caption=Cover of "Superman/Batman" #8 (May, 2004). Art by Michael Turner.
date= October 2003 onwards
issues=50 +2 Annuals
Jeph Loeb(#1-25) Sam Loeb(#26) Mark Verheiden(#27-36) Alan Burnett(#37-42)
Joe Kelly (Annual #1-2)
Dan Abnettand Andy Lanning(#43)
Michael Green (#43-50)
Ed McGuiness(#1-6, 20-25, Annual #1) Pat Lee(#7, #34-36)
Michael Turner (#8-13)
Carlos Pacheco(#14-18) Ian Churchill(#19) Kevin Maguire(#27) Ethan Van Sciver(#28-31) Matthew Clark(#32-33)
Dustin Nguyen (#37-42)
Ryan Ottley(Annual #1)
Sean Murphy (Annual #1)
Carlo Barberi(Annual #1) Scott Kolins(Annual #2) Mike McKone(#43) Shane Davis(#44-49) Ed Benes(#50)
Matt “Batt” Banning (#44-49)
TPB4=Enemies Among Us
"Superman/Batman" is a monthly
comic bookseries published by DC Comicsthat features the publisher's two most popular characters: Supermanand Batman. "Superman/Batman" premiered in August 2003 and is an update of the previous series " World's Finest Comics", in which Superman and Batman regularly join forces.
"Superman/Batman" explores the camaraderie, antagonism, and friendship between its titular characters. Prior to the 1985
limited series" Crisis on Infinite Earths", the two iconic characters were depicted as the best of friends. Jeph Loeb, the series' first writer, introduced a dual- narratortechnique to present the characters' often opposing viewpoints and estimations of each other, which subsequent series writers have maintained. Frank Miller's landmark series "" was the first DC story that depicts the heroes at odds with each other, as opposed to Pre-"Crisis" incarnations. This dynamic became DC Universecanon with John Byrne's "The Man of Steel", a Superman reboot published in 1986.
Much of the storylines, thus far, are independent and self-contained from the ongoing or crossover storylines in the other Batman and Superman comic titles. "Superman/Batman" #26, Loeb's final issue, features a story plotted by Jeph Loeb's son, Sam Loeb, who wrote it prior to his death from cancer in 2005 at the age of 17. Twenty-six writers and artists who knew Sam worked on the issue, donating their fees and royalties for the issue to The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund.Fact|date=September 2007
Loeb, who had great success with stories like ' and "
Superman For All Seasons", as well as being the author of the highly successful ' story, was the first writer of the series when it premiered in 2003.
In the first story arc, "Public Enemies" (issues #1-6, illustrated by
Ed McGuinness), then-U.S. President Lex Luthordeclares Superman and Batman enemies of the state, claiming that a kryptonite asteroid headed for Earth is connected to an evil plot by Superman. Luthor offers a $1 billion bounty, which encourages both supervillains and superheroes to attack. Superman almost kills Lex, with Batman standing aside. Superman changes his mind at the last moment.
Toyman, Hiro Okamura, assists with the asteroid's destruction. The danger averted and Luthor's plans in jeopardy, Luthor injects himself with a mixture of Venom and synthetic kryptonite, dons a battle suit from the planet Apokolips, and confronts Batman and Superman. Luthor is defeated and appears to die in the battle, although he is shown to survive. The fight costs Luthor his presidency.
Apparently, this story will be adapted as a direct-to-DVD movie under the
DC Universe Original Animated Moviesbanner. [http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=237]
In "The Supergirl From Krypton" (issues #8-13, illustrated by Michael Turner), the Kryptonite asteroid is revealed to hold a pod that contains Superman's cousin Kara Zor-El. Batman says her arrival is too coincidental.
Wonder Womanabducts Kara to Themyscirato train her for combat. Darkseidkidnaps Kara, intending her to be the new leader of the Female Furies. She is rescued from Darkseid and taken home. The villain follows; seemingly killing Kara. An enraged Superman throws Darkseid into the reality spanning Source Wall, entrapping him. However, Kara is back in Themyscira and is introduced to the world as Supergirl.
