Friday, October 21, 2022

Review: World's Finest #8

Batman/Superman World's Finest #8 came out this week, another amazing issue in this utterly entertaining and wonderful title. 

Writer Mark Waid and artist Dan Mora are just clicking here. This is pure creative synergy, bringing back a classic feeling DC Comic while feeling completely modern. Perhaps the best decision the creators have made was to put this some time in the past. This feels like a pre-Crisis world. There are costumes and histories here that don't jibe with the current DCU. Or perhaps this is the new DCU. I can only hope. 

This issue continues the story of Boy Thunder, Superman's new sidekick from an alternate Earth. He might not be as innocent a kid as he let on last issue. It is hinted he may have had something to do with his world's demise. Seeing the entire DCU accept him and help him brings back a feel of a warmer universe where heroes were selfless.

And let me not bury the lede. This is the best Supergirl book out in the last several years. Waid brings back a Silver Age origin. He leans right into how traumatic her history yes. But instead of her wallowing, or getting angry and drunk, or 'living in pain', she has recognized it and grown. If you didn't like the last mini-series Supergirl starred in, this is a palate cleanser. This washes off the grime. Most of this review will be on those pages. Heck ... this is a Supergirl blog.

As for Dan Mora, he is simply perfect. There are subtle homages to classic DC (including the cover, a sort of take on Batman #1from 1940. This book keeps bringing in more and more of the DCU and every time I see his take on someone new, I think 'he should do that book'. Seriously, he hits it out of the park with everything. His expressive work is amazing. I would beg DC to put him on a Supergirl solo book. But as long as she keeps showing up here, I'm happy. 

On to the book. 

The issue starts where the last ended. David Sikela is adjusting to his new Earth and training with a very classic Teen Titans. From Speedy's boxing glove arrow to a yellow-garbed, hyperactive, ever smiling Wally, this just feels like classic Titans. The team gives David the name 'Boy Thunder' based off the sound that occurs when he super-heats.

But Donna gets a vibe off of David. She asks Robin to be careful. 

Superman takes David under his wing and starts to teach him about secret identities and super-heroics. But where can David live?

Superman asks Kara who snaps back about putting him in an orphanage.


If you are a lifelong Supergirl fan, this is pitch perfect. Why did Superman throw his orphaned cousin into an orphanage in 1959? It makes no sense. So her stern look with her arms crossed as she fires this barb is just wonderful. That is DC history and perfect for Supergirl.

I also love how the subplot of Dick and Kara's relationship is still here. Her losing him in time and their failed date is all brought back up. Batman even tells Dick to ask her out again!

Things go sideways all of a sudden. The Key has doused Gotham with a fear toxin. Suddenly everyone is afraid of doors and windows. Everyone is basically paralyzed. Doctors can't enter exam rooms. Firefighters can't enter burning buildings. People can't exit burning buildings. Even Batman can't leave the Batcave!

The Supers jump into action.

Supergirl is in the hospitals opening up passages so docs can provide care!

And bike shorts!!!

Boy Thunder is sent to a mine where a methane leak is endangering the miners. They can't open the door to escape. David has to burn through the lock ... but carefully or his powers will explode the gas.

He panics, perhaps remembering something he did on his own Earth, and leaves before he can free them.  Something is up here.

Thankfully, he heads back. 

Love this panel. Moody, showing David's sadness and guilt. 

The threat is ended when an old school Blue Beetle shows up to spread the counter toxin over the city.

This book is a love letter to the DCU. So seeing a fit and fun Blue Beetle saving the day was great.

And that panel has to be an homage to The Dark Knight Returns.

And then the best 2 Supergirl pages I have read in the last several years.

David says that if he dies it doesn't matter. Showing incredible maturity, Supergirl looks to Superman and says 'I've got this'. This is not a deferring Supergirl. This is not a naive young girl looking to impress her cousin.

She retells her origin. Not sent from Krypton when Kal was. She was on an intact Argo, scary but 'normal'. 

This isn't the re-introduced Kara by Loeb and Turner. This isn't the New 52. This is pretty classic. Given her age and the red-shouldered costume, this has to be the pre-Crisis Kara.

But then she implies she was 15 when Krypton was lost. So that isn't classic either. That Kara was born on Argo years after Krypton's destruction. So this truly is else-when.

