Monday, February 26, 2024

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #24

Batman/Superman World's Finest #24 came out last week and was just an absolutely wonderful issue. 

Throughout this arc I have worried that somehow the events of this issue would, in my mind, impact the Kingdom Come world. And indeed, it is hard to know how the JLA that is in this story and witnessed what Magog does here would somehow allow him to go on his bloody purge in that Elseworlds.

But here is the deal. 

I don't care.

Because this issue shows why Mark Waid is such a great writer. It shows why he understands what heroes in comics are supposed to do, supposed to say, supposed to act. I grew up reading heroes who had ethics and morality, who didn't cross lines, who inspired. In this book I get to read that Batman and that Superman again. And even though we see the murkiness of Magog's character, the story ends with hope. 

The story is only raised by the stupendous work of Dan Mora. I have sung Mora's praise this whole book. This issue includes a tremendous brawl, double page spreads, homages to the legendary work of Alex Ross. It all just sparkles with life and energy and emotion. 

I'll still read Kingdom Come as a stand alone story. But I'll appreciate this story too.

On to the issue.

Last issue we learned Gog was a component of the Anti-Life equation. That brings Darkseid to this Earth. 

Batman asks for Magog to rally all the superhumans on the planet to race to defend. But Magog, with looks of fear, cowers instead.

What we get are pages of Earth-22's heroes as well as Earth-0's Batman and Superman swarm like gnats trying to stop Darkseid.

Waid shows just how powerful Darkseid is. He looks completely unaffected by the heroes' efforts. But look how Mora shows it. Darkseid is simply walking while 2 Kryptonians pummel him. You can feel the frenetic energy of the Supermen, multiple visions of them speeding around. 

It looks like Darkseid is going to actually win as he begins to absorb what he needs from Gog.

Then Magog does what Magog does. He kills. He vaporizes Magog, stopping Darkseid.

But he kills. 

I really like what happens next. 

Darkseid is just so blasé. With Gog gone the reason for him to be there so he simply walks away through the boom tube. He could care less about this Earth.

Of course, Magog is a bit immature, a bit headstrong, a bit self-centered. He wants the glory for what he did. How childish to be screaming 'I took the win'.

With Gog dead and Darkseid gone, there is nothing left here but the fallout.

Superman chastises Magog for crossing a line and killing Gog. The ends do not justify the means. Killing is the easy way. 

This fits so well into the morals of Superman. And it fits into showing us how Magog became the Magog of Kingdom Come. 

And then Batman doubles down. All of Magog's justifications don't matter. Yes he may have saved billions from Darkseid's control. But he became a killer. He became a villain.

I love how our heroes stand up to Magog.

But remember, the E-22 Batman and Superman are there. Wouldn't they remind Magog of this moment? Wouldn't they try to rein him in? Wouldn't they imprison him? Wouldn't this moment impact Magog, make him go pure super-villain? How can this not impact Kingdom Come?

All that said, I loved these moments. Our heroes are being inspirational heroes. That's all I want.

It isn't just Magog who learns a lesson.

The Spectre shows up. And Mora gives us about as close to an Alex Ross Spectre as you can get without being Alex Ross. The events of Kingdom Come will still unfold. We get Mora's interpretation of some of the key events of that story, all gorgeous

Then our Batman gives our Superman his own lesson. Superman is always needed. Kingdom Come happened because our Superman hid. Superman is always needed ...

Loved these pages.

Shunted forward on this Earth to the time after Kingdom Come's finale, our Superman does the only thing he can do. He forgives Magog of his sins and tells him to do good.

Even after the devastation, our Superman is a hero. He doesn't deride or belittle. He forgives. 

Did Mark Waid just get me to feel sympathy for Magog??


This got me. I loved this issue for all the emotion it brought. All drawn beautifully by Mora.

I cannot sing the praises enough here.

Overall grade: A+


Martin Gray said...

Thanks for the review, I liked this one too. The art is stupendous, and the story stuck the landing as much as possible. What I don’t get is why Superman kept falling for David’s goo-goo eyes - he was a brat as a kid superhero, he was working as lackey for Magog and here Superman again tells him to do better after he’s completely gone against advice.

Mind, I’m not convinced killing Gog was a bad idea - Superman and Batman can’t know the heroes would have prevailed against Darkseid.

Bring on the imps!

Anonymous said...

I think David is proof positive than in the "training up a kid sidekick in the hero racket" Batman's methods are clearly far superior to Superman's alleged regimen.
I don't say that lightly, since I am normally a sworn opponent of the DCU "Cult of the BatGhod"....

But then again if Mark Waid is having fun, then I am having fun is how I look at it. And if he wants to take "Kingdom Come" down off it's pedestal and make a few idle sketches in the margins, who am I to judge him?


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this issue too!

I was just wondering when the Spectre revealed to our heroes how the events of Kingdom Come would unfold. In the original tale, the Spectre had relied on Norman McCay because he was not clairvoyant on future events. In this story, the Spectre (presumably from this past timeline) clearly knew.

I can't wait to get this entire set on the next trade collection!