Genre: Superhero Comics
Length: 144 pages
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
How the hell do you describe this collection?
Actually, it’s damn difficult.
Greg Pak’s story begins with a lot of promise. New 52 Batman and Superman meeting for the first time (Maybe five or so years before the New 52 reboot?) in real life as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. Naturally, the two don’t exactly hit it off.
Before this meet-and-greet goes too wrong, a demonic spirit of some kind appears, transporting these two — for no clear reason — to Earth 2, where they immediately clash with their alternate, older selves and each other.
As Batman and Superman are trying to understand what the hell is going on and fight off these old guys impersonating them, the mischievous demon spirit reappears, babbling on about Darkseid and telling everyone that only one world will survive. Eventually, Wonder Woman shows up to use her lasso of truth on the damn thing and get to the bottom of what is going on. No one ever really understand what the hell is happening though, because Darkseid is a complete unknown at this time.
Through all this superhero fun, Pak throws out some rather good ideas, especially those focusing on the Big Three of Earth-2 (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) and those foreshadowing the beginning to the Earth-2 series. But, even with the bright spots, this was a story that never really caught fire, but did more sputtering and smoking before it just went out. Honestly, I don’t know if Pak was trying to simplify the narrative, make it mysterious, or give it a dreamy tone, but whatever his reasons, this whole story had such a weird surreal feeling that it was about as appealing as the art.
Yeah, I’m dissing Jae Lee’s artwork. Now, let me stop and say that I’ve always found this guys work to be amazing. I’ve considered myself a fan of his since I picked up a copy of Namor the Sub-Mariner back in 1992. Those books dazzled me, and I’ve generally liked his stuff ever since — except for this collection. Here his art has such a whimsical quality that it just doesn’t match the story. The ethereal nature of it not meshing with the superhero antics. Not sure why, but that is how I felt anyway.
All of the above really means one things: Batman/Superman: Cross World is not something I’ll remember for very long or remember very fondly. It really was a disappointment to me, because I was expecting great things from it.