Artist: Carlos Pacheco
I recently decided to start collecting the Superman/Batman series in trades, with this being the third that I've read/reviewed. So far I have been very excited over the series, and it has shown Jeph Loeb at his best, with really unique and interesting stories.
When Superman and Batman's timeline is changed by a group from the future they turn into tyrants who rule the world, taking out any cape or superhero standing in their way.
This was a disappointing story, as although I didn't expect Jeph Loeb to keep the level of quality of the previous volumes forever, I never expected the quality to drop this far. Now before I go any further the story isn't terrible, as it was very interesting, with a brilliant concept. At the same time I don't think the concept was executed right, as it just didn't feel right to me, feeling too false and a bit forced. Loeb did however do a good job of keeping the suspense and drama up in the story, with the diversity throughout the story grabbing my attention. Loeb also added some brilliant twists to the story's development, though at the end of the day the story just didn't appeal to me, as although it showed Loeb's great imagination and brilliant storytelling abilities, there was just something about it that didn't feel right, which ruined the story as a whole.
The artwork on this story however was brilliant, as although it wasn't on the same level as Ed McGuinness or Michael Turner's brilliant artwork from the last two volumes, it was still amazing, and Carlos Pacheco did a spectacular job. The detail in Pacheco's art was also fantastic, being very smooth and consistent throughout. I also really enjoyed Pacheco's layouts, as although nothing extraordinary, they did manage to add a lot of depth and tone to the story, also making it more dramatic. On top of that I also loved the way that Pacheco drew all the characters, as he did most of them justice, showing their emotions and facial expressions perfectly. I didn't however enjoy his drawings of Darkseid, as he didn't look quite as powerful as he's meant to. Pacheco did however make up for this by doing a fantastic job of showing the carnage and action throughout, adding a lot of excitement to the story.
The main focus of this story would show Superman and Batman's origins being changed by time travellers, resulting in them being brought up to be tyrants. Now I have to say that I had a hard time getting used to seeing Superman and Batman as villains, as although Loeb has thought of a brilliant way of making them this, I personally can't get the idea that this is wrong out of my head. I did however find it interesting to see them like this, and especially due to them no longer holding back. I didn't however enjoy the brotherly bond that they made due to this, as it seemed a bit forced, and once again didn't feel right, as although they've always had a strong friendship, this took it slightly too far in my opinion.
The time travellers who would come up with this plan would be none other than Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, and Saturn Queen from the Legion of Super-Villains. I loved the fact that these three were behind the change in time, as due to all the appearances from the Legion of Super-Heroes appearances over the years, it's nice to see their villainous counterparts take the centre stage. I also loved the mysteriousness behind these characters at the start, as it would add even more suspense to the story, also helping to add to the atmosphere. I would however have liked them to have had a more active role in the story, as although it made sense for them to work from the background, it would have been nice to have seen more action from them, though the action we got was amazing.
The main them of this story would be time altering, and time travel. I'm usually sceptical about time travel stories, as although when done right they make for brilliant and exciting tales, when done wrong they can be horrendous. The time travel in this volume probably falls somewhere in between, as although there was a lot about it that I didn't like, there was stuff that I did. The thing that I personally enjoyed most about the time travel in this story was the constant change in attitude for certain characters, as although as I said I didn't like the initial changes made to Superman and Batman, I did like some of the later changes, as well as the changes to other characters, and overall it was built-up very well.
The thing that I loved most about this story had to be all the characters that made cameo appearances, as due to all the time travel, and changes in the time line it allowed for some characters that you'd never expect to see in a Superman/Batman story, such as Jonah Hex and Sgt. Rock. The other characters who I enjoyed seeing in this story included Uncle Sam, Green Arrow, a slightly changed Wonder Woman, Darkseid and more. Apart from these appearances I also enjoyed how these alternative versions of Superman and Batman reacted to some of these characters, as well as how the characters reacted to them, with there being some very entertaining encounters.
Though nowhere near the same level as the previous two Superman/Batman volumes, this was still an interesting story, as although it didn't appeal to me too much, it had a very interesting concept, with some brilliant character interaction, and a lot of excitement. It also had some nice cameo appearances, but I did feel that this was not a successful time travelling issue. Due to this I'd probably barely recommend this to people, and especially if you are a fan of Pacheco's artwork, though I would stress that this is nowhere near as good as the previous two volumes, and that you may be disappointed.