Justice League: Last Ride # 4 explains the tragic circumstances that created a wedge between Batman and Superman and shattered the duo’s trust forever.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League: Last Ride # 4, available now from DC Comics.
The cynical and calculated nature of the Dark Knight has always clashed with Superman’s more optimistic approach. But, the two heroes are usually able to put their differences aside in their quest for truth and justice. Unfortunately, the events of Justice League: last round seem to have driven the wedge between Batman and Superman. This time, the tension between the two heroes risks turning out to be irreconcilable.
Justice League: last round # 4, by Chip Zdarsky, Miguel Mendonca, Enrica Angiolini and Andworld Design, includes a flashback to the tragic death of Martian Manhunter. The only way to stop Darkseid from attacking Earth with nuclear weapons was to shut down Apokolips’ power source. Batman was able to do much of the work remotely, but still needed someone to manually open the safety hatch. Wonder Woman was wounded in combat and rendered unable to travel quickly, and Superman was busy fighting Darkseid on Oa, so Martian Manhunter volunteered for the dangerous task knowing the fire from the hatch would kill him.
Superman begged Batman not to let J’onn go and even left the battle on Oa in an attempt to stop his friend from sacrificing himself. Unfortunately, he failed to reach Apokolips in time, and Martian Manhunter died saving the world. Since then, Superman has held back their friend’s death against Batman. He blames the master strategist for letting a member of the Justice League die. The Man of Steel seems to think Batman should have been better prepared and J’onn’s sacrifice could have been avoided.
Batman seems to share Superman’s feelings. Before saying goodbye to J’onn, he apologized for not finding another way to stop Darkseid. The hooded crusader clings to his guilt long after his comrade’s death: while speaking with Green Lantern, he continues to blame himself, saying “I should have been two steps ahead”. Batman’s shame over the situation makes it difficult for him to defend himself against the angry and accusatory Superman. And the two heroes are too stubborn to accept their teammates’ attempts at mediation or forgiveness, which leaves the future of their friendship and working relationship in dire straits.
In their conversation, Hal Jordan is quick to point out that Superman also blames himself for the tragic results of the Justice League battle with Darkseid. Superman clearly wishes he had walked the distance between Oa and Apokolips quickly enough to save Martian Manhunter. But, it’s also worth noting that if Superman had stuck to Batman’s plan and stayed on Oa, he could have helped the Green Lantern save countless lives and the planet from a tragic fate. In some ways, Superman’s impulsive decision had far more serious consequences than Batman’s.
The entire Justice League is still struggling to heal from the trauma of their fight against Darkseid. As the audience learns more about the battle, it’s clear mistakes were made by both Batman and Superman, but the rest of their team seem more than willing to make an effort to move on and heal. in Group. Sadly, Superman appears to be too stubborn and too hurt to do the same. Her faith in Batman has dramatically diminished, and the two clash even more than usual. Their relationship appears to be yet another casualty of their war with Apokolips’ forces.
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