Friday, June 21, 2024

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #28

Batman/Superman World's Finest #28 came out this week, the next chapter in the Imp-Killer storyline by Mark Waid, Dan Mora, and Travis Mercer. It is another dandy of an issue filled with crazy Jimmy Olsen action, dimension hopping, and a call back to one of the greatest Batman moments ever.

Mark Waid is clearly a fan of the DC universe and has used this book to bring back a lot of Z-list characters and DC historical events. He has brought back a sense of heroics and excitement to stories. And he continues that here, showing us a crazy story of 5th dimensional hijinks, 6th dimensional tyrants, Jimmy Olsen Silveriness, and showing us that it is hard to be Silver Age silly in the current DCU. It all just crackles with fun.

Dan Mora continues to bring us the best art on the rack. Again, this is a mix of high action and insanity. Only Dan Mora could bring us feisty Kara, a giant pie in the face, and Batman incinerated as a marionette and have it all look gorgeous. Travis Mercer steps in for the the dimensional interludes with Batman and Superman and brings a Mora-esque feel to things so we don't feel pulled out of the story. 

But couldn't help but give some love to this Nathan Szerdy variant cover. Such a nice little double homage to the Bruce Timm specials for Batgirl and Supergirl. 

But to catch us up to speed, the 6th Dimensional imp killer had just declared Jimmy Olsen the champion of Earth and challenged Mr. Action to a duel.

There is so much fun in this story as it veers from craziness to peril. But in particular, the characterization of young Robin is one of the best parts. Here he won't let Mxyzptlk disappear. Mxy's assessment of Jimmy is hilarious.

Not that the heroes of Earth are going to let Jimmy go at it alone.

I love the way Waid writes Supergirl, fierce and strong-willed but not overbearing. Truly heroic. And I love that he continues to play up the beef between her and Dick. 

Just a fun moment ... until the imp-killer blips them all away.

Mxy wants nothing to do with this fight. 

So to help Jimmy, Mxy gives all his powers to Olsen.

What does Jimmy do with his new found powers to try and save the planet? Creates a giant pie that he firs into the face of the big bad. 

Such a Jimmy thing to do. And great fun. 

Meanwhile, in the 6th dimension where all time and timelines are simultaneously happening, even Bat-Mite can be surprised.

Check out this homage to Miller and Mazzucchelli's famous Batman Year One moment. This is my favorite moment in Year One and I nerd out on it just like Bat-Mite. 

Appreciate the meta-love that Waid brings to the proceedings here.

All fun things must end. There really isn't a big place for 5th dimensional silly imps in the darker world of comics these days. With Bat-Mite trying to lead our titular heroes back to the 3rd dimension (bringing us to the 5th, 4th, 2nd, and 1st), Batman has to give him a bit of a hard life lesson.

So again Waid gives us comic commentary (Comic Box Commentary?) within the story. Batman isn't smiling. He isn't fun or colorful. It isn't that kind of world anymore.

In some ways it is sad that we have moved from that. But this very book shows you can sort of walk that tightrope between modern day sensibilities and good ole comic fun.

Jimmy appears to be dead which leaves Robin to try and stall the villain from destroying Earth while he waits for Superman and Batman to return.

I love Dick in this book. He is so eager to be respected, a hero. He is brash and rough around the edges. It isn't the super-smooth Nightwing here. It's the Boy Wonder, about to be a man. Takes serious guts to do what he is doing here.

But Jimmy turns up alive and he brings the other hero imps with him. 

It's a sort of an insane Kingdom Come sort of page, isn't it? 

I never knew I needed Jim-Mxy Olsen until I was shown him. 

The imps don't last long. 

But last issue Batman said he knew just how to defeat the 6th Dimensional overlord. I have been puzzling what Batman sees that I don't see. 

But before he can reveal the answer, he is turned into a marionette.

Nice cliffhanger, more because it gives me another month to puzzle may way into Batman's solution. 

I think my feelings about this book are obvious. It is the most consistently entertaining book on the rack, month in and month out. The Mora art is spectacular. It is both modern and classic. And a story like this is the perfect representation.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

No arguments from me, it’s A all the way! Great review.

Oh, for a Waid/Mora (or Mercer] Supergirl comic.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you've said, including that this is arguably the most enjoyable comic DC is putting out. One thing I'm curious about is why this is an A and not an A+. To be clear, I'm not criticizing you or your verdict. I'm just interested in learning more about your grading system, and in particular what it takes for a comic to get your highest possible grade.

Anonymous said...

Superman's cousin Kara Zor-El will of course always be the definitive Supergirl to me. With that said, among all the other characters who've been Supergirl the DCAU's Kara In-Ze is by probably my favorite. She had a marvelous combination of feistiness, funniness, optimism, and genuinely heroic goodness that captured both what was best about the DCAU and what is best Supergirl. The scene from Superman: TAS's intro of her in "Little Girl Lost" where she's soaring over the Kent Farm giddily reveling in the sheer joy of flight ("vroom!" as she calls it) just after Clark has brought her back to Earth just is one of the most sweetly perfect Supergirl scenes in any medium.

In light of that, I loved seeing her show up again both in Nathan Szerdy's cover and the preview of Nicola Scott's cover for Action Comics #1069. My only regret here was it made wish I could see more of her. If somebody at DC could find a way of bringing her into the current DCU so that alongside Kara Zor-El either as an unrelated Kryptonian female who's found by the Els or as some alternate version of Kara the way that Powergirl is, that would be just about perfect. In the meantime, I appreciate that Szerdy offered me a chance to pair another great Waid and Mora story with a very fine rendition of Kara In-Ze.

Anj said...

I try to leave A+'s for truly spectacular issues - Swamp Thing #21, Pax Americana, All-Star Superman #10 ...
Or for issues that are great but include a powerful singular moment.

I think this book suffers from it's own excellence. Hard to give any of them an A+ because they are all so good.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but another commenter mentioned on here a few months ago that Supergirl was in Superman vs. Meshi. I saw this on the shelf of my LCS and decided to give it a try. Took me a while for my brain to get used to reading right to left since it is a manga but I really enjoyed it. Kara is heroic here and goes on a fun comedic food adventure with her cousin. Don’t want to spoil anything else in the case you decide to read it and review it on this blog in the future.

If you want to check it out in paperback physical form it’s Superman vs. Meshi Vol. 3. The Supergirl focused story is in Chapter 20. I think it’s available on DC Infinite if you just want to read that specific chapter. The story itself is very self contained so you're not missing anything if you just read this chapter.

Back to the topic on hand, I picked up that Szerdy cover too. Always loved when Supergirl and Batgirl teamed up. I know Waid had a little tease of Supergirl and Batgirl working together in a previous issue in homage to that Silver Age story. But I would love to see a World’s Finest version of these two teaming up at some point. As for this issue itself, it really demonstrates how you can still have fun and whimsical stories with high stakes without being edgy all the time.

Anonymous said...

I still wanna see Supergirl's own 5th Dimensional Cosplaying IMPersonator...that's gotta be at least a good two issue storyline right there...
And ya know, Batmite, a campy relic from a campy time, being told in effect that Batman has outgrown him, I had a pang of sympathy for the little 5th dimensional dingbat...I truly did, Mark Waid is a great writer because he can take silly marginalia like Batmite and give him a poignant three dimensionality...(Ironic I know)
And if Supergirl only showed up for a few panels, by rao they were good ones, she is always task focused, seeing the big picture and trying to make up critical time...a real heroine!