I was pretty sad when Yang and Reis’ excellent run on Batman/Superman got canceled, and I highly recommend that you pick up the hardcover that collects their entire story: “The Archive of Worlds.” However, when DC announced that Waid and Mora would relaunch the title with a new #1, I was definitely intrigued. We had our first peek at this new run in Detective Comics #1050, which was pretty cool, but what about this debut issue? Is it good? Bad? Let’s have a look!
Okay, first of all, I have to point this out: the opening pages of this issue are literally the same as the backup in Detective Comics #1050. That means that the #1050 backup wasn’t a backup, but a preview, and DC made customers pay extra for that. This is a trend that needs to stop. Either create all-new content, or present preview pages for free.
Other than that, this issue is pretty fun! The art is just incredible. Mora’s character designs strike a fine balance between being somewhat cartoony and realistic. Every character is so lifelike, with great facial expressions and natural ways of moving—except for the over-the-top but totally awesome superhero action! What’s more, the layouts, for the most part, help to create smooth visual storytelling. Some pages feel lush, with fewer panels, but as the action gets more intense, the panel count increases slightly to allow for more sequential storytelling on the same page. There are a few instances where the amount of panels feels somewhat overwhelming to me, because there’s so much happening on those particular pages that it’s a little distracting. But the energy is always high, as it’s clear that Mora had a lot of fun drawing this book. Bonvillain adds a colorful, upbeat aesthetic to Mora’s confident and optimistic art, which makes for a beautiful and entertaining comic. Batman, Robin, Superman and especially Poison Ivy have never looked better.
The writing is pretty solid as well, although I have a couple complaints here and there. One thing I love about this issue is that we immediately, within the first couple pages, see Superman saving a kid while Batman and Robin are stopping Poison Ivy. From the get-go we see our heroes actively saving lives, as superheroes ought to do! This should be a given, but I seriously feel like our heroes aren’t actually saving a lot of people anymore in current publications. While I’m sure that this comic will have a couple plot twists down the road, I really appreciate this more simple and straightforward writing style. Not every comic has to be a deconstruction; it often works better to just embrace the wackiness and fun of the medium and run with it!
That’s exactly what this book does, as it has a playful and bright vibe, even when our heroes are in danger. This mainly comes from the fact that Batman is not a jerk, and that Batman, Robin and Superman really work as a team, and are fast friends as well. They care about each other and completely trust each other, and that’s exactly what we need. I’m absolutely sick and tired of this dumb Evil Superman trope, and I’m even more sick and tired of this even dumber Emo Batman trope, both of which seem to become more prevalent nowadays. Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #1 is almost an antidote to those things.
To give an example, Batman is always thinking on his feet and has a solution for everything. When he gets caught by Ivy’s plants, he has a gadget at the ready that enables him to escape. This is a Batman who comes prepared. This is a Batman that we can count on. This is a Batman that we want to root for!
Having said that, there are a few moments where the comic doesn’t succeed entirely. There’s a whole bunch of exposition, which, to me, is almost never desirable because it tends to be pretty dry unless the writer uses a really entertaining narrative voice or device. In this case, it just remains factual and boring. Penguin’s exposition is okay, because it’s very concise and economical, but later on Batman explains to Robin who the Doom Patrol members are and it reads more like a Who’s Who than a natural explanation. In both cases, it doesn’t feel like the characters are addressing each other, but the writer is addressing the reader, which breaks immersion.
Moreover, I’m not sure about the issue’s structure. About halfway through we suddenly switch to the past, and then for the final scenes we switch back to the present. I understand that the point of this is to build up tension and suspense, because we basically end on a cliffhanger before going into the past and we pick up where we left off when we return to the present. The past sequence also informs Batman and Superman’s relationship in this series, which is certainly helpful and fun. I just think that the transitions are too abrupt, like we’re cutting things off instead of fleshing everything out properly. On top of that, it’s like the issue gets more and more chaotic as it goes on, to a point that I’m hoping the creative team will slow down somewhat in the upcoming chapters.
- You need something good to replace Yang and Reis’ run.
- You are a fan of the amazing Dan Mora.
- You are in the mood for an optimistic and fun take on the World’s Finest team.
Overall: This is a very fun comic! There’s a lot going on—perhaps a bit too much—but the character work, plot and art is all very solid, with Mora and Bonvillain stealing the show. Mainly, I’m just glad that Batman and Superman are friends and have each other’s back. That is how it should be. Highly recommended!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.