November saw the release in trade paperback form of the six-issue “Search for Kryptonite” story that originally ran in Superman/Batman.  The basic premise is that Superman finally gets fed up about everyone having secret kryptonite stashes and so he decides to track down every last little bit and hurl it into the sun.  Helping him find the rocks is the world’s greatest detective.  When I first read this, I was shocked that nobody had done this before.  I mean Bats and Supes are supposed to be two of the smartest guys on Earth, but it never occurred to them to round up all the K and kick it into space?  It was about time.

The book, scripted by Michael Green and Mike Johnson, penciled by Shane Davis, and inked by Matt Banning, handles the idea in a pretty straightforward manner: Each story is about a particular challenge, and the Batman/Zatanna storyline is one of the few times I actually liked reading about Lady Z.  (The other was when she made all the supervillains forget the JLAers secret identities.)  Then again, some of this book is just plain odd—although not in a bad way, necessarily.  Aquaman acts more like Prince Namor, jealously defending the right to bear Kryptonite, but this makes him akin to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, so it’s not entirely unbelievable.  Aquaman is one of those guys whose entire personality and character seems to change based on who is writing for him.  Another highlight of the book: Supes gets loopy from the newly discovered Silver Kryptonite–a pretty funny turn of events, as he begins to hallucinate, allowing Shane Davis’ “big” art style to stretch into humorous renditions of Superman’s fellow heroes.  See below.

Be warned, though: If you’re a DC-nerd and know everything about the current continuity, this book will make you nuts.  Flash is odd, Superman’s costume is off, and Smallville concepts are included in the storyline.  (Author Michael Green is a writer for Smallville.)  Plus, in the end, there’s a big Government plot (of course—because every comic has to have one) that we’ve never really heard about before.  Despite its pedestrian plot points, though, it’s a fun read.  It’s particularly good for casual SuperBat fans, like myself, who really don’t care too much about “World Of Krypton” or “R.I.P.” and just want to see D.C.’s best and brightest doing their thing.  Younger readers will enjoy it, too, because it’s very easy to follow.  Not enough books these days offer stories that readers can get into without a playbook.

And honestly, that’s the best thing about the very uneven Superman/Batman series overall—if you like Clark and Bruce, you can find them here—without all the nonsense in Dan Didio’s D.C. Universe.  He’s got to be the worst Editor In Chief ever.  Under his watch, Teen Titans went from being one of the best books ever to being unreadable; Bruce Wayne was “killed”—but not in Batman R.I.P., a story so obtuse and badly told that it couldn’t be understood (let alone appreciated) until it was all over; Superman implausible got exiled; the Justice League, like Teen Titans, went from good to bad, and now it’s going to have Congorilla in it(!); and several major “events” were either incomprehensible (“Final Crisis”), too long (“Identity Crisis”), or pointless (will anything ever actually happen in “Blackest Night,” or is this just a long hard slog to nowhere?).

In short, Search for Kryptonite is not the best book you’ll ever read, but it’s a good stocking stuffer, especially for fans of superheroes who don’t care for the last two years of DCU implosions, uprootings, and destruction.  The real question is whether we’ll still be seeing Kryptonite turn up on Earth, or if it is, indeed, gone for good.

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