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“I didn’t expect you to be so old, but.. you know,” Midnighter says to Batman, “Makes sense that you would be,” in Batman/Superman Authority Special (2021). Image: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Trevor Hairsine/DC Comics

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Batman finally met his parallel universe variant who’s married to Superman

It only took an actual decade

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After nearly 10 years of existing in the same continuity, Batman and Superman have finally spent some canonical time in the same room as Midnighter and Apollo, thanks to Action Comics scribe Phillip Kennedy Johnson.

Johnson has been prepping all year for the Man of Steel to take a strike team of powerful but low profile superheroes to the planet Warworld, in order to rescue a secret group of Kryptonians who survived the planet’s destruction. This week’s Batman/Superman Authority Special picks up where Grant Morrison and Mikel Janín left off in Superman & the Authority, with a special Batman-themed side quest for Superman’s team of misfits.

Apollo and Midnighter were originally Image Comics characters who, though their origins differed significantly, were obviously, flagrantly, reflections of Batman and Superman. And they were in love.

Without context, it’s a titter-worthy amusement. But within the comics in which they appeared — and they were not one-offs! — Apollo and Midnighter were not a “breaking up and getting back together” sort of soap opera relationship, but a “If anyone messes with my husband I can and will literally rip their spine out of their body with my bare hands, also, we’ve adopted a baby” sort of relationship.

Apollo and Midnighter, along with everyone else in their Wildstorm setting, were incorporated into DC Comics canon in 2011, and while they’ve had sporadic (mostly great) appearances since then, this year is the first time they’ve actually, finally, met the characters they were meant to lightly lampoon.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Batman/Superman Authority Special

“You don’t think he’s a little overrated?” Midnighter asks Apollo. “I bet nobody breaks the las of time and space to fight an army of evil Midnighters,” Apollo replies. “Shut up, you don’t know that,” says Midnighter in Batman/Superman Authority Special (2021). Image: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Ben Templesmith/DC Comics

Midnighter’s infamous claim to fame is that he has a supercomputer in his brain that allows him to figure out the winning moves in any combat. The classic Midnighter move is to open a fight scene by smugly telling his opponent “I already know how this ends,” which is just insufferable enough to make you love him. So, of course, he spends the mission — to a world where an evil Batman took over the League of Shadows and rules with an iron fist — not so subtly trying to figure out how to establish that he could totally, totally beat Batman in a fight.

Dark Knights of Steel #1

“Bruce, I’d like to come with you,” says a peppy Prince Clark, sword at his side, red half-cape fluttering as he runs up to Prince Bruce in his dark armor. “No,” says Bruce, in Dark Knights of Steel #1 (2021). Image: Tom Taylor, Yasmine Putri/DC Comics

Speaking of alternate universe doubles, Dark Knights of Steel #1 (the DC universe but it’s a D&D-style fantasy setting) came out of the gate like the best kind of fan fiction AU: with tons of juicy potential for emotional drama. Like Batman and Superman being raised together as princely brothers. Yasmine Putri’s character designs — all pouting faces and unlaced collars — don’t hurt either.

Newburn #1

“My name is Easton Newburn,” says a middle-aged man as a young black woman points a gun at him in a dilapidated apartment, “I’m on retainer to all the major crime families in the city [...] Nobody touches me. That’s the rule. I’m a U.N. inspector wandering through a war zone,” in Newburn #1 (2021). Image: Chip Zdarsky, Jacob Phillips/Image Comics

It’s not surprise at this point that anything Chip Zdarsky starts will start strong. Newburn’s first issue is a detective tale as twisty as any great TV procedural, with a final button pointing to the series’ real hook: The aging private detective who works only for the mafia takes on an apprentice.

Arkham City: The Order of the World #2

Azrael kneels on blue-gray flagstones, his red costume with its frond-like cape spread behind him, with his own black shadow cast over it. His flaming yellow sword pops off the background as he raises it to his face in Arkham City: The Order of the World #2 (2021). Image: Dan Watters, Dani/DC Comics

In, “Man, I love this art” news, man, I still love the work artist Dani and colorist Dave Stewart are putting into Arkham City: Order of the World. Even if the story wasn’t interesting (and it is) I might still pick this up anyway.

Batman #116

Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) and Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) leap away from a bright yellow and red explosion, reflecting blue and purple off their purple and black and yellow costumes in Batman #116 (2021). Image: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad/Jorge Corona/DC Comics

The team that will soon be producing a Batgirls ongoing series took the backup story on this week’s Batman and if each issue has one panel artist Jorge Corona and colorist Sara Stern going as hard as they do in this one, I’m going to love this series even more than I anticipate. And I’m anticipating loving it a lot.


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