Review by Frank Plowright
Since Superman’s 1980s reboot his relationship with Batman has never really settled beyond the frosty stage, and this collection of late 1980s teamings sets their interactions at that level. It opens, however, with a couple of homages, the first to horror cinema and the second an alternative look at the Fantastic Four.
That first teaming occurs well away from the metropolis of Metropolis as John Byrne and Art Adams twist the clichés of horror movies. It’s effectively carried out with the intrusion of Superman’s light into the darkness of the events, leading to a suitably grim conclusion. Dan Jurgens’ Fantastic Four pastiche is equally playful, but a more conventional superhero story, introducing a character with a pivotal role in the graphic novels following The Death of Superman.
As with other graphic novels collecting late 1980s and early 1990s Superman material, different creative teams guide the primary plot through their stories, while focussing on their own subplots, with Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s growing closeness running throughout. Before the title story, however, there’s the wrapping up of a plot featured in Exile, of a woman aware of Kent’s true identity. It’s not well handled by Roger Stern, first melodramatically and then dismissively. This isn’t characteristic of the era, and the consequences feed into the bigger story, but it could prove disappointing to anyone who expected the character would amount to more.
Another plot of the era was that of media mogul Morgan Edge damningly implicated in the criminal activities of Intergang. The evidence of Cat Grant is essential for a successful prosecution, and she’s therefore provided with considerable protection, some of which she’s aware of, and some of which is more covert. It could be asked why with Superman watching over her she wasn’t just stashed somewhere less conspicuous than Metropolis, and some of the villains involved are preposterous, but overall the three chapters of Batman’s visit to Superman’s home town are very satisfying.
With Adams (sample page), Dan Jurgens, Bob McLeod, and Jerry Ordway there are no problems with the art, so Dark Knight Over Metropolis remains an entertaining collection of late 1980s Superman.