“Superfriends” Part 1
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Writer Tom King takes a close examination of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship through the lens of Superman and Lois Lane with fun results.
This issue is a jaunty, breezy comic that is filled with funny moments, adept stealth plotting, and fantastic character interactions. The hook of the issue is that Superman feels awkward that Batman did not call him to announce his engagement to Catwoman. King takes a very mundane, human problem and makes that the driving force of this issue. Since the “conflict” is very pedestrian, the comedy and drama of it is exponentially amplified when placed within the context of larger-than-life superheroes. It has been done before in superhero comics, but it is rare to see it in a Batman story, much less one that also features Superman.
Seeing Superman talk about Batman and vice versa is nothing new in comics either. In fact, they made multiple comic series on it. But what makes this different from Superman/Batman is the inclusion of Catwoman and Lois Lane into the mix. The females are already intriguing characters in their own right, so their opinions on Batman and Superman are not just interesting, but they act as good character foils for the main superhero leads. Comparing the two superheroes provides fascinating insights and also plays wonderfully into King’s trademark parallelism-heavy writing style.
Furthermore, the way King characterizes and interweaves Superman and Batman’s storylines together was a great example of a succinct narrative. When the heroes inevitably meet, it is a real joy because they are so comfortable with one another. The whole comic is a perfect encapsulation of Batman and Superman’s relationship.
Clay Mann pulls artistic duty this issue. His penmanship looks more polished than his “Ballad of Kite Man” story arc. The improved quality is undoubtedly because he does not have a billion inkers, like he did in “Kite Man.” Mann’s depictions of the characters are great looking. More importantly, the way he draws their body language and posture tells a lot about the characters’ personalities without need for words.
King and Mann’s tale of a simple human social interaction is funny and introspective, while giving readers some new, unique perspectives. It is hard-pressed to find flaws with this issue. In fact, it makes me want to see King on a new Batman/Superman series.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment.