Hey Everyone! Over the last few weeks we have been looking into the DC New 52 comics that take place during Zero Year, the stories from the time before the official start of the New 52. So far, we have stayed in Gotham with the Red Hood Gang and the Riddler taking the focus, but here we have the whole DC Universe opened for us with the introduction to the multiverse and Darksied.
In volume we have the first four issues of Batman/Superman. These include Issue #1 Crossworlds, Issue #2 Doubletime, Issue #3 Split Screen, and Issue #4 Refraction. There is also the addition of Justice League Issue #23.1 Villain of the Month: Darksied. This volume, like the other volumes I have reviewed, was published in the middle of the New 52. This means that some of the Channel 52 inserts don’t make sense because they are following the publication timeline and not the timeline of the story. It is a little confusing, I know. Once you read the story though it begins to make sense.
So, let’s jump in. Issue #1 begins with a very Clark Kent coming to Gotham, a drastically different city than Metropolis, looking for a very young Bruce Wayne. He does find him on a bench reeking of beer and watching a school yard fight. While Bruce was willing to watch the bulling unfold, Clark steps in looking out for the kid. In keeping up with his billionaire playboy persona, Bruce pretends not to care when Clark tells him about the three dead Wayne Enterprise employees over in Metropolis and tells Clark to go home.
Bruce does care though and makes the effort to get his employees out of Metropolis but one of them is unwilling, Ralph Mangubat. That night he is attacked in Metropolis but Catwoman. However, Bruce recognizes that this is not like her and is confused about her actions. Ralph activated these bots that should not have left Wayne Enterprise. The real issue though is when Superman shows and doesn’t understand that Batman is the good guy here. This begins a fight between the two of them with Bruce recognizing that physically he is outmatched. Remember, this is still in the very early days of Batman and Superman. This Superman doesn’t even know how to fly yet.
While Batman and Superman are fighting an entity that we later learn is Kaiyo the Trickster leaves Catwoman, who she has been possessing and transports both Superman and Batman to another Earth. Not we have our first look at Earth 2 and here Superman and Batman are both established and friends. Batman2 recognizes that this Superman is not his Superman or at least that there is something wrong with him. I love when he asks what the deal is with the jeans. He eventually must use Kryptonite to subdue Superman1, however, even though he is young he is still he is able to get the kryptonite and throw it out of range. He then attacks Batman ending Issue #1.
At the start of Issue #2 there is the introduction of Kaiyo, and she just explains that she is barrowing the worlds most dangerous men. This gets explained a little more later. With Superman1 fighting Batman2 over in Smallville, Batman1 has found his way into the Batcave of Earth 2 and discovers that not only Id Alfred not here but that this Batman is married to Catwoman. She recognizes right away that he is sloppier that her Batman and she can subdue him easily.
With Batman2, he is fighting with Superman1. He is startled to learn that on this earth his parents are still alive since on Earth 1 Jonathan and Martha Kent are both dead. He thinks that this is a trick and is confused. It is at this point that Superman2 shows to protect his parents and friends Batman2 from Superman1.
Batman2 leaves Smallville sure that Superman2 can handle Superman1. When he arrives home, he finds that he has Batman1 there with his wife. Of course, the world’s greatest detective now easily sees that this is either time travel or themselves from another dimension. Batman1 warns Batman2 about Superman1, but he assures him that he is taken care of.
With the Supermen, Martha recognizes that this Earth 1 version of her son has some demons that her Superman does not and realizes that he has lost his parents, which has made him angrier than Earth 2 Superman.
Then of course there must be the tour of Gotham City which on Earth 2 is much nicer and cleaner. Arkham is even an amusement park over an Asylum. Superman2 introduces his double to his wife Lois Lane. Superman1 finds this weird since on his Earth they are just friends. He taken by Wonder Woman when she shows, and I love that Lois is upset by this. Superman2 is sleeping on the couch tonight. Wonder woman recognizes that there is something in Lois that, the demon goddess Kaiyo.
