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Review: Batman/Superman and Tales of the Vampire
3.25.2004 by Scott, every Thursday.


Hello, and I’m sorry for the long absence of content. I’m going to try and get out some more reviews and commentaries up here soon, schedule permitting. In the meantime, today I looked at two new titles on the racks. Enjoy.

Batman/Superman

How do you take two characters who have existed since the 30’s and appeared in thousands of comics through the years, and tell a fresh story with them? A story that appeals to long standing fans who feel a legacy in these characters, for their continuity and history is what draws this type of reader in. But at the same time, a story that can attract a new reader, who doesn’t want to be mired in the same continuity that the first type of reader craves. The story has to be fresh and new, and to be able to stand on its own. Jeph Loeb teams up with artist Ed McGuiness for Batman/Superman, and tells this type of story, rich in continuity, but not tied down by it.

Loeb mixes in villains ranging from Lex Luthor and Metallo to the new Toyman, Lady Shiva, and Solomon Grundy. Hero cameos are also abundant, with Nightwing, Huntress, Robin, Bat-Girl, Superboy, Power Girl, Captain Atom, Hawkman, Captain Marvel, Katana and Green Lantern. All that in only the first six issues! The story has President Luthor successfully branding Superman a villain, and with a billion dollar bounty on his head, everyone is out to get him. With only Batman on his side, he has to clear his name, stop Luthor, and save the world. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that even his allies try to take them down.

The book was a great read, with crisp art and slick writing. Loeb does a masterful job of capturing Batman and Superman’s thoughts with lots of inner monologue. It’s fun, exciting, and funny, and gets my vote. The single issues are a little hard to find now, but look for a trade paperback collecting the arc to be out soon.

Tales of the Vampire

The television series is over for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it looks like it’s spin-off series Angel is not going to return next year, but Joss Whedon still has more stories of the “Buffy-verse” to tell. After having written “Fray” last year, Whedon is back writing with Dark Horse again, this time with “Tales of the Vampire”.

Short stories and vignettes by separate creative teams, with a longer arc stretching from issue to issue written by Whedon make up the content of this title. Some of the shorts are okay, some are dull, but the real interest here is in the main arc that Joss Whedon is writing himself. It involves a group of children in training to be Watchers who are getting lessons from an elder vampire, who was captured and restrained by the Watcher’s Council. It is creepy and fun, but some of the appeal may be lost on those who aren’t fans of the Buffy franchise. I am a fan, so I liked it, but those looking to check out what Buffy is all about should try and watch the episodes on DVD before picking up this title.

Scott MacIver




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