This story arc marked the only time in late artist Michael Turner's career that he provided interior art for a company other than
Top Cow Productionsor his own publisher Aspen MLT. [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17010]
In "Absolute Power" (issues #14-18, illustrated by
Carlos Pacheco), three time travelers eliminate members of the Justice League, except for young Superman and Batman, whom they raise as their own children. Batman and Superman are raised to be dictators of the world, eliminating all opposition and killing people who would otherwise be their friends. During a fight with the Freedom Fighters the timeline is thrown into chaos, and the two men travel through alternate timelines. Darkseid makes a deal with them in one reality to send them back through time to stop the supervillains who raised them from altering history. Superman and Batman restore history, but the murders they committed haunt them.
Issue #19 (illustrated by
Ian Churchill) is a stand-alone backdoor pilot story for the "Supergirl" series. The issue was later reprinted as "Supergirl" #0.
In "With A Vengeance!" (issues #20-25, illustrated by Ed McGuiness),
Mr. Mxyzptlkbattles the Joker, who has tricked Bat-Miteout of his powers, using other characters as their pawns. Superman and Batman fight a team of superheroes from an alternate universe called the Maximums(a pasticheof Marvel Comics' Avengers series, more specifically their incarnations from the Ultimate universe, the Ultimates). Keeping the bargain he made in "Absolute Power", Superman frees Darkseid from the Source Wall. Double-crossed, Superman becomes stuck in the wall himself. Bizarro and multiple Supergirls rescue him. Everyone so far and many more other duplicates fight in an arena before Bat-Mite escapes. The two imps tie up all loose ends with their cosmic powers.
Before he finished writing "Superman/Batman" #26, Jeph Loeb's son Sam died on
June 17, 2005at the age of 17 after a three-year battle with cancer. The issue was supposed to be Sam's DC writing debut, and was to be illustrated by Pat Lee. Jeph, along with 25 other comic book professionals and artists who had known Sam, worked on the issue, scripting or penciling individual pages. Marvel Comicsallowed John Cassadayand Joss Whedonto work on the issue despite their exclusive contracts. All 26 contributors donated their fees and royalties for the issue to The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund.
In "The Boys Are Back in Town" (issue #26), Superman and Batman send Superboy and Robin to visit the Toyman in Japan because he has not been heard from in a while. The issue was released shortly after Superboy's death in "
Infinite Crisis" #6, and Robin's eulogy of Superboy serves as both a framing sequence and as a meditation on the author's passing.
The 26 contributors to the issue:
"Sam's Story", a back-up story written by Jeph Loeb ten days after his son's death, depicts young Clark Kent's friendship with a boy named Sam who gets cancer. Tim Sale provides the art for the story in a style reminiscent of the "
Superman For All Seasons" limited series. [ [http://www.newsarama.com/dcnew/Sams_story/jeph.html Newsarama.Com: Jeph Loeb On "Sam's Story" ] ]
"Superman" writer and "Smallville" producer
Mark Verheidentook over "Superman/Batman" with issue #27.
In "Never Mind" (issue #27, illustrated by
Kevin Maguire), Superman and Batman find their minds have been transferred by Ultra-Humaniteand Brainwave into the bodies of Power Girland the Huntress, respectively. They must hurry to fix things, the women's personalities will soon reassert and kill the men's minds. The issue is presented as a dream that Power Girl has while in Kandor, alluding to events that happened on the parallel world of Earth-2 prior to the merging of the multiverse into the New Earth.
In "The Enemies Among Us" (issues #28-33, illustrated
Ethan Van Sciverfor the first four parts, with Matthew Clark picking up parts 5 and 6), Superman, Martian Manhunter and other alien superheroes are being controlled by an entity known as Blackrock.
In "A.I." (issues #34-36, illustrated by
Pat Lee), Superman and Batman are introduced to Will Magnusand his malleable, shape-shifting Metal Menfor the first time. Bruce Wayne hires the Metal Men as security guards. They go on a rampage and steal a prototype "OMAC" unit.
Known for his work on the
DC animated universeand "The Batman" television series, Alan Burnetttook over as writer of the series with issue #37.
