Friday, February 2, 2024

Review Batman/Superman World's Finest Annual 2024

The Batman/Superman World's Finest Annual 2024 came out this week. But it was a bit of a feint. This really is more akin to an old style Showcase comic with 4 stories, 3 of which seem like pilots for new books. 

It is true that the first story, a tale of the 5th dimensional imps, will lead directly into the main World's Finest book. But otherwise, this was more akin to one of the event-related anthologies than to a Superman and Batman book.

I'll briefly review each story but I'll start by saying there is one winner, one 'okay' and two 'not bad's. Is this worth the $4.99? Is this a bait and switch, not really since the topics are right there on the cover. I knew what I was getting in to.

Overall though, I felt a little taken advantage of. Batman/Superman World's Finest is one of DC's best books these days. It has been a very consistent winner. So attaching it's name to these 4 disparate stories seems like a sleight of hand for my five bucks. 

The opening story is by World's Finest scribe Mark Waid who is joined by Cullen Bunn. Edwin Galmon is on art.

It is a silly story where we have Mr. Mxyzptlk calling to order a meeting of the Just Us League, a team of 5th dimensional imps who have attached themselves to an Earth 0 hero. The imps trade barbs and blows, showing us just how silly they are. But Mxy called them together because a great threat is coming. It seems that there are 5th dimensional imps who link themselves to villains.

It is a cute tale with Galmon's art being an easy fix. Who knew there was a l'il imp Black Canary out there. And despite the existence of Mxy and Bat-Mite for decades, villain-linked imps is a new idea. Given the 'red on black' text by the main bad imp,. I suppose they have linked to Darkseid or the Batman Who Laughs. If there is an imp for every DC hero, does Kara have one?

This wasn't bad. I'll have to see how the story is fleshed out in the main book to decide if this prologue was needed.

On to the rest.

Next is a Metamorpho story written by Doom Patrol writer Dennis Culver with great art by Travis Mercer.

Metamorpho is sent into a volcano to recover some powerful mystical artifact when he runs into his father who tells Rex to do the right thing and not follow Simon Stagg's orders blindly.

Clearly 'Montana Mason', Rex's dad, is an analogue of Indiana Jones. In fact, there is a little vibe of Henry Jones and Henry Jones Jr. dynamic between 'Montana' and Rex. This is a new addition to Metamorpho's history and having a daredevil like Rex be an apple that didn't fall to far from the tree is pretty neat.

Also Mercer's art is very slick. He gives Metamorpho's body the right textures. The action is nicely done.

This was okay. I'd probably sample a Metamorpho mini by this team. 

The next story is a Bumblebee story written by Stephanie Williams with art by Rosi Kampe. These are two new creators for me.

The story is a little bit of a stretch. We see a young Karen Beecher learning how to tinker. When a neighbor brings a defective prosthetic leg into the workshop, Karen realizes she has to expose the evil, shoddy work of the Bucklin Company.

She breaks in and using her bumblebee drones she hears two workers discussing a 'sonic sentry' which seems shady. She records them, escapes, and gives the info to friend who is a journalist.

So a factory that manufactures shoddy prosthetic limbs is now making weapons? Illegal surveillance tech? Seems a stretch. 

Going from learning how to solder to building micro remote control drones and a set of flying wings is a bit far to go in a few pages as well. 

This was not bad.

And then the winner. Challengers of the Unknown by Christopher Cantwell with splendid art by Jorge Fornes. 

This nicely retold the origin of the Challengers through a text box and interspersed flashback panels. It has the Challengers sent by Batman to stop some sort of Lovecraftian incursion. It's like Challengers written by a Vertigo-era Peter Milligan. Fornes art is spot on perfect for the material.

This was the best story of the issue and I would certainly buy a Challengers book by this creative team. This was a winner. 

So what grade to you give a winner, an okay story, and two 'not bads'.

Overall grade: C


PT Dilloway said...

I guess they figured an Annual is already kind of a side story so might as well do it even more to the side. So what happens to the imp if the Earth 0 hero "dies?" Do they die or transfer to a new hero?

Anonymous said...

"Imp Supergirl...SuperImp, SuperSprite" always the set up for the coming storyline is impressive, but I had to keep telling myself the Hero-Imps were extradimensional beings, not little kids...


Martin Gray said...

Great review, and it seems we agree entirely - give me more of those Challs.

I was wondering if that was the/a Time Trapper on the final page of the Mxy/Mite story.