Superman: Speeding Bullets


In continuing my theme from last month, with my focus on Elseworlds Superman stories, this month I will be reviewing Superman: Speeding Bullets. The premise of the story should make any Superman or Batman fan salivate with its endless possibilities, as the plot twines itself around the notion that the Wayne parents find Kal-El’s rocket, resulting in the Last Son of Krypton becoming Bruce Wayne, not Clark Kent; thus, Kal-El becomes the Batman, the ultimate-powered superhero crossed with perhaps the smartest hero (in this ’verse, anyway). I was thoroughly primed and motivated to read this book.

Now all I had to do was hunt down a copy. That should be easy enough, or so I thought. I remember fondly flipping through copies of Superman: Speeding Bullets at the local Border’s Bookstore when I was in middle school. Ten years later, it was out of print, which was the reason why Amazon did not stock it in their warehouse, though they had third-party sellers schilling it for $18.99. OUCH! That was too rich for my blood. Next, I hopped on Ebay, only to snooze through the first auction and lose it for around twelve bucks. I was pretty pissed about that. As luck would have it, I won a copy of it and Gotham by Gaslight for around nine bucks, including shipping. Sweet! About a week after the auction, my envelope arrived from Texas with my eagerly awaited books. As I took Speeding Bullets from its packaging, I was let down by how slim it was; it was only 50 pages and as I flipped through it, it didn’t look as dense as, say, Superman: Red Son, which I reviewed last month. However, after reading through it, it is pretty good, I must say.

It many ways, it is the antithesis of Red Son. This is much more a Batman book than anything else, since his antagonistic conscience is the prime motivation for the plot. Speeding Bullets develops at a more methodical, leisurely pace at times, with Bruce brooding for much of it, then rising with lustful vengeance as the Batman. There are not many real surprises in Speeding Bullet; it is pretty predictable from the get-go. The artwork is decent and appropriate, with a very dark, ink-heavy and shadowy appearance that mirrors Kal-El’s newly implanted gloom, though the overly stylized almost Knightfall style Batman costume has not weathered well since the book came out in 1993. Speeding Bullets is not a must read, but it is certainly entertaining if you can get your hands on a copy.