Superman (Batman): Speeding Bullets Review

Title/Book: Superman: Speeding Bullets
Writer: J. M. DeMatteis
Artist:  Eduardo Barreto
Colorist: Les Dorscheid
Publisher: DC
Release Date: 1993
ISBN: 1563891174
MSRP: $4.95

An Elseworlds tale (which is DC’s version of Marvel’s “What If…?”), this book asks the question, “what if Kal-El landed in Gotham and was raised by the Waynes?”  First of all, let me assure you that this is indeed a Batman story regardless of the title.  So, the Waynes are headed out for a night on the town, when they come across a spaceship with a baby inside.  Naturally (at least “naturally” in comic book land) they decide to raise the child as their own, and everything is going just fine until that fateful night out to see Zorro.  Without spoiling the story too much, let me just say that night does not turn out well for Martha and Thomas.

All sarcasm aside, I really liked this book — as much now as when I first read it back in ’93.  The art is excellent, and the story is rock solid.  The premise (“what if Kal-El landed somewhere other than Smallville?”) is one that is used a few different times in the Elseworlds books, but that doesn’t make this book any worse for wear.  Also, the book is told from the perspective of Lois Lane, and it has an almost biographical feel.  I think it worked very well for a one-shot event like this one.

Anyone who is a comic fan has at one time or another wondered what it would be like if a heavy-weight like Superman or Thor decided to take on street crime, and Speeding Bullets gives us a taste of what that would be like.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t go as far in that direction as I would have liked.  Oh, well…I guess the College Humor explanation covers that area well enough.  By the end of the book, our hero has a believable change of heart, and we see the birth of another hero.  A very satisfying ending for an Elseworlds story, and one that keeps you wondering what would happen next.

Overall, I’d rate Superman: Speeding Bullets a solid buy if you can find it.  I liked it so much, that I’d really like to see more of this Bruce Wayne as he evolves and grows.  Too bad the chances of that are just about zero.

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  • xcv

    Actually, Marvel’s “What if..?” books are versions of DC’s “Imaginary Stories” that were written in the late 1950s and in the 1960s, I believe. “Elseworlds” is just a newer name, but has been around for awhile, now. Marvel most likely was inspired by the older ‘imaginary’ stories wrtten by DC. (Of course, all stories are imaginary which probably promted DC to give the tales another name.