Mild Mannered Reviews - Batman/Superman Comic Books
Batman/Superman: World's Finest #8Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 18, 2022
Cover date: December 2022
"Strange Visitor" - Chapter Two: "Team Spirit"
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Taurin Clarke, Clayton Henry and Marcelo Maiolo and Travis Mercer and Jordie Bellaire
Reviewed by: Tony Parker
At the cliffside base of the Teen Titans, Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash, Wondergirl and Aqualad all help David practice his powers. Speedy fires a boxing glove arrow at the new sidekick, who manages to blow it up. Robin makes an educated guess that David's powers are thunder related, and so the boy is christened 'Boy Thunder'. Donna takes Dick aside though and asks him to be careful, stating that she has a gut feeling there's something off about him.
Later, at San Carlos in Costa Rica, Superman and Boy Thunder block a volcano, David showing real excitement for the first time at the prospect of his powers. Clark is more concerned over setting up a life for David, but after a snarky suggestion of the orphanage from Supergirl, he gets a distress call from Batman. The Key, a Justice League villain who's been laying low, has taken over Gotham, trapping people inside their homes, cars, and other closed in locations by giving everyone Entamaphobia. His demands are five billion dollars in untraceable currency.
With Batman and Robin trapped in the cave, it's up to Superman, Supergirl, and Boy Thunder to save the people while Batman gets an antidote from a friend. While the two supers whiz around saving people, Batman instructs David to go into a coal mine, where a group of miners are trapped, the methane gas spreading around them. All David has to do is pull a switch to save them.
But it doesn't work. Batman, realizing David must use his powers, tries to calm him down, but David panics and flies off to hide and cry. Batman asks Superman to comfort David, but David, remembering what happened to his planet, rushes in determinedly and saves the miners. Then, the friend (Blue Beetle II/Ted Kord) arrives and disperses the antidote to heal everyone of the psychopathy. Superman and Batman manage to trace The Key's hideout, but he's gone, his clue leading to a void.
At the Batcave, after Batman teases Robin about his relationship with Supergirl, Superman expresses his pride in David, but David doesn't seem to care if he lives or dies. Supergirl, knowing what survivor's guilt feels like, consoles him, saying that it's not his fault, and they can get him professional help. But David doesn't seem to believe her...
Elsewhere, The Key apologizes for his setback to the man he's working for, who, while angry at not being rich yet, is overjoyed to hear that Superman now has a sidekick. He laughs maniacally, revealing that he's none other than The Joker...
To be continued...
Story - 5: I'm almost running out of ways to praise this book, and especially this arc. David's character, which was already compelling (if a little familiar) seems to have been given acres of depth with the hinted reveal that he might be responsible for his planet's doom. Alongside his struggles with survivor's guilt and his attempts to beat it, he alone makes the book a worthy buy.
But of course, it's also the book's expert handling of presence for each character that strikes me again. In a book about Superman and Batman, being able to give important moments not just to the headliners, but also to Robin, Supergirl, the rest of the Teen Titans (minus Aqualad, admittedly), the relatively minor villain The Key and even Ted Kord is legitimately impressive and fun. I have compared these to the Loeb run of 2003, and to the DCAU, but I'd argue that this accomplishes what Justice League Action did as well. Simply put, a love letter to the DC universe, packed with character as much as fan service, easter eggs, references, and heart. No issue so far has felt like 'just an adventure', each one challenging or highlighting aspects of our cast. Not only is this one of the best Batman and Superman books out right now, but it handles Supergirl far better than most (cough cough Woman of Tomorrow), handles Dick Grayson perfectly, and even treats a new character with real gravitas.
Boy Thunder could have been a boring, one note, we've seen it before schtick, but Waid infuses him with startling humanity, never judging or berating, but whole heartedly crying out for this lost soul who clearly just wants to help. Never do we get the feeling that someone is out of character, and in the current DC roster, that is hard to come by with. Truly, this is the DC book for those who don't like the current comics, because it treats you like an old reader, a new reader, but most importantly, a reader who deserves good things, and not yet another crisis, retcon, or edgy retread.
That being said, may The Joker not take over the next issue please.
Art - 5: Honestly, I am also running out of things to say about Mora's art. While this wasn't his most eye catching issue yet, his abstract 'Squidward in the Alone world meets 101 Dalmatians' void, his flaming costa rica, his high alert Gotham, and his facial expressions go a million miles a minute in selling Waid's crisp writing. It's the soft expressions that get me most, Supergirl, Batman, Robin, Superman, David... They all emote all their thoughts when we see them. Static isn't in Mora's vocabulary, I am happy to say.
Cover Art - 4: Not the best cover I've ever seen, truthfully, but the playful and adventurous Superman and Boy Thunder part contrasts well with the black and white Batman part, almost symbolically telling us about the danger that lies ahead, while the sketched in pencil Teen Titans represents the opening of the story. Kind of beautiful, honestly, if not the MOST eye catching.
