Monday, August 22, 2022

Review: World's Finest #6

Batman Superman World's Finest #6 came out last week and was another excellent issue in this title, continuing the classic DCU feel that the first arc had.

Writer Mark Waid wraps up the one major outstanding plot thread, Robin being lost in time, in this one issue. It really is a rest issue giving Waid the opportunity to put Dick in the main role. No surprise, Waid has an excellent feel for Robin's voice. We are placed into a mystery in a circus ... what better plot and setting can you get for Dick ... and we see Robin be the star. Yes, Superman and Batman show up. But this is Robin's tale. Still, everyone gets to sparkle a little here.

Travis Moore is on art and brings a softer or more shaded style than Dan Mora did in the earlier issues. It works well for a story set even farther in the past than whatever time the main story is set in. And Moore has to stretch some legs drawing circus tents and big cats. Dan Mora is a huge talent and I can only hope he returns to the title. His work on the cover is fantastic. On first blush it looks like Robin is simply standing in the spotlight, arms out. But on closer look, the actual orientation of this upside down. Dick is plummeting from the highwire, the circus tent above. That makes the smile and confident look that much more meaningful. And having Batman on a tightrope and Superman floating above (or below depending how you're holding things) is bonus.

As this is a Supergirl blog, I'd be remiss if I didn't also showcase this variant cover by Terry Dodson showing us another World's Finest, Kara and Babs. I'm lucky that my LCS knew I'd want this and put it aside.

On to the book.

Robin is lost in time. Luckily, he finds his way to an old time circus and is able to join as an acrobat.

We are thrust into a mystery right from the beginning. Three circus hands have recently been hired, all purportedly on the run from the police. Two have them have been killed. One by the circus bear (which was then euthanized). And now the second one supposedly gored by the group's lion. But Dick knows better. The lion isn't covered in enough blood to have killed the man. And the neat blood on the claws isn't even human (as scientifically proven by Dick). The prime suspect is the third hire, perhaps trying to scoop up all the shares of whatever ill-gotten gains there are.

Our hero won't let an innocent animal be killed so he swoops in.

It is fun to see Robin be the detective here, using modern techniques in the past to make prove the lion isn't the killer. And this is a nice action pose. You can see just how ready this sidekick is to being his own hero.

But the mystery has to wait as the show must go on.

I love Waid's words here as Dick remembers his prior life and his parents as he swings on the trapeze.

He clearly loves his family.

But then, in a nice storytelling moment, Batman is on the other trapeze and literally catches Dick. That is a nice little physical moment that shows what Bruce did for Dick. He caught him and helped him keep going. Nice word/art play there.

And we get a two page spread of the dynamic duo flipping and working the crowd.

It is clear. These two are chums. It all feels classic.

Batman says that the heroes realized they needed to find Dick and so used Supergirl's trick of ion vision (she used it to track the Warriors of Ji) to find when Dick landed. And knowing Dick, they knew he'd head to Nehzu's tomb and leave a message there. They tracked him to the circus.

It is a pity that Kara, who felt so guilty for losing Robin in the first place, didn't go with them. Waid gives some excuse how she felt wrong going. But you think she'd want to be in the rescue.

Given the fun backstory we got between the young heroes, I hope we see them reunite at some future point in the book.

As for Superman, he is hiding in plain sight in the circus as the new strongman.

Moore gives us the beefcake, for sure.

But given how the 'trunks outside' look was inspired by circus strongmen, I love this. Great nod by Waid.

Dick tries to implicate the third new hire but then a fire breaks out during a show and we see the scoundrel locked in the cage with the lion. It is up to the caped crusaders to save him while Superman deals with the fire.

Really great art here, especially the Superman stuff.

I won't give away the solution to the mystery but it wraps up nicely. The bad guy would have gotten away with it if it weren't for that meddling Grayson kid.

With the mystery solved and the circus moving on, it is time for our heroes to head back to the future.

Such a great ending panel showing the world's finest crew, smiling and standing arm in arm. Dick knows he belongs there, with them.

After the high stakes drama and intense action of the first five issues, this was a welcome rest issue. I love that Robin got a 'sort of' solo issue. I hope this format is carried forward with some adjunct member of the Bat/Super family involved in the story getting a time to shine. Yes, I am asking for a Supergirl issue in 6 months. 

But I smiled throughout this issue while I read it. This read like the Dick Grayson I grew up reading.

Overall grade: B+


John (somewhere in England) said...

I enjoyed this issue too. With regard to Supergirl's fear that she may have triggered the time storm, perhaps she's right and knows or suspects something the others don't. There could be another Supergirl story in the making here.

Martin Gray said...

Top review Anj, this comic is such a treat. I enjoyed the art especially. But yes, the absence of Supergirl was a real pity, and doesn’t strike me as true to her character.

Anonymous said...

Grayson was so well handled here, as a sleuth, masked crimefighter and an authentic circus veteran, that I forgave the somewhat clumsy “self benching” by Supergirl. If Mark Waid can do all this for Robin the Boy Wonder, I can but imagine what he can do for: Supergirl, The Last Daughter of Krypton :)

Anj said...

I like the idea that Supergirl might know something more.
I do hope we see more of her in this book as her presence here was fantastic.

Love Robin here.

Thanks for comments.

Anonymous said...

Yeah normally I can take or leave Robin the Boy Wonder, but Waid made him really interesting in a good old fashioned one and done page turner. It would be funny maybe if Kara was holding something back out of embarrassment “I shoulda taken that left at Albuquerque” ...somto speak.
Cause given their history it’d be funny if she felt honor bound to apologize to Grayson...