Pak’s take on the World’s Finest team begins its second volume with an art change and video game story then the rest of the book tackles Mongul and son, Jochi, and a battle on Warworld.
Pak is joined by Paul Levitz on some writing duties and the art team is split up between the talents of Brett Booth, Jae Lee, R.B. Silva, Kenneth Rocafort, Philip Tan, Scott McDaniel, Norm Rapmund and Joe Weems.
I did note in my Nightwing review that the art inconsistencies were less than ideal for such an expensive volume. Much the same could be said for this book but Booth’s tight and traditional comic pages contrast nicely with the ethereal Jae Lee art of this book. The supporting artists keep it all together as well.
This hardcover volume is a great gift idea for the DC Comics fan in your life this holiday season featuring Batman/Superman Issues #5—9, Annual #1 and the crossover tale for Worlds’ Finest #20-21.
Batman Superman HC Vol. 2 Game Over
Writer: Greg Pak, Paul Jenkins
Artist: Brett Booth, Jae Lee, Various
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: 11/22/14
Buy It HERE
No stranger to the world of video games and programmers — Greg Pak’s Code Monkey Save World is a compendium on Jonathan Coulton songs brought to the page — the opening salvo of this volume is a gamer’s delight, all illustrated in landscape pages from superstar Brett Booth (The Flash).
A great experiment for this format was the McFarlane/Liefeld Spider-Man and X-Force: Sabotage from November 1991. Even more recently, Erik Larsen did this in Savage Dragon #199.
While the Image founder’s books leaned more toward style than substance (although the Juggernaut fight scene is still pretty sweet), this story has more tooth to the page. Toymaster Hiro Okamura has designed the ultimate Batman vs Superman VR fighting game experience and has some great testers online to check out the beta.
While Hiro dresses a bit like Superboy Prime, he is a reimagining or renaming of Silver Age Dial H for Hero (Hiro?) pre-crisis Toymaster who himself looks like Will Ferrell’s elf! Our Toymaster is your typical genius kid residing in Gotham.
Online in the game with Hiro are professional gamer Alfonso Champion, game designer Janice Everson and none other than Superman’s very rich pal, Jimmy Olson.
Booth’s pencils shine as real super hero stuff, more in the vein of Tony S. Daniel / Jim Lee & Scott Williams school than Greg Capullo’s cleaner take on The Dark Knight, but a welcome artist to Batman’s New 52 oeuvre.
With some solid timey-wimey virtual reality on the fritz, what appears to be the real Batman does manifest himself into Toymaster’s loft to pull the plug — then the baddy Mongul appears!
These issues read faster than usual, but give you time to drink in the awesome action and detailed backgrounds, you will thank yourself.
Of course Clark shows up by the third act but the mechanics how Pak tells the story would be given short shrift explained here. Pak’s dialogue and logic are always great to read. Bruce and Clark do ‘that thing’ that makes Batman and Superman a great team. Like brothers, they fight and disagree but ultimately get the job done in the end.
With Mongul defeated for now, we are treated to the Jae Lee artwork from the first volume that everyone fell in love with. Pivoting from the awesome splash pages, we’re set back down to a more earthy and emotional tone of paintings within panels and Bat-spread layouts á la J.H. Williams III.
Mongul’s son Jochi reveals himself to Supes and challenges him and the Batman to return to Warworld with two allies each. The teams come together nicely for a brave and bold epic. Superman family is Supergirl and Steel. Bruce takes Batgirl and Red Hood. Man, that would be some family vacation in the Family Truckster! I wonder if they’d forget Jason strapped to the roof of the thing.
The art switches again to Kenneth Rocafort when we arrive on Warworld.
Our teams enter tournament battle allied with Jochi. Somehow (and I’m not complaining by any stretch) Krypto has joined in the action as Superman Clan fights giant robots! Steel and Batgirl stay out of the way to recon the tech or chase MacGuffins or whatnot.
Who cares! Battle Planet! Superman Clan! Batman Clan! Krypto! Frickin’ Robots!
There has been the Earth 2 book World’s Finest confusing timelines since the beginning, and what better place to play around with that than Batman/Superman? (See Volume One!)
Huntress and Power Girl of Earth 2 are the stars of World’s Finest and Pak teams up with the book’s main writer Paul Levitz for Batman/Superman #9 and crossover issues of World’s Finest #20-21 rounding out the volume.
Lots of cool inter-dimensional caper stuff here, and we even get some help from Hiro. Huntress is freaked out by our Batman, and when Power Girl arrives on our Earth, Clark needs to temper her energy.
Greg Pak is a great storyteller and I’m really hoping to catch up on his Doomed arc from Action Comics and Superman et al. He’s nailing the Clark and Bruce dynamic but is even better when serviced by amazing artists.
The New 52 continuity as a whole has it’s faults, but Pak seems to navigate them and consistently makes great comics.