Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #4 review

I’ve certainly been enjoying this series, even though there was plenty to critique in the previous issues. While the character work and artwork have been solid, I think the story’s main villain has been underdeveloped. Seeing as this series’ second arc will start soon, the creative team will have to work really hard to establish who exactly our villain is and what his motivations are. Can the creative team pull this off? Let’s have a look.

I have mixed feelings about this issue. On the one hand, some of the things that are happening here are ridiculous and nonsensical. On the other hand, those same things can be very entertaining once you decide to roll with them and accept them for what they are. For example, Batman and Superman are fighting a mind-controlled Hal Jordan and, in order to defeat him, they both “will” Hal’s ring off of his finger and call it to them. I appreciate the idea that Batman and Superman, together, are an unstoppable and incorruptible force that can achieve the impossible, and I suppose that the angle that the writer is going for here is that Hal’s ring is attracted to the World’s Finest through their combined willpower. However, that isn’t how Green Lantern technology works as far as I know, and even if it is, then I think this solution to Batman and Superman’s problem is way too convenient.

What happens next is that, somehow, Batman and Superman fuse and become a “Composite Batman/Superman.” There is no explanation as to how this is possible, the plot doesn’t require them to become one entity, and the character design is over-the-top and crazy. It seems to me that the only reason this is happening is simply that the creative team thinks it’s cool. This shouldn’t even work, story-wise, except it kind of does because, despite it being utterly ridiculous, it’s also good fun. Had anyone other than Mora drawn this book, I think this little gimmick would’ve fallen flat completely, but Mora is drawing this book, and Mora can draw anything. Instead of looking dumb and off-putting, this “Composite Batman/Superman” looks like a certified badass.

That said, fun doesn’t equal good, and while this entire issue is certainly fun, there are more things going on here that I simply don’t agree with. The main one being Devil Nezha himself. Finally the character takes center stage and we see him interacting with our heroes as he monologues to them and then fights them. This is long overdue, and I think it’s a sign of bad pacing when the main villain doesn’t really get established until this late in the game. And the things that do get established aren’t very interesting. Nezha’s whole thing is that he wants to control the whole world and make humanity his army, which sounds like a pretty generic villain scheme to me. What is it that sets Nezha apart from other villains? What makes him unique? As it stands, he’s just another demon, and the most memorable quality of this character is his appearance—Mora makes him look scary and intimidating; it’s a killer design. However, Nezha himself isn’t all that intimidating. Sure, he can mind control a lot of powerful superheroes all at the same time and he doesn’t even break a sweat, but in the end all that’s required to take him down is brute force. I fully expect this dude to get back up next month (surely he can’t be defeated this easily?), but so far I don’t know why I should care about this character. In short, the main villain remains underdeveloped, and that’s a serious problem.

As a whole, this episode is action-packed and fast-paced. I think the creative team is doing a decent job juggling the different plot threads (Batman and Superman; Supergirl and Robin; and the Doom Patrol) and then bringing them back together in time for this first arc’s upcoming finale. There are a few quieter character moments sprinkled in throughout all the action to give readers a moment to catch their breath, but even with these character moments it’s still one helluva roller coaster ride. If you decide to take that ride and not focus too much on this book’s shortcomings, you’ll likely have a good time, but if you start nitpicking, you’ll likely find more than a few reasons to dislike this book.

Recommended if…

  • You like action-driven, fast-paced comics.
  • You like wacky ideas such as the “Composite Batman/Superman.”
  • You’re here for Mora and Bonvillain’s art.

Overall: This is a fun book, but I still find myself critiquing many of this book’s elements. I like that it’s action-packed and I like the adventure and the way the heroes are written. However, the main villain comes across as just another generic demon, and I’m starting to think that Waid is lucky to have Mora as his ongoing artist, because ideas such as this “Composite Batman/Superman” simply aren’t supposed to work out. Definitely grab this issue if you care about having a complete story—next month will be the first arc’s conclusion. But if you don’t care about that, I guess you could skip this one. In that case it’s probably best to wait and see what reviews say about the conclusion, because whether or not this arc is worth reading is going to depend on that conclusion a lot.

Score: 6/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.