Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #21 review

“Heir to the Kingdom” continues! Last month Thunderman viciously attacked Superman, and this month the second chapter picks up where the first left off. Can Batman and Superman save Thunderman, or has Thunderman gone to the dark side completely? And what happens when Batman and Superman run into their Kingdom Come counterparts? Last but not least, does the creative team deliver? Let’s have a look.

What I like about this arc, so far, is that it fleshes out the world of Kingdom Come beyond the original comic, since we get to see events that happened several years prior to the original story. However, at the same time the creative team doesn’t seem to fully commit to that yet, since issue #21 is almost entirely a fight comic. As a result, there’s not as much room for plot development, character development or world building as I would like.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course. Mora and Bonvillain—like always—fire on all cylinders as they render these fight scenes. I particularly love the speed lines that Mora draws to indicate just how hard the two Batmen are striking at each other, and the impact of Thunderman’s powers as well as the strikes of each Superman are literally earth-shattering. To really sell a superhero fight comic, these are exactly the type of visuals, executed at a high level like this, that the comic requires. Mora’s clean and clear page layouts and Bonvillain’s rich colors allow us to read the action sequences with ease, as every panel just flows into the next. When it comes to fight comics, I can be easily bored, but Mora and Bonvillain know how to deliver a true spectacle!

Yet, pitting different versions of the same character against each other, to me, is one of the most played-out and uninteresting concepts that any writer could come up with. Fortunately, the reason why these characters fight makes sense within the context of the story. Everyone involved cares about David/Thunderman: Main Supes and Bats are there to find him and bring him back to their own universe, whereas KC Supes and Bats want to protect their friend from these otherworldly invaders. The characters having well-defined motivations for fighting saves this comic from devolving into mandatory fisticuffs for the sake of it.

Other than that, it’s interesting that KC Bruce and Clark are still a lot like Main Bruce and Clark, but subtle differences make them stand out. The KC versions are both driven protectors, but they are misguided in that they don’t seem to realize that Thunderman is manipulating them. KC Bruce and Clark are also a lot more aggressive and ready to fight, whereas Main Bruce and Clark still try to reason with them and talk things out. It’s precise character writing in a fight comic, and I really appreciate that.

Recommended if…

  • You’re in the mood for a heavy-hitting superhero fight comic!
  • Thunderman’s schemes intrigue you.
  • You’re excited to see more of the world of Kingdom Come.
  • Mora and Bonvillain forever!

Overall: It’s a pretty good comic, but I would have liked it if there was less emphasis on hero versus hero combat and more emphasis on the mystery surrounding Thunderman. That said, the art remains absolutely fantastic and the fight scenes are an incredible spectacle. Waid also writes strong characters with clear motivations and voices, which makes this more than a mere fight comic. Recommended!

Score: 7.5/10

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