Friday, September 23, 2022

Review: Batman Superman World's Finest #7

 Batman Superman #7 came out this week, another fabulous issue in what has been a fabulous run so far.

With this book set in the unclear past, writer Mark Waid is able to write a book that is both classic and modern. Waid pulls from the past with homages and references that bring that patina of DC legacy. He has a Superman and Batman who are friends. Not begrudging partners. Not darkness and light. True friends. Waid's Robin is a Dick Grayson just starting to show some independence, just starting to sow some oats. It all works great. Throw in some of the other denizens of the DC world and you have the mix for a great book.

This new arc brings us a sort of Superman analog from a lost world. We have already seen that Supergirl in Waid's world is an established hero, no longer being mentored by Superman while still being inspired. So I like the idea of Superman perhaps getting a sidekick of his own. There is a lot of emotion in this issue, most notably from Superman who sees himself in this new kid. And I love it.

Dan Mora remains on art. I have said that the biggest compliment I can give Mora is every new character I see him draw makes me wish he drew that character's book. Put him on Supergirl. Put him on Doom Patrol. Now put him on a classic Teen Titans book. Donna hasn't looked this great in forever. But it is the emotional heft he brings to the issue that really shook me. DC better lock him up to an exclusive contract. His stuff is perfect. 

This is my favorite book on the rack these days. On to the specifics.

Grant Morrison's eight word origin for the Man of Steel in All Star Superman has been well-mined already. I have seen it spoofed, repeated, and spoken as gospel.

So I loved that Waid put his own spin on it. Except the first two words are 'Gotham City' and we don't get a 'Kindly Couple'.

But we see a Superman-like origin replayed as an alternate world is about to be destroyed and a scientist couple placing their son in a rocket ship heading to a new world ... in this case a new dimension. 

Even the font screams 'Action Comics'. That take on Morrisons origin fits right in with the feel of this book, one of a classic DC book.

The dimensional rift opening to have this rocket land here gets the attention of the media including internet host and seeming lunatic Jack Ryder.

I like Clark's soft voiced rebuke of the attack news style of Ryder.

But it makes me hope we'll see Mora's take on the Creeper some time. I love the Creeper.

But with name drops like Ryder, Vicki Vale, and Angela Chen, we are steeped in the deep bench of the DCU.

The ship phases into our world and crashes with Batman, Robin, and Superman not far behind.

This isn't an infant like Kal. This is a Kara-like teenager named David Sikela.

I had to include that second panel, the look of shock on Superman's face, the wide eyes and small frown, as he recognizes the story as his own, a parent sending their son away from a doomed planet. Such great work from Mora.

David suddenly begins to emit energy uncontrollably.

I have talked about how Waid and Mora are acknowledging the larger history of the DCU. So look at this image. 

My mind went straight here.

Maybe I am imagining it. Or maybe I am being programmed to feel the love of DC history when I read this book. 

It's clear that David needs to be studied for his own protection. Batman heads to 'check something out' so Superman grabs Robin and David and flies off to the Fortress.

I cannot tell you how much I love the characterization of Robin in this book. From his failed date with Kara to his solo mission in the past, here is a young hero loving his life and moving into adulthood.

His yelling 'up up and away' while riding Superman's shoulders is pitch perfect for a sidekick getting out from the dour shadow of Batman. 

We truly are in a Silver/Bronze world when Superman takes David and Dick to Kandor. It seems David's cells absorb solar energy differently in this dimension. So he needs something to keep his energy in check. One invulnerable super-suit coming up!

Again though, it is Dick who steals the scene as we see him chatting up a pretty young blonde Kryptonian with some randy dialogue. He has a type, at least in this book. I just love his confidence.

Later, David hears how this world has a Gotham City which means it has his parents.

He learns a hard lesson about multiverses when his parents don't recognize him. On this world, David died when he was a toddler. He has lost his parents twice in a day.

These are the sort of scenes that I love seeing in comics. Such a powerful scene with Superman hugging this kid whose life has a similar tragedy. Perfect.

But Clark can't just adopt David. After all, his identity is secret and all. Thankfully, before he can throw David into the Midvale Orphanage, Dick has a great idea.

Why not let David learn about this world from the Titans! The classic Titans! 

I love Mora's take on this group. Kid Flash beaming smile and superspeed wave and smile is so stupendous. Donna in the red jumpsuit is meaning and gorgeous. Speedy's crossed arms and intense look is spot on. Give Dan Mora a classic Titans book!

The book ends with the villain of the piece revealed, an effective cliffhanger.

Everything just crackled in this opening chapter of the new arc. From story to art, from action to character moments, from origins to Kandor, from Robin joking to Robing flirting, I just drank it all in.

Overall grade: A+ 


Martin Gray said...

Top review, I can’t believe that Golden Age homage is an accident. Great spot (I had it in my notes, honest…).

This is such a fab comic.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree! Such a pleasure to read a book like this.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

I wonder if David Sikela's last name comes from classic Superman artist John Sikela.

Martin Gray said...

That’s what I reckoned, too. Anj, I am assuming it’s OK to link - spank me as necessary!

Anonymous said...


Regarding your link, are u referring to Kal's NOVA costume
in WF#178? I thought it looked familiar... ;)

Martin Gray said...

That’s the one. Is the illo of the cover not showing for you?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my mistake; I run w/'pics off' so I didn't see it at first.
Now I do. Now I know. Thankx.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I was about to say WF #178 Superman’s “Nova” costume….makes a reappearance. Boy that Mark Waid has an E. Nelson Bridwell level of insight into the obscurest corners of the DCU.
Yeah this book is a fave of mine as well… Waid has a happy talent for assigning a unique voice to each of his protagonists.
Apropos of nothing but I think WF #178 (the source of Sikela’s costume) is one of the few times (within the context of an “Imaginary Story”),that Supergirl somewhat seamlessly ascended to the rank of Earth’s Foremost Defender and Champion, once Superman rang up depowered, albeit it was entirely off screen and mentioned only in passing…