At this point in comics publishing, Batman and Superman are like chocolate and peanut butter. Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #1 takes that and adds some legendary creators for one hell of a package.
Comics legend Mark Waid returns to DC Comics and joins forces with Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillain, and Aditya Bidihar for this new launch. It’s a heavy dose of nostalgia with an interesting throughline.
When Superman and Batman’s enemies start teaming up, the world’s finest duo are on hand to stop them. A mysterious new foe may be behind the team up though, one with enough power to stop both heroes. And right away, it might be enough to end Superman’s life!
One could pick up this book and look at it as an artist showcase. It doesn’t matter what the story is or who’s writing it. Mora and Bonvillain make it best looking comic book I’ve picked up in a long time. Mora’s lines are clean, his action is dynamic and he knows how to put a splash page together in a way that jumps off the page. Not a single panel isn’t filled with movement or energy. The characters are larger than life, and he makes that feel like modern myth.
Working over Mora’s pencils brings out the best in Bonvillain’s colors. She matches the mood of each scene and uses color to draw the eye to the most important part of the image. The sickly green glow of Kryptonite is easily one of the highlights of her work on the book. She makes the glow feel off and unnatural, and in the first few pages, she’s set a tone for other moments like that, grounding the series in a world more fantastic than ours.
Bidihar’s letters looks great. Their sound effects are fantastic, and they make the dialogue stand out. It’s just as dynamic as the line-work, and really contributes to the quality of the overall book.
There are two sides to the story though. On the surface level, this is a very good, maybe even great story set in the middle of the heroes’ histories- not quite year one, but not modern by any means. Waid’s Superman is majestic and noble, but he makes Clark relatable and down to earth. His depiction of Batman and Robin is incredibly classic and he makes them feel like a partnership in a way that not a lot of creators understand.
While the character work is outstanding, the plot is overly familiar. We see glimpses of stories like Hush, and Public Enemies. A few of the elements are similar to Waid’s own Tower of Babel. If the story was set in the present, maybe it wouldn’t be so glaring, but instead it just reminds us of these other stories, regardless of whether Waid’s writing is better than these other stories.
This is a very good book, maybe even great, and would have been tons better if had forged its own path instead of looking backwards.
Batman/Superman: World Finest #1 is available now from DC Comics.
A great story that could have been better if it wasn’t so preoccupied with the past. The art in this absolutely can’t be missed.