Alternate Takes 05.18.13: Superman/Batman – Public Enemies
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 05.18.2013
411’s Shawn S. Lealos breaks down the Public Enemies storyline in his continued look at the classic Superman stories! Plus the winner of the Comic Book Fight Club is revealed and more!
Welcome to Week 252 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.
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This week, we continue my look at some of the best Superman comics continues as I look at one that I left off my list a few weeks back, but one that I feel should have been on the list.
A lot of people pointed out For the Man Who Has Everything, which is a fantastic Superman story, but I don’t know if it would have made my Top 5. Yes, it is a better story probably than Death of Superman, proving that a one issue story can be just as gripping as one that lasts numerous issues like most of the stories on my list. However, when it comes to Superman and Batman team-ups, I prefer Public Enemies for a couple of reasons.
While For the Man had a wonderful side story of Superman living his “dream” of Krypton never dying, the story of Superman, Batman and Jason Todd Robin trying to save him was only halfway decent. I also don’t feel like Jason Todd was realistically portrayed in the comic and seemed nothing like Todd really was through his tenure in the Batman comics, which hurts since it was Jason Todd who was the hero in that story.
With that said, I am in no way saying it was not a great story. Seeing how – even in Superman’s dream world – things go wrong in the end. I just can’t get behind the dialogue but I do like the fact that we got to see a very pissed off Superman at the end.
That brings me to Public Enemies, which I thought was a spectacular series of books in the Superman-Batman series. It brought an end to the long-running Lex Luthor as president storyline, which makes it just as important historically as something like Death of… or New Krypton. It also features some great fighting, nice twists and turns, and some of the best writing out there.
Jeph Loeb did a fantastic job of taking Superman’s story and that of Batman, and contrasting them through this entire storyline, showing how they are almost the same while having very important differences. Sure, a lot of the contrasts are common knowledge to fans of the comics, but the way he wrote it was just pitch perfect.
The only thing in the entire series that bothered me was Metallo, who was trying to regain his body only to have Superman and Batman attack him. I did like how he blasted Superman with a kryptonite bullet and needed Batman and Alfred to save him, but overall the entire Metallo story just seemed tacked on at this point. It would lead somewhere later, but as a standalone storyline, it felt out of place.
Now, what really made the story work was when it looked like Superman and Batman were alone against the world. With Lex Luthor as president, he could force the other superheroes to fight the two greatest heroes, and the stories really felt like they were alone against the world – especially when Captain Atom told Superman that innocent people don’t run, which it looked like Superman was doing.
When the big twist came that showed numerous heroes on Luthor’s side were moles placed there by Batman, things really got interesting and the covert styled story made for a great, entertaining read. When they finally ousted Luthor from power, it was a moment that had been building for Superman for years. The dialogue was also great here as Superman’s inner monologue spoke of how he trusted the American people to make the right choice, but Luthor pulled the wool over their eyes. Despite this, he said he would let the will of the people rule until Luthor stepped over that line.
Lex Luthor did step over the line in this series, despite his allegations that a kryptonite meteor heading towards earth had something to do with Superman being ludicrous. Everyone finally saw Luthor as the evil villain he was and Superman finally won, beating his greatest foe while Luthor was at his height of power.
While I left it out of my rankings a few weeks back, further consideration tells me it deserves there over something like “Funeral for a Friend,” which should have been grouped with “Death of Superman” anyway.
The winner of the Super Hero Fight Club, as voted on by you, is …
June 14 – The Man of Steel
June 21 – World War Z
July 3 – The Lone Ranger
July 12 – Pacific Rim
July 19 – R.I.P.D.
July 19 – Red 2
July 26 – The Wolverine
August 2 – 300: Rise of an Empire
August 6 – Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
August 16 – Kick-Ass 2
August 23 – The World’s End
August 23 – The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
September 6 – Riddick
September 13 – Machete Kills
October 4 – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
October 11 – Oldboy
November 1 – Ender’s Game
November 8 – Thor 2: The Dark World
November 22 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
December 13 – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
January 24 – I, Frankenstein
April 4 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
May 2 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
July 18 – X-Men: Days of Future Past
August 1 – Guardians of the Galaxy
March 6 – Fantastic Four
May 1 – The Avengers 2
November 6 – Ant-Man
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