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‘Batman Universe #3’ (review)

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Nick Derington
Published by DC Comics


“I love dinosaurs”
“You do?”
“Of course I do.”

Yeah, Hal, where have you been?

Oh, that’s right – off policing the known Universe. (And, uhm, multiverse.)

That’s been keeping Green Lantern Hal Jordan pretty busy lately. So much so that we haven’t seen much of him outside of his own book (the excellent Morrison/Sharpe project The Green Lantern, obviously!).

But even in those pages, we’ve seen Hal make the time for good buddy Oliver Queen, in a recent sequence (issue #8!) that has a similar feel to Batman’s own Green Arrow team-up just last issue.

One that drives home the point that these heroes aren’t simply colleagues at this point in the game. They’re friends.

Ever since the controversial Identity Crisis, back in 2004, which detailed a tragedy born directly from the tight-knit friendships of the Justice League, DC backed off considerably from the classic Silver Age tropes of a grand extended family of heroes. After rewriting history a few times however, and sidling back into as many recovered fan-favorite historical runs as possible, that policy has clearly been shelved entirely.

Just in time for Mr. Brian Michael Bendis

Now, with the Hall of Justice resurrected on the page, and an unknown but extensive period of shared history behind them, it seems that the old Superfriends of the Justice League are back.

And what better way to demonstrate that than a little super-heroic team-up time with Batman and Green Lantern. Or, perhaps I should say, Bruce and Hal.

Given the amount of tension between these two characters over the years, it is striking to see Bendis jump right in with a portrayal of the two men that is downright cooperative and cordial. It’s not just that they respect one another as charter members of the world’s premiere super group. They genuinely seem to care about one another. As well as one another’s opinion, for that matter.

That’s completely refreshing, and it’s a good thing too – too much tension might get in the way of tracking down Vandal Savage and his mysterious faberge egg, in what continues to be a madcap tour of Batman’s Universe: from Gorilla City, to Thanagar, to – yes – Dinosaur Island, and at least one additional stop that may yet prove the mettle of their friendship beyond anything they’ve imagined.

After all, when you’re two of the greatest in the business, it helps to have each other’s backs.

That must be much how Mr. Bendis feels with the mad skills of artist Nick Derington on hand, who, page for page, keeps pace with every flight of imagination Bendis can throw at our favorite caped crusader, with style, panache, and good old-fashioned comic goodness.

I mean who doesn’t want to see Batman and Green Lantern take on the odd rampaging herd of dinosaurs, with emerald fisticuffs and lots of Bat-wire? It’s enough to light up all the 9-year old joy centers of even the most jaded of comics readers.

And that’s good.

It also drives the story along – no time to rest when you’re born to be men of action – and wouldn’t you know, it appears we’re finally circling back around to one of the originations of Batman’s current mystery. And one more slingshot teleportation jaunt that brings our heroes a step closer to its answer.

Now if only they can keep from getting on the wrong side of a certain Single Action Army Cavalry revolver…

Next Issue: Finally! Jonah Hex!



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