One of the reasons I hate Superman so much is that he never has any weaknesses. Even when he does though, it’s always some irradiated piece of crystal from his ancestral homeland, it’s not something anyone in the audience would be able to relate to.Speeding Bullets an Elseworlds graphic novel takes us through the moment where Kal-El crash lands but ends up in Gotham rather than Smallville or Metropolis. Instead of Ma and Pa Kent, the boy is found and brought up by the Wayne family, that’s right Bruce Wayne is Superman. Soooo Awesome.
But as a child Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered right in front of him by (usually) Joe Chill. So does the sheer fact that Kal-El’s secret identity as Bruce Wayne change that? Nope, it happens the same way except for the fact that young Bruce Wayne is shot, and it does nothing, then he flips out and uses laser eyes (a very under utilized tool of Superman) Chill right in the face and kills him. Now, for the story to carry on into the second act, they had to let this happen, but that’s also an interesting point. Superman is “faster than a speeding bullet” and still couldn’t save his parents Thomas and Martha Wayne. So, instead he commits to being Batman. With super powers.
Later Lex Luthor, hires some men to go and kill Bruce Wayne or at the very least to scare him enough to keep secluded from the real world inside Wayne Manor. Luthor then proceeds to try and take ownership of Wayne Enterprises, but at the last possible second, Wayne busts through the door and cancels the deal.
Wayne even becomes the publisher of the Gotham Gazette (In current continuity/ pre-52, he is also the publisher of the Daily Planet) and hires Perry White as Editor-In-Chief and the other top individuals in the field as a way to also have his ear close to the ground fro crime. This makes a lot of sense and then he meets Lois Lane and he turns into Clark Kent being an idiot. But it turns out that Luthor is just as conniving in this version and is planning multi-million dollar drug deals, small arms and light weapons, and nuclear options trading. So the second reason for being publisher is to bury Luthor economically and bring his facade to light in the newspaper, the Gotham Gazette.
This causes Luthor to break and reveal himself as he really is, The Joker! (Holy plot twist, Superman!) They go mano e mano over Lois and Wayne almost kills Luthor by dropping him 100,000 ft in the air.
Overall, the concept of the strongest superhero ever created being fatally as flawed as Batman actually sits alright with me. As dramatic as his powers are, there’s a counter balance of inferiority and weakness there and it makes Superman a really interesting character, knowing that he’s not just some stoic messianic figure. It’s a great story combining two different mythos like that, but it certainly leaves some things out of the equation.
Alfred and Perry are reduced to footnotes, Jim Gordon one of the best characters in either mythos is cut out completely, and the whole story is told from Lois’ perspective (even though she doesn’t even meet Bruce until about halfway into it, so you assume he told her all of that, in which case, why can’t we just have it from his perspective?) Lois isn’t even some amazing reporter, she’s just a love interest who likes the bad boy Batman, but by the very end subverts him to being Superman with grey in his costume.
Sorry that’s dumb. That means Bruce Wayne is in a Superman costume. There’s no mask or cowl. It does nothing to protect his identity, why would he ever do that? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Definitely give this a read though, I give it 3/4 stars.