Monday, November 27, 2023

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #21

Batman/Superman World's Finest #21 came out last week and was another interesting chapter in this arc which returns us to the Kingdom Come world. Or at least I think it does. 

Our heroes have found Thunderman (former Boy Thunder) on a multiverse world which is quite dark. It looks like the Kingdom Come world. Last issue, the heroes saw that world's future, the graveyard from the gulag being bombed in Kingdom Come #4 was evident. 

From the jump, I have been worried about how this story would impact that story. How could Kingdom Come unfold if those heroes have interacted with our heroes, have heard about Thunderman's rage, that they know about a multiverse? 

I hope writer Mark Waid will be able to put the genie back into the bottle and leave this world sort of untouched. In the meantime, he is doing great work showing us how the events of that world impact the main Batman and Superman. I liked the interactions between the Batmen and Supermen. There is a killer cliffhanger. But between those ups is the down of Gog. That groan you heard was me when I see Superman bending the knee in worship. 

The art by Dan Mora remains an unbelievable high point to this book. He really crushes this whole issue from the knockdown fights to the emotional beats, to the more insane moments of Gog being summoned. Mora is just a force.

Could this whole thing be on a world that is close to the Kingdom Come world but not *THE* Kingdom Come world? Who knows.

On to the book.

The book opens with Thunderman really bringing it to Superman, hurting the Man of Steel, while yelling about how the World's Finest heroes abandoned him to find his own way on this new Earth. 

You can see how this David could become Magog. He is unhinged, murderous, and either in denial of how events happened or deluded.

He is a threat though.

But I like how our Superman knows what it means to be a hero.

First thing to do when a super-powered battle starts? Move to an unpopulated area. 

We know the carnage in Kingdom Come, the skirmishes in cities, the devastation of Kansas. So Waid is showing us how our Superman thinks differently than the supers of this world.

The battle is loud enough to get the attention of this Earth's version of Superman and Batman. 

Remember, this world doesn't know about the multiverse. So the KC Superman thinking our Superman is someone from outer space or Kandor.

Our Superman does come up with a clever way to 'defeat' this Man of Steel, or at least delay him. 

Meanwhile, the two Batmen square off. I like that the KC Batman, also unaware of a multiverse, assume our Batman is a White Martian or Clayface. That makes sense.

"There's only one of me. And that's plenty." Good line. 

Our Batman also figures out a way to escape clutches of the KC Batman. 

But realizing it is time for a tactical retreat to regroup, the main Superman swoops in and grabs Batman and flies off. They head to the Kent farm to just pause and think things out. Their device to return home is destroyed. They're trapped. 

On top of that Superman sees the graves of the Kents.  He knows about the general state of this world and where it will go. He goes ballistic.

Maybe too ballistic. I wonder if there is something about this world which just brings out the anger and rage in people. Because Clark's fist-pounding and gnashing of teeth seemed a bit too much.

Batman calms him down and asks for some recon.

Now here is an interesting wrinkle. David is feeding this world's heroes a line about having parents and how our heroes are trying to kill him and other lies about his origins. 

Why would David lie? Wouldn't he think that this world's heroes would take him under their wing like ours did? Of course, the end of that first arc ended with David at the feet of Gog. So is Gog manipulating things?

David then actually summons Gog. 

Now look at that last panel. Superman and Batman on bended knee to Gog.

How can I reconcile this history with the events of Kingdom Come. We never heard about Gog at all in that book. Superman and Batman of that book, rigid in their beliefs, would hardly worship some outside force like Gog. 

From the beginning I wanted this to somehow leave Kingdom Come untouched. 

Even if I don't like Gog, this is a great page by Mora. Great perspective. A Kirby feel almost.

But we end on a doozy of a cliffhanger.

Gog has sent the entire DC Who's Who at our heroes. Drink in this page my Mora, a Perez-ian effort of mass heroes. I like how we see Amalgam, the Metal Men merge. I like Blue Beetle having wings like the armored Ted does in Kingdom Come. We even see a golden Captain Atom. All like Kingdom Come. 

Everyone else looks pretty standard.

But that is an army. Are they all under Gog's sway?

Don't miss Supergirl, in a pantsuit look at the top. Not bad.

There is just too much stuff happening in this story for it to not have ripples in the actual Kingdom Come book. Will there be a mind-wipe? Is this the actual Kingdom Come world? Or one close to it? I am cringing a bit. 

That said, seeing Superman vs. Superman and Batman vs. Batman was great.

And that Mora art. Just brilliant. 

Overall grade: B (mostly because I worry how this all will end)


Martin Gray said...

Aw Anj, you can’t score a comic according to things that might happen!

I’m enjoying this lots, it was quite the surprise to see everyone kneel before Gog.

Excellent theory about the world making people grumpy!

Anonymous said...

I think Mark Waid has earned the right to compose a scherzo on his "Kingdom Come" theme, I'm not so devoted to the original that I can't appreciate what amounts to "in house fanfiction from the original author"
Meanwhile "Hypnotized Supergirl", oh dear count the panels in the next issue before she tries to kill her cousin from Earth One....but then again this is Mark Waid so far we've been able to trust far anyway.
As for why David is lying, is it just possible at the end of the day he's a weasel?