Superman/Batman Volume 2, written by Jeph Loeb and Sam Loeb ISBN 9781401250799
Five out of five stars
There is a great deal of contrary creativity in these stories that rely on alternate realities due to time travel. In the normal universe, Superman and Batman are heroes, selflessly always working to aid people and protect them from crime and injustice. In the opening story, Superman and Batman are ruthless tyrants, ruling the world with an iron fist.
This is due to three people from the future Legion of Super Heroes coming back in time to when Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne were children. These three raised Bruce and Clark to be powerful personalities, but with no regard for others. They tolerate no dissent, when people that would have been members of the Justice League stand up against their policies, Superman does not hesitate to vaporize them using his heat vision. His simple philosophy is “Obey or die.” Fortunately, history has a way of righting itself over time, so there are forces that operate to modify the alternate reality into one more familiar to the reader.
Many of the characters in the DC stable appear at some point in this collection, even Bizarro #1 and his counterpart Batzarro are part of the otherwise bizarre action. In one section the Joker, Bat-Mite and Mister Mxyzptlk are aligned to create havoc in the lives of Superman and Batman. There are several Supergirls and a Robin and Superboy that seem incapable of getting along or carrying out simple missions against the forces of darkness.
Comic book heroes are like humans, different life events at critical points can have a dramatic effect on our life. In this case the alternate universe is based on Clark’s parents not being the saintly Kents and the wealthy Bruce Wayne being raised by brutal people from the future. The inclusion of many other DC characters turns this into a story with many twists that all eventually push the universe of Superman and Batman back into its normal track. Getting there is a very entertaining read.