Variant Cover Art - 2: Not my favorite of these 'Superman and Batman's cast' variants. Joker looks off, especially his nose, Lex chasing him in the power suit is almost silly, and Mercy Graves vs Punchline feels very odd, especially considering Punchline doesn't feel like she deserves to be put on the same pedestal as a character with nearly 30 years of legacy.
Variant Cover Art - 4: Now THIS is a variant! Never been a big fan of throwback designs, but the Superman and Batman rogues galleries being showcased while the heroes are in the middle idea works really well here, a sort of shining, almost trading card feel to the operation. Very nice, and the inclusion of lesser shown Superman enemies these days was also nice to see!
Variant Cover Art - 2: Eh. Kinda realistic, Superman looks pretty cool and almost Fleischer cartoon-esque, which I appreciate, but it's nothing that special. I'd cut out the Superman part and keep it to be honest.
Mild Mannered Reviews
2022Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- Batman/Superman: Authority Special #1
- Action Comics #1036
- Action Comics #1037
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #5
- Superman '78 #3 [of 6]
- Superman '78 #4 [of 6]
- Superman vs. Lobo #2 [of 3]
- Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #5 [of 8]
- Justice League #69
- Justice League: Last Ride #7
- Justice League Infinity #5
- Justice League Incarnate #1 [of 5]
- DC vs. Vampires #2 [of 12]
- Dark Knights of Steel #1
- Action Comics #1038
- Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1
- Superman '78 #5 [of 6]
- Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #6 [of 8]
- World of Krypton #1 [of 6]
- Justice League #70
- Justice League Infinity #6
- Justice League Incarnate #2 [of 5]
- DC vs. Vampires #3 [of 12]
- Dark Knights of Steel #2
- Action Comics #1039
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #6
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #7
- Superman/Robin Special #1
- Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #7 [of 8]
- Justice League #71
- Justice League Infinity #7
- Justice League Incarnate #3 [of 5]
- Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes #1 [of 6]
- Superman '78 #6 [of 6]
- World of Krypton #2 [of 6]
- Dark Knights of Steel #3
- DC vs. Vampires #4
- Action Comics #1040
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #8
- Nightwing #89
- Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #8 [of 8]
- Justice League 2022 Annual #1
- Justice League #72
- Justice League Incarnate #4 [of 5]
- World of Krypton #3 [of 6]
- Dark Knights of Steel #4
- DC vs. Vampires #5
- Action Comics #1041
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #9
- Superman vs. Lobo #3 [of 3]
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #1
- Justice League #73
- Justice League #74
- Justice League Incarnate #5 [of 5]
- Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes #2 [of 6]
- World of Krypton #4 [of 6]
- Dark Knights of Steel #5
- DC vs. Vampires #6
- Action Comics #1042
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #10
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #2
- Justice League #75
- Earth-Prime #2 - Superman and Lois
- World of Krypton #5 [of 6]
- Dark Knights of Steel #6
- Action Comics #1043
- Action Comics Annual 2022 #1
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #11
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #3
- Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1
- Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes #3 [of 6]
- World of Krypton #6 [of 6]
- Jurassic League #1
- Action Comics #1044
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #12
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #4
- Justice League #75 (Special Edition)
- Dark Crisis #1
- Multiversity: Teen Justice #1
- Dark Knights of Steel #7
- Jurassic League #2
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen's Boss, Perry White #1 (One Shot)
- Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1
- Earth-Prime #6: Hero's Twilight
- Action Comics #1045
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #13
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #5
- Superman: Space Age #1
- Dark Crisis #2
- Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League - Superman #1
- Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2
- Multiversity: Teen Justice #2
- Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes #4 [of 6]
- DC vs. Vampires #7
- Jurassic League #3
- DC: Mech #1
- Young Justice: Targets #1
- Action Comics #1046
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #14
- Superman: Warworld Apocalypse #1
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #6
- Dark Crisis #3
- Dark Crisis: Young Justice #3
- DC's Saved by the Belle Reve #1
- Multiversity: Teen Justice #3
- Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes #5 [of 6]
- DC vs. Vampires #8
- Jurassic League #4
- DC: Mech #2
- Young Justice: Targets #2
- Action Comics #1047
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #15
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #7
- Superman: Space Age #2
- Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #4
- Dark Crisis: Young Justice #4
- Multiversity: Teen Justice #4
- Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes #6 [of 6]
- Dark Knights of Steel: Tales from the Three Kingdoms #1 (One Shot)
- DC vs. Vampires #9
- Jurassic League #5
- DC: Mech #3
- Young Justice: Targets #3
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #16
- Action Comics #1048
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #8
- Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #5
- Dark Crisis: Young Justice #5
- Multiversity: Teen Justice #5
- DC vs. Vampires #10
- Jurassic League #6
- DC: Mech #4
- DC's Terrors Through Time #1 (One Shot)
- Young Justice: Targets #4
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