Monday, May 23, 2022

Review: World's Finest #3

World's Finest #3 came out last week and was just another wonderful issue of  super-hero action and character moments. I don't know if I'll be able to easily explain why this works but it just feels like all the fun and insane brilliance of the Bronze Age but polished up for the current world. 

Writer Mark Waid has such easy grasp of character voices. His Superman and Batman are best buddies and trust each other. His Robin  is young and brash. His Supergirl is intelligent and pro-active. But this is also some sort of tour through the DCU. We get the Doom Patrol and their old enemy General Immortus. We have a very classic Wonder Woman battling Dr. Alchemy. The Flash is battling the Mirror Master. And we get a couple of surprises at the end. While Batman and Superman are the hub of the book, this truly is a DC adventure. 

Dan Mora's art is just as important to the story. Every page is beautiful. I love the fact that we get to see Mora's take on so much of the DCU. With every guest star I keep thinking 'DC should put Mora on that book when he leaves World's Finest. I especially love his take on Supergirl and her Crisis-era costume. She looks like a young, healthy, determined, athletic woman. His action pages also sizzle. 

The Devil Nezha story takes a nice bump forward with us learning how the House of Ji defeated him in the past. Given the scope of Waid's writing, I think there is a clue there. Let the guesses start!

On to the book.

Last issue ended with Felix Faust sending Batman and Billy Batson to Hell. 

Batman cries out for help and Superman arrives, throwing a batarang into Faust's shoulder and breaking the realistic illusion. 

It is pretty interesting to see Batman crying out in pain and asking for help. For so long we have seen the steel-faced Batman who needs no help, has a back-up plan for everything, and isn't fazed by anything. I don't think I need Batman to be able to stand up to Darkseid. So seeing him here, acting a bit more human, taken in by the spell's illusion was great. Humanizing Batman actually makes him stronger because it makes his feats that much more incredible.

Superman knew it was all an illusion and tuned out the visuals, listening for Faust's heartbeat.

But I don't know if I believe that Superman doesn't believe in Hell. Of course, who knows exactly when this story takes place. Has Superman met the Spectre? Fought Neron? Met and fought Asmodel?

Meanwhile, the Doom Patrol heads to Immortus to see what he knows about Nezha's burial site.

In a brilliant idea, the Patrol finds Immortus to be senile, tending plants, and not even remembering them. I mean, there is a difference between not dying and not aging. Immortus might not die. But looks like he'll age ... and not gracefully. 

In a moment of clarity, he is able to remember that Nezha's tomb is on an island off of Corto Maltese. As usual, Mora's take on the classic Doom Patrol is amazing.

Back in the past, Supergirl and Robin are hoping to get intel on Nezha from the House of Ji. How did they trap Nezha?

The group is a quartet with each member controlling one element: fire, water, air, and earth.

Here Kongqi, the commander of winds, tries to smother Supergirl. That won't work of course and Kara turns the tables. I love Mora's Kara, first deflecting the attack and then turning it around. She looks confident and powerful.

Then Diqiu, the Earth defender, simply pulls her to the ground with gravity, initially keeping her pinned.

Thankfully, Robin convinces them that the two aren't allied with Nezha but are trying to fight him. Supergirl is released.

I love this panel by Mora. You can feel that gasp as Kara finally is freed and takes in a breath. Oh yeah, and bike shorts make an appearance! This is fantastic! This is a Kara serious about her business!

The House of Ji says it took all their powers to force Nezha into his tomb and seal him their.

Seriously, I hope we get more Dick/Kara adventures in this book. They both look great. 

Mora really gives is the beautiful Supergirl. She looks quite natural And love the ringlets in the hair!

Back in the 'present', Nezha has recruited Mirror Master to fight the Flash and Dr. Alchemy to face off against Wonder Woman. Both villains are doing a decent job until Superman and Batman arrive to help out.

Look at this attack, Wonder Woman turned to clay by Dr. Alchemy because she was once Earth. Now that is some old school Diana there. She hasn't been formed from clay since the New 52. So is this a pre-Crisis continuity? Or just somewhen in the current world?