In "Torment" (#37 to #42, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen), Superman is psychologically tortured by the Scarecrow and brought to the war planet Tartarus by
Desaad. Desaad plants a mind-controlling spike in Superman's head, and sends him to retrieve Highfather's staff from the Source Wall, which Darkseid plans to use to restore his powers, which have been steadily waning since his escape from the wall. Batman comes after Superman, but is sidetracked by Orion's wife Bekka. Both are unable to control their attraction to one another. Superman retrieves the staff, but is trapped in the Source Wall as a result. Batman and Bekka take advantage of Desaad's attempted betrayal of Darkseid to steal the staff and bring back Superman. Darkseid and Desaad flee, and Tartarus is pulled into the hole Superman made in the Source Wall when he escaped. Superman, Batman and Bekka return to Earth, bringing Scarecrow with them. Bekka is retrieved by Orion, and is later seen being killed by a shadowy assailant.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
This team filled in for one issue only.
In "Darklight" (#43, illustrated by
Mike McKone), Doctor Light infiltrates a dark matter fuel experiment on a Waynetech satellite, by creating solidgram versions of the original Teen Titansto distract the guards. He then uses the experiment's Kryptonian processor to enter the Fortress of Solitude. While Superman battles the Titan solidgrams, Batman manages to head off and defeat Light by trapping him in a Dark Matter crystal. Light is later freed by Lex Luthor, who wants him to join his new Injustice League.
Mike Johnson & Michael Green
As of issue #46, Mike Johnson joined with Michael Green to continue the series, issue #44 was the beginning of the run. They are the first writers to hold regular roles on this series since Jeph Loeb.
In "K" (#44 to #49, illustrated by
Shane Davis), Superman and Batman began a mission to collect and rid the Earth of every piece of Kryptonite, a substance lethal to Superman, which has been in great abundance since Kara's arrival earlier in this series. Along the way, Batman and Superman receive a lot of support from other heroes, including Firestorm, looking for membership in the JLA. They surprisingly also encounter some resistance, especially from the new Aquaman. This story also includes the reveal of two new variations of Kryptonite that have been also enhanced by a magical charm. One causes Superman to feel like a kid and care-free for the day, which also has implications of a drug-like effect, while the second restores him to normal. As they continue to search, they encounter the Last Line, a team run by Amanda Waller.
In "The Fathers" (#50) Whilst rebuilding Smallville following the events of K, Superman and Batman uncover a piece of Kryptonian technology that reveals that
Jor-Elcame in contact with Thomas Waynewhilst searching for an appropriate planet to send Superman to. It is revealed that Jor-El was initially hesitant to send Superman to Earth until Thomas Wayne managed to convince him.
So far, Joe Kelly's work on the series has been exclusive to the two Annuals. Both released stories have been reinterpretations of stories originally published during the Silver Age.
In "Stop Me If You've Heard This One..." (Annual #1, 2006), Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne both end up on a cruise together along with
Lois Lane. Along the way, they encounter Deathstroke(Slade Wilson), as well as the Crime Syndicate from the AntimatterUniverse which is made up of evil duplicates of the heroes. The members they face are Ultraman (Superman), Owlman (Batman), and Superwoman (Wonder Woman) whose name is Lois Lane. This is a reimagined first encounter tale that explores Superman and Batman first revealing that they in fact know each other's secret identity, and agree to team up with each other, even if they don't like how the other works.
References in pop culture
A fictional movie billboard advertising a "Superman/Batman" film appears briefly in one of the Times Square sequences, in the film "I Am Legend", along with signs adverstising the actual Broadway musicals "Wicked" and "Hairspray".
The first issue of Superman / Batman was ranked third in August 2003 period with pre-order sales of 134,135.
Marvel 1602#1 and Batman#618 was ranked 1st and 2nd respectively for that period. [cite web
title=Top 300 Comics Actual--August 2003
accessdate=2008-07-16] Superman / Batman #11 was the highest selling comic for the July 2004 with pre-order sales of 143,712. [cite web
title=Top 300 Comics Actual--July 2004
This series has been collected in the following trade paperbacks:
* [http://www.sequart.com/JLAvarious.htm The Continuity Pages: Justice League of America > Various Writers Era (2003-Present)]
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