Monday, December 29, 2014

Booknote: Batman/Superman, Volume 2: Game Over

From the book's description:

"The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel uncover a plot by the Toymaster to use a secret, potentially deadly element in his new video game, the characters created by players manifest in real life. The ultimate fighting game results--and a world-wide network of players must team up to create the most powerful, skilled Super Heroes imaginable with one goal: To kill Batman." 

That description sounds pretty good, but the book just falls short. One reason for me may be that I recently finished reading the Injustice: Gods Among Us series (link to my review of the first volume), which also features the whole premise of superheroes fighting each other. So by the time I got to this volume, it was a bit of more of the same: Superman versus Batman and their respective allies thing. As I read this one, I just got the sense of "again? really?" This whole pitting the heroes against each other is pretty much a meme in comics, especially the Big Two (yea, Marvel does it too), and by now it's not exactly fresh. Heck, in this comic they even do a self-reference to it (calling it a trope), so you know the thing is running its course. Another reason I was less than thrilled with this volume is that it seems to be stretching. It starts out with the Toymaster, and that idea seemed intriguing enough. Then we get Mongul, and it turns out that he was the one really running things. OK, I think I can still get into that. However, the story feels like it keeps stretching on and on and on. It feels like the writers started writing, and then they could not stop. This book just keeps stretching the story, and after a while, I just got tired of the thing. It's a pity since I have read and enjoyed Greg Pak's work before, and this just does not seem to measure up to his good stuff.

On a positive, there is a nice style to the art that is a pleasure to look at.  It is not necessarily the best reason to pick this comic up but at least it makes reading the story a bit more bearable. In other words, the art is good, but since you just get tired of the seemingly never-ending story, the art is not enough to save it.

If you bought the previous volume in this series (link to my review), this volume has some references to the previous volume. However,  you do not need to have read the previous volume in order to read this one. As a librarian, I would not buy this volume unless a patron requested it. I may talk about it in reader's advisory, but I probably would not be too enthusiastic about it. There are just too many other comics doing better things out there at this time I could recommend instead. So for public libraries, I would say it is an optional purchase. For academic libraries with graphic novel collections, like ours, this is one I would skip unless I get a few patron requests to add it.

In the end, I am giving it one star out of five stars as it is one I did not like overall.

Disclosure note is where I tell you that I read this review copy as provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That way, we keep The Man happy.

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