WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the lead stories in Batman Giant #3 and Superman Giant #3.
Three months into their existence, it looks like DC’s Walmart-exclusive line of 100-page giants is turning out to be a smart gamble. The line of monthly magazines — Batman Giant, Superman Giant, Justice League of America Giant, and Teen Titans Giant — offers a solid blend of new stories that get to the heart of what people love about their favorite superheroes while providing a (mostly) good selection of reprints to intrigue people who either never read these stories the first time around or simply haven’t read them in a while. (For the record, as someone who’d never read “Batman: Hush,” I’m enjoying it monthly in the pages of Batman Giant.)
But it was September that was going to be the make-or-break moment for the line. While the new story at the lead of Teen Titans Giant by Dan Jurgens and Scot Eaton has been running since #1, the true “main event” new stories of the line arrived in this month’s issues of Superman Giant and Batman Giant. First, there was the debut of Tom King and Andy Kubert’s “Up In The Sky” arc, which saw Superman learn of aliens kidnapping a little girl who happens to idolize him and grapple whether or not he should leave Earth to find her. It’s perfectly fine, if a little table-setting-y as opposed to jumping straight into action, but like with the bulk of King’s DC work, it’s the longform game that matters.
The real test, as far as most are concerned, is this month’s first chapter of “Batman Universe” by Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington. Bendis not only shocked the comics world by jumping exclusively to DC after two decades and change at Marvel, but by taking over both of Superman’s main titles.
Given his noir-soaked body of work, many were expecting he’d take over Detective Comics or a similar Batman title. Having him end Derington — an instant star, after his and Gerard Way’s relaunching of Doom Patrol for Young Animal — not only tackle Batman together, but in the pages of a magazine sold at the biggest of the big-box stores in the world, speaks volumes as to the amount of confidence DC has in them.
Was all that hype worth it? Well, frankly, yes. Despite only having 10 pages to work with, the first chapter of “Batman Universe” sets up an intriguing mystery that leaves the reader wanting more.
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