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As the Worlds Turn
on June 9, 2009
Unlike the last two recommended Superman Batman trades, Torment and The Search for Kryptonite, this latest entry is not one complete arc but a compilation of three short stories. The first is an expanded single issue taking us on a "what if" journey, or is it, to Krypton and a possible first meeting between Thomas Wayne and Jor-El. That's followed up by a witty and amusing two part tale guest starring the L'il League, and concludes with a four part account of the mysterious swapping of powers between our intrepid heroes and the dire ramifications that arise from it. All stories work well and feature what we've come to expect and enjoy from this title, slightly over the top buddy adventures highlighted by their unique differing viewpoints. The whimsical opener is a good example of this, showcasing the duel internal monologues of Messrs. Wayne and El. In this instance however, we are referring to Thomas Wayne and Jor-El, not Bruce Wayne and Kal-El. One critique of this account worth mentioning is the disturbing implication that Thomas Wayne benefited from the arguably unethical use of Kryptonian tech to further his company's destiny. This may be tempered by the contention that his motivation was the concern of others and Gotham as a whole, but that line of reasoning is unclear. The level of quality displayed throughout is a welcome surprise, considering that most trades employing the multiple story approach tend to exhibit inconsistency, which is further compounded by their lack of import vis-à-vis lengthier tales. Graphic novels usually work best by either featuring that one major saga or conversely being comprised exclusively of single issue stories ala the Detective collections. In this case, despite the format's normal limitations, the book's proficient melding of escapist adventure, imaginative interpretations, plus a few chuckles along the way succeeds in making this yet another satisfying reading diversion starring these two illustrious icons.