor
Tags: Batman, chris roberson, DC Comics, jesus merino, Reviews, Superman, Superman/Batman