For years Superman has faced intellectual businessmen, power-crazed gods and unstoppable monsters, but this time, Superman’s worst nightmare finally comes into play: his own Joker. A powerful Kryptonian who not only knows all of Superman’s secrets, but is also willing to kill anyone who has ever stood by him in order to both break him and ultimately destroy him. Superman turns to Batman for help, but with this murderous super-powered madman leaving no clues behind and no leads following him, has the World’s Greatest Detective been outwitted?
The idea of Superman having his own Joker is a fascinating and unique concept that shows incredible promise at the beginning of this storyline, but in actuality, this formidable adversary is much more like Superman’s Hush more than anything else, despite the maniacal laugh he possesses. He’s a villain with a connection to Superman’s past, mainly with that of his father Jor-El, and the big bad’s interaction with him makes sense into why he is coming for Superman so viciously, even though his motive and goal is similar, darn near identical, to that of General Zod’s in both Superman II and Man of Steel. Plus, the mystery of the villain’s true identity ultimately fizzles out, and the fact he gets defeated quickly and has no proper showdown with Superman makes the whole thing somewhat anticlimactic.
Despite this, writer Greg Pak does successfully manage to create a story that’s very personal to Superman, whilst offering some more history on Krypton with the infamous bottled city of Kandor playing an important factor in the story. The story was also well paced with no sign of unnecessary padding to spread it out, the entire cast of characters show believable reactions, and it really establishes the relationship between each player. There are chunks of clunky dialogue here and there, but the story does an excellent job of keeping its momentum and surprising the audience.
There’s one memorable moment where a volunteer dresses up as Superman in order to entertain kids at a hospital and something truly shocking happens. It’s a really sad scene that carries real weight and emotion, and it’s fitting how that stays with Superman and it’s what motivates him to finding and stopping his nemesis. However, the whole resolution and ending is lacklustre as it uses the conventional deus ex machine-style device of wrapping things up and stopping the threat but done cheaply. The writers should’ve been beyond this by now.
The artwork by Ardian Syaf is simply flawless; very nicely detailed, the placing of the panels moves the story along nicely and can pretty much tell most of the story on its own without the use of words. Sandra Hope Archer and Jaime Mendoza handle ink work, while Ulises Arreola handles colouring side of things. All three contribute greatly in bringing Syaf’s drawings to life in glorious fashion.
Siege was a classic storyline where the whole is less greater than the sum of its parts, yet those parts made for some compelling storytelling, allowing us a more personal insight into Superman, why he does what he does to protect humanity, and his relationship with Batman. The ultimate enemy of the piece is somewhat disappointing by the end after a promising build-up (and unsurprising if you are die-hard Supes fan) and the resolution to the threat was lame, but it stands as a great team-up story whilst promising bigger things to come for both the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader.
BATMAN/SUPERMAN VOLUME 4: SIEGE / WRITER: GREG PAK / ARTIST: ARDIAN SYAF / PUBLISHER: DC COMICS / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 31ST