Artist: Jae Lee & Ben Oliver
I've been looking forward to this series for a while now, as being a huge Batman, as well as a relatively big Superman fan I really wanted to see the first encounter of these two great character's in the New 52. Also with the brilliant Greg Pak taking the writing reigns I expect brilliant things.
As Wayne Enterprises employees start turning up murdered in Metropolis, Clark travels to Gotham City to ask Bruce Wayne's thoughts on the matter. This leads to Batman travelling to Metropolis to investigate, and the first meeting between Batman, and Superman.
This was an outstanding issue, and one of the best opening issues I've read for a while, as although the first issues of Superman Unchained, and X-Men were good, this was something else. To be honest when I started reading this issue I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it, as it had a different start than I'm used to, but Greg Pak would soon show why he's such an amazing writer (having previously amazed me with his Hulk, and Hercules runs), by producing some amazing thought boxes, and dialogue. Besides this Pak does a phenomenal job of showing just how different Clark, and Bruce, and Superman, and Batman really are, which I loved. I also liked how you could easily tell that this was a much younger version of each character, as the way they think shows this, as both seem that little bit more naive that usual, seeing each other in a different light than usual as well. I do however question how this works with Justice League, as that series started with Batman, and Superman squaring of, and from their expressions, and actions then it looked like they didn't know one another, which is funny if this is actually their first meeting. I do however hope that Pak will address this, and I'm sure he will, and I'm also sure that he'll come up with a good reason.
Most of the art in this issue was drawn by Jae Lee, with Ben Oliver doing the final seven pages. Now I'm not the biggest fan of Jae Lee's art, as although it always looks nice, there's just certain parts of his style that doesn't appeal to me. The main thing I don't like about his art is the way he draws hair, as although he did Clark's hair brilliantly, he always seems to want to make people's hair as wavy as possible, and this to me makes it look very unrealistic. He also doesn't do a great job at showing the character's emotions, as although he adds the odd eye gesture, most of the time people's face's are very still, not showing much emotion, which is disappointing. There are however some positives about Lee's art, and the main one has to be his layouts. If you've read any comic with Lee's art in the past you'll have noticed that he has a unique style of laying out his work, and it's simply amazing, being extremely dynamic. The other thing that I always love about Lee's art is the colours that June Chung provides, which really make his art stand out, and also makes it much more vibrant. I am however a fan of the other artist on this book, Ben Oliver. His art on the likes of Batwing, and Action Comics #0 really appealed to me, and when I noticed that he'd have art featured in this issue I was very happy. It was very impactful, with lot's of detail, and the character emotions were brilliant, and to be honest I'd much rather he was doing the whole of the artwork on this.
This issue starts with Clark Kent travelling to Gotham City to talk to Bruce Wayne about the murders of Wayne Enterprise employees in Metropolis. Now although as I said earlier the initial start of this had me questioning if I'd like this series, but it quickly turned round, and became an interesting sequence. I loved how Pak understood both character's perfectly, whilst also making Bruce a little more rebellious, and the interaction between the two character's was golden. I also liked how we saw how being from Gotham allowed Bruce to understand the mentality of Gotham's citizens more, as when Clark tries to do something good, he's actually making the situation worse.
The villain in this issue turned out to be none other than Catwoman. Now I'm not sure if Catwoman's the best villain to start this series with, especially considering she was away from Gotham, but I have to say I loved seeing her as the villain once more, as although she's became a good heroine, she was always great as a villain. The fight between here and Batman in this issue was also brilliant, though I did feel that there could have been some interaction between the pair, as since becoming good they have some very entertaining conversations, whereas there was nothing during this fight, which was slightly disappointing. It didn't however take anything away from what was a phenomenal issue.
This issue would also see Batman, and Superman square off against each other, and to be honest it was always going to happen no matter who was writing it. I did however feel that Pak did a great job with this fight sequence, and it would have been hard to have done better. Although the fighting itself was entertaining, and exciting, with explosive artwork, it was however the though boxes from Pak that made this outstanding, as with both character's seeing the other as a killer, or murderer it showed how little they knew one another, and how naive they were in thinking this.
There was also a bit of mystery in this issue, especially near the end. Now I won't go into any details as to avoid spoilers, but some of the stuff shown during this was amazing, and really had me intrigued, and wanting to read more. I also loved other small additions, and they also left more questions to be answered, which is always nice (as long as they're delivered on though).
This was a great opening issue, and probably one of the best I've seen for a while. Pak really understood both character's, whilst adding his own uniqueness to them, which I loved. The action, and mystery also added for another level of drama, and suspense, and I can't wait to read more. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this issue, as it's a phenomenal read, and I seriously hope the series continues in this fashion.