Waid brings up how all that trauma gave Kara survivor's guilt ... a natural response. That's powerful. And it makes Kara a much better person to mentor Boy Thunder.

But that guilt didn't make her wallow in her sadness. It spurred her to save people. 

But it made her angry that she made it and others didn't. She tried to be like Superman but that is a lofty goal. And her guilt made her rush into danger, thinking it was courage. 

All of that sounds like Kara. Her hope to be like Kal. Her headstrong fierceness. Her inherent goodness. Her wanting to help people. People like David, who she says she'll talk to any time he wants. Waid just gets her. (No surprise given how well he wrote her and understood her in the Legion threeboot.)

Look at the art here, the young blue skirted Supergirl with those sad eyes in the top panel. The wide eyed caring Kara in the bottom. Mora just draws her so spectacularly.

Oh, the Key escapes. And an overused villain is running things behind the scene.

Every thing sings here. I am ready for the next issue now, a sure sign of a great comic. 

Everyone should be reading this. And DC? This is Supergirl. This is the Kara her fans want to read.

Overall grade: A+


Professor Feetlebaum said...

When Kara tells Boy Thunder that she was fifteen when she lost her "home", I assumed she was referring to Argo City. She doesn't say that she lost Krypton. This would fit right in with her Silver Age/Pre-Crisis origin.

Jim Mooney often drew Supergirl with sad eyes. I think that panel of her flying with Superman was Mora's tribute to Mooney.

This is the best book DC is currently publishing. I hope Supergirl continues to be a regular in it.

Anonymous said...

Waid has her bouncing back strongly from her “I dropped Dick in the Time Stream” trough. The “Orphanage” barb is the best example of “Karatharsis” I have seen in years between that and her subsequent intervention with David, Supergirl is all but openly proclaiming her equal status with Kal El in this issue. Very powerful, very important, very subtle.
But…the thing that really stood out for me was Waid’s comfort level with Supergirl’s somewhat convoluted 1959 origin story (what I like to call the “Binder Version”) with Argo City aka “The Reluctant Asteroid” floating in the void…its almost as if he is challenging us with the notion that if you like the character and think you have good stories to tell then the origin is a secondary consideration.
Your Thoughts…?

Martin Gray said...

Great analysis, this really is a wonderful tale on Supergirl, a smart, compassionate heroine. Her reaction to Superman’s daft question will likely be my number one Kara panel of the year. It’s been a long time coming… wouldn’t it be amazing were Waid to follow up on the moment with Superman actually apologising to her, acknowledging he did a rotten thing. Maybe he was panicked by the responsibility but genuinely believed she’d be better off with kids her own age and the chance of a home - after all, the Kents weren’t alive to take in any orphans

I’m making excuse! But I’d love to hear what Clark had to say.

Tim Price said...

I'm loving this series so much. The big highlight is indeed Supergirl, and I couldn't agree more with your take. The small highlight is Blue Beetle. Could a JLI-esque appearance be in the works? Yeee!

Anonymous said...

This continues to be fun AND brilliant, everything just works. Waid and Mora are a fantastic team.

It does seem to left ambiguous exactly where, in this telling, Kara was born. Could still be Argo, but there is a curious use of the word "us" when she says "Despite the tragedy, its leaders scrambled constantly to make us feel as 'normal' as possible." She might phrase that differently if she had not personally lived through the destruction of Krypton. On the other hand, she says she came from Argo, not from Krypton. So -- probably Waid wants to leave the Silver Age version intact.

For some reason this review didn't end up aggregated with others at comicbookroundup. Usually by time I see reviews here, they've magically appeared there too.


SG Fan said...

Sorry to echo, but yeah love how Kara was used in the issue. Her dry comment on Superman there was perfect, but then seeing her in action saving the day was great. Her talk with Boy Thunder was perfect, and shows how mature and how much Kara can grow as a character.

I really wish one of these entries would do a Superman/Supergirl focused issue, but if we keep getting quality Kara I won't complain.

Batman encouraging Robin to ask SG out for a date was something, LOL

Anonymous said...

This series has been excellent! I can’t believe DC is leaving it alone so far. Please please please don’t screw it up DC