Monday, April 22, 2024

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #26

Batman/Superman World's Finest has been one of the consistently entertaining, high quality books since its premiere. It always is the 'top of the pile' book, the one I read first to start to weekly comic session on the right foot.

It perhaps is why I am struggling with Batman/Superman World's Finest #26 and this imp arc. It just hasn't grabbed me yet. It is a weird mix of fun and dark, perhaps not enough of either to make me feel settled. And being an unsettled reader isn't a bad thing. I'm thinking about this story a lot after I have read it. There has always been a sort of sense of joy or reverence with the DCU in this book and I'm just not getting the joy.

Mark Waid has a decent idea here. If there are imps obsessed with Batman and Superman, couldn't there be imps obsessed with Sinestro and the Parasite? And having the World's Finest teams split up with their opposite World's Funnest team is a good story beat. But there is a darkness in this story that bubbles under the surface.

Meanwhile, Dan Mora continues to just bring it. From the zaniness of the imp designs to the psychedelic insanity of Parasite's attacks from a nod to classic Earth-2 Robin, he stuff continues to be the best artist out there. 

On to the book.

There is a funny riff that goes throughout the book of Robin having difficulty saying Mxyzptlk's name. 

But I have to say that until I heard Superman say it, I don't think I realized the difference between Bat-Mite and Mxy. One adores. The other torments. Both are obsessed. 

Perhaps they are a sort of knock-off of intense fandom?

The team gets word that Sinestro has a magical imp aiding him. And Abra Kadabra also has one. In a classic JLA move, they decide to split up. But to mix things up, Bat-Mite will go with Superman. Mxy will go with Batman.

I don't always think Batman should be able to stare down people like Darkseid. But this moment when he basically intimidates Mxy was fun. Good stern close-up by Mora on Batman.

When Batman and Robin arrive, Hal Jordan is already unconscious and Sinestro and is Mite are chortling about it.

Outgunned, Mxy offers to give the Bats super-powers and Robin jumps at the chance. 

I do love this costume, a definite riff on the old school older Earth-2 Robin. Hooray for the Super-Squad.

And now Super-Robin, he is able to thrash the baddies.

We get a peek at the big bad behind it all. 

I do like seeing Mora's version of all the imps. Luthor, Joker, Metallo all have imps. 

As for Superman's fight, Kadabra and his mite are having their way with the Flash. Waid even brings in Kadabra's obsession with applause, something I loved as a kid for some reason.

When Superman realizes he might lose the fight given his vulnerability to magic, Bat-Mite breaks out magic-proof armor. Again, kudos to Mora for designing this semi-AzBats, Bat-centric armor. 

Some more fun moments.

When Robin decides to check on Superman with his new super-vision, he cannot take in all the knowledge. It is too much.

I like when heroes are shown to be special in what they do. Like, not everyone should be able to handle super-vision. It makes Superman special. (Remember when in some comic, some event book, Ollie tries to use Hal's ring and can only manifest an arrow and even then it gives him a bloody nose, showing how hard it is to wield a ring and how Hal is meant for it. That sort of stuff.)

Back with Kadabra, Superman explains to Bat-Mite how he probably is getting in the way when the imp 'helps' Batman. 

Batman is fighting for life and death in tense situations. There is little room for fanboys and frivolity.

I don't think he quite gets through to Bat-Mite but I thought it at least showed how Superman understands Batman. And sees how an imp like Bat-Mite is as bad a torment as Mxy in his own way.

Everyone reunites to take on the Parasite and the Para-Mite. With a magic enhancement, Parasite can now absorb just about anything leading to the insane last panel and cliffhanger. I know I am going overboard but Mora is just magical, from the rough physique of the Parasite to the warped draining of mass and volume in the attack.

So this was a very solid issue, obviously full of good character moments, action, and art. But I feel a little dissonance here.

Overall grade: B-


Martin Gray said...

Great review. The fact I loved it and didn’t feel uneasy has me worried. Am I a monster? The bit with super senses overload was a great, it’s been done a few times over the years with Superman - remember that amazing JLG-L cover during the Pasko run? - but I don’t recall a non-Super suffering so. What a great, logical idea.

Are we meant to recognise the bad guy, when they’re hood-less?

Anj said...

I didn't recognize the decloaked bad guy.

Maybe I just like pure zaniness from Mxy and Mite. It's my own problems.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how seemingly ALL the 5th dimensional imps are "all in on cosplay", Green Lantern, Green Arrow Flash, Sinestro etc....EXCEPT Mxyztplk? Yes you can tag him as obsessed with Superman, but it doesn't extend as far as cosplaying...which to me, makes him the more formidable character, "Alan King" but with omnipotence thrown in....