At the start of Issue #3 Superman1 and 2 looks after Lois as Wonder Woman interrogates this Demon Goddess Kaiyo. When using the lasso on her they hear the voice of Darkseid, and this is enough for even Earth 2 Superman to be scared. Kaiyo tells them that Batman2 has a weapon that would work on Darksied and Superman1 remembers the Kryptonite that Batman2 used on him. They head back to Smallville to investigate and Superman2 realizes that there is a much larger weapon like this on the planet. A weapon that Superman2 told Batman2 to create in case Superman ever lost control. Unfortunately, though, it looks like the military has their hands on it.
Superman2 at first feels a little betrayed by Batman2 and he heads to disable the crystal. Things get even more heated when Batman2 shoots Superman2 out of the sky. This is all the prompting that Superman1 needs to make this a real fight. Superman and Batman from Earth 2 have a long friendship and can talk about this. Batman2 says that he only shot at Superman to stop him from getting close to the crystal because it really could kill him. Superman1 still isn’t trusting Batman2 and teams up with Batman1 to get the crystal before it is destroyed. That is because they were told by Kaiyo that this is the only weapon that would destroy Darkseid.
Issue #4 begins with the argument about what to do with the crystal. Earth-2ers want it destroyed and Earth-1ers want to keep it. Meanwhile Wonder Woman is fighting Kaiyo. Superman1 overpowers Superman 2 with a surprise and touches the crystal and it is so strong that it can raise the dead of Jonathan and Martha on Earth 1. Nothing like some zombies to get things going. This pushes for the destruction of the crystal with Superman2 ending up in space and Superman1 fighting to save Lois from the crystal’s explosion.
After the Crystal is destroyed, Kiayo lets them in on the real reason for this meeting. She was having them compete to see who are the better champions. You would think that the Earth-2’s more experienced heroes would be the winners, but it is the heroes of Earth-1 since they were ready to do what is necessary to defeat Darksied. They are more ruthless because of the deaths of their parents and the lack of their younger friendship. She then wipes their minds of this meeting and puts things back the way they were. The Earth-2 heroes are now almost living life as if they know that it is shorter but don’t really understand the reasoning. On Earth-1 Clark goes back to Gotham and learns that instead of stepping into the fight with the bully, he thought Zach how to defend himself. We also see that Kaiyo is with Zach on Earth-1.
For the Justice League issue 23.1: Darkseid we get the look into who Darksied is and how he came about. He lived as Uxas on a planet ruled by Gods that he hated. He was tired of them, so he climbed the forbidden mountain and whispered in their ear as they slept and planted the idea for war. As the Gods fought each other they became weakened and Uxas then killed the Gods and absorbed their powers. His brother seeing what Uxas had done prayed to one of the dying Gods and as his final act the God gave him his powers and he fought Uxas.
In the fight Uxas destroys his planet and becomes Darksied. He starts his own plant Apokolips where laughter is forbidden. Of course, this is where Kaiyo the Trickster is from, so she doesn’t do well with this rule. She leaved Apokolips and Darkseid follows her and destroys all the planets he finds her on. So, she is searching for champions who can once and for all defeat Darkseid.
This of course all builds up to the Darkseid War that we will get to…eventually. That pretty much sums up this breakdown though. I really liked this volume and enjoyed the art, but sometimes it did become hard to follow, especially if you are not an avid comic reader. However, I love the story and hope you guys decide to check it out. Next week, we will dive into Action Comics Vol 1: Superman and the Men of Steel. This volume officially the last of the Zero Year comics and will lead us into the true beginning of New 52.
Where to Buy?
Batman/Superma Vol. 1: Crossworlds: https://amzn.to/2YljhxY
Action Comics Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel: https://amzn.to/33391hw
Batman Vol. 4: Zero Year: http://bit.ly/2ODevwc
DC Comics: Zero Year: http://bit.ly/2YutUTx
Batman Vol 5: Dark City: http://bit.ly/2YCPFMA