Writer: Joshua Williamson, Art: David Marquez, Colors: Alejandro Sanchez , Letters: John L. Hill.
DC reboots/restarts the popular Batman/Superman series this month, in a story titled “Who Are The Secret Six?, Part One”, with the World’s Finest duo hunting The Batman Who Laughs (TBWL), the twisted version of Batman from a dark dimension. Their search for TBWL leads them to Crime Alley. As Batman and Superman (B&S) pause in front of the movie theater where Bruce’s parents were killed, artist David Marquez illustrates the famous/infamous post-murder scene as barely-there, streetlighted ghosts, with an otherworldly glow that is beautiful and different from any other approach I have seen before. This is a good a place to mention what a beautiful job both Marquez and colorist Alejandro Sanchez have done with textured shadows, fog, and lighting glows (like Batman’s flashlight). Their work adds a realistic, gritty touch, and depth to the scenes.
Marquez has been one of my favorite artists for a while now (Avengers, X-Men), but he has really upped his game even higher on this series. His depictions of B&S are spot-on (spot-on = I prefer my heroes more anatomically correct and less stylized), his figures are convincingly and expertly foreshortened (not an easy feat when an artist is striving for realism), and his page compositions are varied, well-composed, and dramatically cinematic in feel. However, his Batman appears to wear a throwback uniform without body armor of any kind, which is an unusual choice for a Batman of 2019.
Marquez’ TBWL-Cave is introduced in a double-page spread, where blood stains the floors, blood-red lighting throws evil glows, and decorative TBWL spikes and pointy references are absolutely everywhere, right down to deadly-looking stalactites. Anyone who has ever visited caverns knows stalactites don’t really end in a sharp point, but these have to look evil, right? I am certain Marquez' Artistic License is current and up-to-date.
Writer Joshua Williamson continues the fun and fascinating B/S tradition of the overlapping inner monologue between the two characters, as we get to hear what they are thinking about each other, very often things they would never say out loud.
During B&S’s trip to the cave, they discover TBWL’s plans to infect heroes with poisoned batarangs, and are inexplicably surprised (where is Superman’s super-hearing?) by someone who is not who he seems, setting up a doozy of a cliffhanger. Stay tuned, this new series looks fun, beautiful, and not-to-be-missed.
Batman/Superman #1 is on sale August 28, 2019.