After a slightly questionable second story arc, “Batman/Superman” #8 has the series back on track, as Greg Pak is rejoined by initial collaborator Jae Lee for the “First Contact” crossover with “Worlds’ Finest.” It’s the sort of meet-up that you’re a little surprised hasn’t happened already — Power Girl and Huntress finally meeting their counterparts of Superman and Batman — and for an opening chapter, it’s off to a good start.
There’s no doubt in my mind which pairing of characters steals the show, and that’s Batman and Huntress. The two are well-matched here, with each trying to gain the upper hand over the other, while also possessing a lot of the same traits. When she starts using the Batcave’s computer and Batman simultaneously thinks that he trusts Huntress, and that it’s not a good feeling, it’s hard not to laugh. You can almost hear that gruff Batman voice being less than thrilled with this new emotion; it’s both a telling moment even as it’s funny. Just as good is the scene where the duo compare and contrast their relationships with their Kryptonian allies; it’s a good moment because it not only reminds us on how the two are different, but it shows us the path that each of them could in theory turn down instead of how they currently are situated.
The Superman and Power Girl sequences aren’t bad, but there’s not as much to grab onto here. The two are much more alike, so we don’t get that contrast to spice things up. Since the issue is primarily focused on Power Girl’s strange power fluctuations and trying to help her (and save the world), that’s where the attention with them is squarely centered. It’s not a bad plot line, and it gives them all something to do more than just growl at one another, or fight in a misunderstanding.
Lee’s art is phenomenal as ever. The cover composition for “Batman/Superman” #8 is impressive, a series of diagonal lines fitting together by people’s bodies and wreckage. The focal point here is the line that Superman and Power Girl are traveling on, about to collide even as a car form a second, perpendicular line as it crumbles when the two strike it. It’s essentially a big “X marks the spot” moment, and it drags your attention to it. But then, as you look for more than a few seconds, you’ll realize that there’s a third line. It also runs perpendicular to the Superman/Power Girl line, as it features Batman and Huntress. What’s fun about this one is that while a close examination shows that Batman is pursuing Huntress, at a glance it looks like the two are pushing away from one another. It’s a neat little contrast to Superman and Power Girl careening towards each other, and sets up the entire issue and its story of similarities and differences.
“Batman/Superman” #8 is a good start to a crossover, and it’s also a pleasure to see Pak and Lee reunited here. After the videogame/Mongul storyline, this is much more what I’m looking for. All in all, a fun time.