Thursday, December 22, 2022

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #10

Batman/Superman World's Finest #10 came out this week, the penultimate chapter of the Boy Thunder storyline. 

I'll start out by saying this issue ends with a doozy of a twist and a cliffhanger. As I have said before, when you surprise a grizzled comic reader like me and you surprise me in a good way, that is a victory. I did not expect what I saw and I loved it.

That said, the last page is probably the best part of the issue. I expect a lot from this book. From the first issue, writer Mark Waid and artist Dan Mora have been hitting it out of the park. Every issue has been just about perfect. That's hard to maintain. This issue just didn't sizzle the way the others have.  Maybe it is my Joker fatigue?

Dan Mora continues to shine but this is also a bit rougher than I am used to seeing his stuff here. It's funny. I have seen Mora churning out cover after cover which just glitter on the rack. I love his work. Perhaps all that is impacting things?

I don't always buy the expensive variants but I loved this one by Brandon Peterson and so spent a little bit too much for it. Love the trading card look and that Supergirl is present.

On to the book.

We start out with Boy Thunder held in a technological keyhole, unable to use his powers. Meanwhile, the Joker physically and mentally tortures him, trying to beat the secret identities of Batman and Superman out of him 

And all is fair. First attack, some type of fear gas showing the young hero everyone in Joker form. 

I'm relatively tired of the Joker. He gets a lot of page time in this book. It certainly is needed to get us to the end. But it got tiresome.

Meanwhile, out title heroes and the classic Teen Titans are all out scouring Gotham City. At first, it is 'one at a time' sweep of all the lead-lined buildings in Gotham. (Turns out there are a lot of them.)

But this leads to this exchange. 

Batman says that Superman has anger issues, especially because he has put David in danger. It is something Batman says he understands. A little bit odd coming from Batman given all the kids he has put in danger. 

If you like the red-eyed look of an angry Superman settle in. We get a lot of it. 

Finally our heroes find a clue. It takes them to the building where they think the Key is hiding.

But inside they find a madness nest of doors.

Nice image here. I especially like the sideways heroes in the top left, adding to the dizzying effect of the page layout. 

Waid pauses to give us the origin of the Key, albeit it slightly updated. No longer is he the guy that activated his entire brain. Instead he is a guy who has just soaked himself in psychoactive drugs to alter the chemical of his brain. 

I love the psychedelic swirl of colors as the Key awakens, shedding all the 'mundanity' of life. 

I like this update because it adds a bit of an edge to the Key, making him basically mad and therefore unpredictable. 

After the monologue, the Joker begins to beat the David with a crowbar. This is somewhen in the DCU but given Dick is still Robin, this is pre-Jason Todd. Still, chilling to see that particular tool in that sort of scene.

The doors in that building open up to all sorts of realities filled with monsters and creatures. But our heroes can use some ingenuity to track down the right path. 

More red eyed Superman.

But this is what I mean about Mora's art. This Superman doesn't seem as polished as what I am used to seeing. Perhaps that is being done intentionally to add to this enraged look?

The villains know when they are outnumbered. The Key runs in one direction. The Joker runs in the other. 

On the way a door is opened releasing some of the oddest kaiju creatures I have seen. The heroes have to beat back the monsters.

But David, who we seen have anger issues in the past, has had it. Bloodied and beaten, he goes after the Joker. 

And then the ending.

The heroes catch up to David who has followed the Joker and is burning the flesh off the Clown Prince.

But then he says he will kill the Joker if he lays eyes on him ever again ...

Flash forward and we see that David is actually Magog from the Kingdom Come book. Remember, the Joker kills Lois in that book. Magog then kills the Joker. That triggers Superman to retire setting all the events in motion there. Waid, who wrote Kingdom Come, revisiting Magog is pretty nifty. And I wasn't expecting this at all. 

This is a solid issue perhaps a bit padded to get us to this point in the story. But I love the ending. I suppose it is a compliment to the creators that this issue, which is solid, isn't up to their usual stellar heights.

Overall grade: B


Steve said...

Since there's no real DC continuity anymore, I've decided that the JSA Magog is no longer in continuity, though if anyone could make it work it'd be Waid. I also agree this issue was one of the least fantastic and wonderful issues of this series. I'm also amazed that a book this good could be considered lesser to anything but that's what you get when you hit it out of the park nine times then only hit a triple on number ten!

Anj said...

The triples and homers comparison is completely apt and wish I had used it!

And yes, I hope we are talking Earth Kingdom Come Magog and not the Earth-1 (or was it Earth-0 then) version.

Anonymous said...

I also thought Mora's art was not up to his usual level, and wondered if he was rushed. He draws a half dozen variant covers for DC every month, and perhaps has some creator-owned things he's working on.

It's been announced that next year he'll be working on a new Shazam series with Mark Waid, while both will continue on World's Finest. Maybe he has already started working part time on Shazam, to get a jump start on it. How else could he do two monthly books? (Shazam is scheduled to debut in June.)


Anonymous said...

Well this one took a hard ninety degree turn “Superman’s Pal, Teen Magog” Anyone?
Never mind its the only DC Comic that I read with no ingrained sense of foreboding :)
Agree with our host, re The Joker, but he like Harley are toxically over exposed for a reason, their presence on the cover triggers additional sales…


Martin Gray said...

‘Triples and homers’? Errrrr

I liked this story, and loved the end reveal. I’ve no love for Magog but I do like to be surprised. Who could have predicted a kid in a Silver Ste outfit would turn out to be a refugee from the Dark Age? I am sick of the Joker, of course, and red-eyed Supes, but it was great to see the Joker suffer. I don’t get how the Key can now alter reality.

The art did seem a tad scratchier but it suited this chapter.

What’s the blank panel on your special cover for Anj, a comic shop stamp?