I, for one, prefer the magic clay origin more than the 'daughter of Zeus' bit. Zeus has a lot of kids. There was only one Diana brought to life from Hippolyta's love.

Unfortunately the Flash is trapped behind a mirror trap. But before Superman can also be pushed through, he foils the trap and beats Dr. Alchemy at the same time.

But then things go sideways.

It looks like Green Lantern has fallen under the sway of Nezha. Interesting choice of the first trip to be turned.

But how does Nezha know so much about the current times?

Well it looks like there is another person under the devil's influence ... Alfred!

Now those are two great cliffhangers!

Such a great issue.

The discussion about the House of Ji and their elemental powers make me wonder if the heroes will need some sort of version in the now to defeat Nezha. Maybe Firehawk for fire? Red Tornado for Air? Mera for water? Geo-Force for earth? You'd think one of the World's Finest would need to be part of it but maybe they seal the tomb once some group forces him in?

Who would be your elemental squad?

Anyways, I love this book. I love this art. I want more.

Overall grade: A


Steve said...

Green Fury, Red Tornado, Blok, and Mera are my choices. I'll leave it up to Waid to figure out how to get Blok there.

Martin Gray said...

Oh, I like your theory about a squad of DC elementals being called in. Firehawk, Red Tornado and Geo-Force would be great. For the water elemental, I’d bring back Naiad, I don’t think I’ve seen her since that initial Firestorm storyline.

The Hal reveal was unfortunate in that it totally echoed a surprise ending about three months back in another DC title, so when he shows up I though, o-ho! Still, we’ll see where the story goes!

John (somewhere in England) said...

With regard to Steve's comment above, I'd love to see the Legion of Super Heroes in this comic. After all, Supergirl took Robin through the time barrier effortlessly, so why not another time-travelling plot or sub-plot involving the Legion? Alternatively, the pre-Legion, 21st century Mon-el could make a guest appearance. I know Mark Waid is a big fan of the Legion (and Mon-el is one of his favourite legionnaires) so there is reason to be hopeful.

In the meantime, the portrayal of Supergirl and Robin in particular is superb, as is the dialogue between them. Three brilliant issues so far.

Anonymous said...

The writing here is both funny and very crisp, great cliffhanger as well, I hardly seem to notice that Supergirl spent the bulk of the issue flat on her back :j
Oh and the “bicycle pants” are back, which are an indicator that Supergirl is being well written plus they are also a mirthful trigger for cringeworthy social media “win-win” IMHO.
Also loved seeing Green Lantern getting jobbed out like he was...Supergirl or something:) Seems to be a pattern with him this year :)
So far I am loving this book.


Anj said...

Thanks for great comments.

Interesting to see GL so easily consumed. But if he is on the road to Parallax maybe makes sense.

Would love to see a Legionnaire in here.

And while Supergirl was being crushed for much of the issue, she still is being handled incredibly well. Hope for more.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

The comments on Green Lantern made me take another look at his appearance here and I realized that Hal Jordan is wearing his costume as it appeared in Showcase 22-24, and in the first 36 issues of Green Lantern. The shoulders are all black, with the green part looking something like a men's bathing suit from the early 1900s. But starting with Green Lantern # 37 (July 1965), Gil Kane made a slight change, and the green part now came up over the shoulders. There was no explanation given for the change, although I seem to remember a reader speculating that it meant that Hal Jordan had moved up in rank in the Green Lantern Corps, like a soldier getting an extra stripe or decoration. Whether that became an "official" explanation, I don't know.

So we have Supergirl wearing her pre-crisis costume (although the belt is wider than the way Carmine Infantino drew it), and Green Lantern wearing an earlier version of his costume. It looks like The Flash is in his Silver Age costume, although to be accurate, his belt should just circle the waist and not come to a point in the front.

This is all trivia, and may be nothing more than artistic preference on Dan Mora's part. But Mark Waid knows his comics history, and I wonder if there may be more to it. Guess we'll find out soon enough.