The first two issues of this series have been fun, but not without flaws. I think that the creative team has an interesting angle and I think that the story, as it’s unfolding, is very entertaining. Clearly the creative team is trying to give us bang for our buck by packing each issue with adventure and action. Will that elevate this comic, or will the whole thing just crumble under its own weight? Let’s have a look.
The comic opens with Batman, Superman and Billy Batson trapped in a hell dimension. Mora draws awesome monsters that look utterly demonic and terrifying, and Bonvillain uses a lot of oranges and reds, all of which scream DANGER! While the visuals are all very striking and quite beautiful, I’m not sure about the writing in this opening sequence. I think the way Waid writes Superman is fine, but for some reason Batman seems to be in panic mode, which just isn’t very Batman-like. I wonder why he isn’t more focused and in control. Even if this is a somewhat younger Bruce Wayne, earlier in his career, I don’t think that Bruce would panic the way he does here. It seems to get in the way of his effectiveness. That’s not Batman. Not to me.
Some of the dialogue in the early pages sounds a bit off as well. For example, Batman states that Superman doesn’t believe in hell, but there’s no elaboration on this whatsoever. Why does Superman not believe in hell? He’s literally been to hell in past publications (the one that immediately comes to mind being The Legend of the Green Flame). Sure, you could argue that that’s not in continuity…except it is. Everything matters now, remember? Not to mention that hell is an actual location in the DC Universe. In a world where gods and demons and devils exist, I always find it odd when a superhero supposedly doesn’t believe in any of those things, even after having interacted with them personally.
Here’s another example of dialogue that sounds off to me. Superman uses a Batarang to defeat someone, and Bruce tells him, “Nice throw, by the way. You should have gone pro.” If it was Dick that said this, I would have no issue with it whatsoever, but this simply doesn’t sound like Bruce at all. In fact, most of the characters in this comic seem to have a kind of upbeat, optimistic attitude and, while that is fine in itself, it can result in different characters sounding too similar at times.
Another thing to bear in mind is that this story draws from Doom Patrol history. Those who aren’t as familiar with Doom Patrol might, for example, end up wondering who Methuselah is exactly. I don’t think that this lack of knowledge should really get in the way of your enjoyment of the comic, but you should know that Waid continues to rely heavily on exposition to fill in these gaps for new readers. When we reach the end of the Doom Patrol scene, we move on to Robin and Supergirl’s scene, and there is even more exposition, about a totally different topic. So, we’re three issues in and the writer is still having to explain a lot of stuff, which tells me that we’re still in a setup phase. It makes for a strange reading experience because even though things are still being established, we do get a lot of action.
See, there’s just so much going on in this issue! We follow Batman and Superman; we follow the Doom Patrol; and we follow Robin and Supergirl—all of them are separate teams. At times the comic can feel a bit all over the place because of that, but I’d say that, in general, the comic’s still fairly balanced, and the abundance of content presents us with some fun twists and turns along the way. It’s almost paradoxical how Waid has to use so much exposition to set things up while simultaneously managing to blast through these episodes with a steady pace.
I wouldn’t say that this comic’s rushed, necessarily, but I will say that perhaps a little less content and fewer characters and a more focused narrative core would have made for a less rambly, more streamlined reading experience, especially since I’m not quite sure why the Doom Patrol, for example, has be in this story. Why isn’t this something that Batman, Superman, Robin and Supergirl can solve, just the four of them? Why does the creative team feel the need to go overboard?
Finally, Devil Nezha is talked about a lot but he doesn’t get much panel time. Despite getting a whole bunch of exposition about the character, I’m not at all impressed with this devil yet. Mora and Bonvillain make him look amazing—he’s intimidating and scary. But for all the exposition that we get, I feel like we’ve barely seen Nezha in action, and until we do, I don’t know how seriously I’m supposed to take him as a threat. Some show, don’t tell should be in order here. This is a visual medium, after all!
- You love upbeat adventure comics.
- You like team books.
- You are a Doom Patrol fan.
Overall: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #3 is definitely a fun comic, but I think that the creative team is trying to do too much with a limited page count. I think the exposition could be greatly reduced if the content was reduced, so that the possibility for a more focused and tighter narrative arises. That said, this book is action-packed and the artwork is simply incredible. Despite its flaws, I think that fans of these characters will be entertained for sure!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.