“Um, what?” I muttered, having finished “Superman/Batman” #64. I didn’t quite understand the point of the comic I had just read and still don’t. Is this a lead-in to a crossover or event or regular story? What is this? The title of this comic is “Prelude to the Big Noise: Three Months Away,” but no indication of what that means —- in this issue or from DC —- has been given. Of course, that wouldn’t be that large a problem if this issue was a good read, but it’s not. It literally reads as a prelude to a larger story, one that could be coming at some point in the future... possibly... maybe?
Beginning “several millennia ago,” the issue begins with a space battle between a Kryptonian ship and another ship in its fleet that’s been hijacked by invaders. In the fight, the hijacked ship is damaged severely and engages its engines within the gravity field of a planet, which makes it disappear. We’re told that it’s not a question of where it will appear but when. Jump ahead to more recent times as Batman and Superman investigate the seemingly abandoned, run down ship of unknown origin only to discover its Kryptonian ties.
Those ties make for the issue’s most interesting subject matter as the ship hails from a period in Krypton’s past that Superman is not aware of. Krypton, as Superman knew it, was a place of peace and science, so learning that, before that utopian-like society came into being, Krypton was more violent and had conflicts with other species gives Kryptonians a wider, deeper history. It also adds more context to the current “World of New Krypton” story going on in the main titles.
Aside from that revelation, this issue is all set up to a story that may occur in the coming months, but is vague and not all that original. The interaction between Batman and Superman reveals little, and there’s not much conflict during their search of the ship aside from some Kryptonian security robots that don’t come across as much of a threat.
Scott Kolins’ art is the best thing about this issue as his style is crisp and energetic. Since Kolins is an unannounced change from the scheduled artist, we can assume that this art was done quicker than usual and that lack of methodical detail helps. Kolins focuses strictly on getting the ideas of the story across and that back-to-basics approach really works for him. It looks, in place, as a cross between the square-jaw style of the Warner animated series versions of the characters and Jack Kirby. Though, the choice to make ancient Kryptonian spaceships look like Star Destroyers doesn’t come together completely.
Maybe now that this issue is out, we’ll find out what “The Big Noise” is, but, until then, this comic is a bit of a mystery -— and not a compelling one.