Sunday, September 4, 2011

Superman/Batman: Big Noise

Cover by Ardian Syaf

Superman/Batman: Big Noise (2009)
Writer: Joe Kelly, Joshua Williamson, Joe Casey
Penciller: Ardian Syaf, Jason Fabok, Scott Kolins
Inker: Derek Fridolfs, Rebecca Buchman, Walden Wong, Vincente Cifuentes, Prentis Rollins, Norm Rapmund, Marlo Alquiza
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh, Peter Pantazis, Ulises Arreola,
Letterer: Rob Leigh

This was, hands down, one of the silliest comics I’ve ever read.

The plot reminded me of something I would’ve dreamed up in my hardcore science fiction nerd days when I was 10. As a 10 year old, I didn’t exactly have the concept of conflict, character development and narrative structure down so I just made things up as I went along (I was an avid fiction writer back then and with all the naïve confidence of a type A personality first-born, thought I was quite good at it). But, I was wise enough to not let too many people see my work, which obviously did not happen with this graphic novel.

It was not a bad graphic novel, per se. It was just silly. There is no other way to describe it. I imagined the entire plot acted out by action figures of Superman and Batman as I read it. It didn’t feel genuine and had a tenuous conflict at best. The real purpose of this novel was simply to watch Superman and Batman battle a shape-shifting alien in cool, nonsensical scifi gear.

Also, though Bruce Wayne is extremely wealthy, I did wonder at just how he was able to afford all of this insane space gear. For example, he had a space suit that allowed him to free float (without drifting off into nothingness) and also speak to Superman clearly. I’m sorry, but how can Superman and Batman speak to each other in the vacuum of space? I know Superman’s an alien so maybe he’s got some space-voice he can use but the one thing I remember nitpicking over Star Wars was the fact that we can hear the explosion of the Death Star. Space doesn’t work that way. But, maybe Bruce Wayne is so wealthy that he can purchase some space suit that has the ability to spit in the face of science.

Anyway, like I said, the main conflict was tenuous at best: there’s a last-surviving shape-shifting alien that comes from a race that was destroyed by Kryptonians way back when Kryptonians weren’t pacifists so this alien decides to kill Superman. Seems reasonable enough.

Of course, Batman is there to assist his BFF and I will admit, it is always fun to see the interplay between these two heroes. They’re so different in almost ever way (except for the being white men way), so it’s always interesting to see how writers bring these two personalities together. Sometimes it’s harmonious, other times, not so much. Here, they depended on each other for different reasons and it was probably the strongest element to this novel.

The art was pretty well done, too. It was very typical; nothing I haven’t seen before. The illustrations of the characters were somewhat mediocre but I could tell that the pencillers had fun drawing all these crazy scifi gadgets. They went to town on those but at the cost of making Superman and Batman and the rest of the characters look distinct.

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