After two issues of Superman Confidential, I can safely say that it is totally awesome. I knew there was no chance that a Darwyn Cooke/Tim Sale team-up would suck. My stance on re-visiting the early years of super heroes is that they are good for both new readers and hardcore fans. Especially at a time where DC's biggest heroes are returning to the screen, it's good to welcome potential fans who may feel intimidated by comic books. Because, let's face it, getting into comics is daunting. Superman: Birthright was a smart thing for DC to release at a time where Smallville, a fantastic marketing tool for reaching a new generation of potential comic book readers (in particular, female comic book readers), was one of the most popular teen shows on television. And the Confidential series are smart things to start up after the popularity of Batman Begins and Superman Returns.
So anyway. Superman Confidential is great. Cooke's retro story telling compliments Sale's retro artwork nicely. Superman is just plain adorable in this series. I think the below page illustrates that better than any (just after Superman finishes a potentially life-threatening battle with a volcano that leaves him a little shaken):
Awwwww. Man, that's the cutest Superman I've ever seen.
Moving on. Batman Confidential is looking pretty terrible so far. It's supposed to replace Legends of the Dark Knight, which is kind of too bad because that series was a lot of fun. A real mouthful, but a lot of fun.
And why is it that we can't get a decent Batman series off the ground? All-Star Superman totally rules. All-Star Batman and Robin...well. You know. Kind of the worst thing in comic book history. And I am counting that comic where Superman teamed up with the Quik Bunny.
Let's have a look at Batman Confidential:
Aaaaaaahhhhh!!! That's not Bruce Wayne! THAT'S NOT BRUCE WAYNE!!! That's Steve Buscemi. If he were kept in a jar of vinegar for seven months. Jesus lord...
Now I have to look at some panels from Dave Gibbons' Worlds Finest book to get that image out of my mind.
Ahhh. Now there's some cute Batman. Look at the way he kneels on that chair! And the way he buckles his belt! Adorable!
In Batman: Confidential Bruce is also shown handling the gun that killed his parents. He explains to Alfred (and to me, since I wondered about it while reading stupid, stupid Batman: Year Two) that he got if from the police after they were done using as evidence. Right.
The other thing that separates the Superman and Batman Confidentials, besides good writing and good art, is that the Superman story is about something interesting. It's going to be Superman's first encounter with Kryptonite. I like it. Batman's story is...wait for it...how he got all his gadgets. My guess: WayneTech. I mean, really, however did a billionaire scientist end up with all those cool toys? I can't imagine.
I also like that Superman is set in what looks something like the past. Whereas Batman seems to be set in the future. And that's just confusing. If one of the goals of these series is to attract new readers, and I think it should be, then maybe you should make the story make as much sense as possible. And maybe make it not suck.