No, you’re seeing things right. DC actually released Part 4 of the “First Contact” saga 3 weeks ahead of Part 3’s on-sale date. When I brought this up on last Sunday’s “Upcoming Comics” article I asked if you all wanted me to review this now or wait until Part 3 came out and to my surprise you unanimously said you wanted a review now. Of course, skipping a chapter is definitely going to make anyone a bit confused and more than likely view the comic in a negative light. The best case scenario would have been that I would get a few pages in, realize that this is amazing, stop myself from reading more, and post an article telling you all to hold your horses and that I’d review this thing in full when I was good and ready. That didn’t happen.

Quite simply: I would not recommend you buy this comic and I would not recommend you buy Batman/Superman #9 either. Let’s face it, if it wasn’t worth the effort of releasing it on time (DC has no problem delaying Justice League, Forever Evil, and Nightwing this month to ensure story flows properly)  then it must not be worth buying. And judging by what I saw in this comic it really doesn’t appear as though all that much happened in Part 3 anyway besides Superman getting some kind of armor to help him with the nannites (which are still left unresolved by the end of the comic with Power Girl snidely saying to Superman “Good luck with that”) and all four heroes reuniting again at some sort of Stargate to Earth 2, the only set piece in Worlds’ Finest #21.

Most of the comic is spent with everyone arguing in front of a big blue portal as Gamorra, our forgettable villain, tries to convince Kara to cross over to the other universe. It essentially plays out like this:

  • Should we go through the portal?
  • No!
  • Yes.
  • Eh…maybe.
  • No!
  • Yes?
  • No.
  • Ah, s*** we should’ve totally gone through the portal!
  • Superman still has robots in his body? That sucks, lol!

The important thing is that someone wants Kara to return home– is it Darkseid? Someone else? A friend? A foe? The suspense of not knowing who is on the other side of the portal plays a big part in the finale, but it’s a surprise reveal that’s spoiled on the very cover of the comic itself, thus making the lead-up exceedingly dull! And unless you actually read the ongoing Earth 2 title by Tom Taylor, well, the appearance of Earth 2’s evil Superman will be meaningless and confusing.

Some action is sprinkled in at the beginning and end to keep readers awake, but it isn’t enough and it isn’t well illustrated. Our first brawl is a brief one between Power Girl and Huntress where Huntress kicks Power Girl in the face to stop her from entering the portal– how she’s able to do this when Kara is a Kryptonian (perhaps its explained in part 3, but even if she’s weakened a little… I just don’t see it turning out well for Helena’s ankle) alludes me. The big climactic fight featuring actual villains is little more than a bout with 2 parademons– not the most thrilling conflict when you have 4 superheroes in the room. Of course, had writer Paul Levitz inserted the added drama of Superman and Batman knowing that Parademons are really mutated, innocent civilians (as they learned at the end of the first arc of Geoff Johns’ Justice League) then it might have been more difficult to subdue the monsters without killing them. Nevertheless, Batman, Superman, and Huntress show no hesitation when it comes to killing the infamous soldiers of Apokolips. In fact, in a supremely uncharacteristic moment, Batman fist-bumps Huntress after the two successfully snap the neck of their enemy.

One of the worst aspects of the comic is definitely the artwork by R.B. Silva. It’s inconsistent from page to page, the backgrounds lack any detail, action sequences are lifeless, and Superman and even some of the ladies appear to be growing jowls in some panels. It’s a hideous book and it’ll look particularly bad in a collected edition when readers have to transition from Lee’s style to this.

I’d give the comic a 1/10, but since Part 3 could potentially supply the necessary info to make certain scenes here more entertaining I’ll give it a 2, but no more than that. It would take a pretty spectacular performance by Pak and Lee in Part 3 to make this conclusion worth a re-read.

Recommended If…

  • You’re a longtime fan of the Worlds’ Finest series
  • You keep up with what’s been going on in the Earth 2 series
  • You plan on buying Part 3 when it comes out anyway and are determined to own the entire saga

Overall

The artwork is bad, the action is boring, and the story itself is dull. While releasing Part 4 first was a big mistake on DC’s part, it at least lets readers know that they can save $4 bucks 3 weeks from now when Part 3 finally comes out. Why bother with a penultimate chapter when it all leads to such a forgettable finale? Skip it. Skip it all.

SCORE: 2/10