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Batman/Superman: World's Finest #13

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 21, 2023
Cover date: May 2023

"Elementary": Chapter One - "The Facts of The Case"

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Christian Ward, Fico Ossio and Baldemar Rivas

Reviewed by: Tony Parker
Click to enlarge

On the roof of the Daily Planet, Superman/Clark Kent, Batman/Bruce Wayne, Robin/Dick Grayson, Supergirl/Kara Zor-El, Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and Jimmy Olson all celebrate another case closed (though Kara and Barbara struggle to believe that Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk could fool Clark and Bruce that they were the girls, neither that Olsen had figured it out).

Inside the building, after Jimmy inwardly gloats a little, he and Clark are called in by Perry White about the poisoning of billionaire industrialist Simon Stagg.

At the same time, Alfred informs Batman of the murder, Bruce having a connection to Stagg thanks to them having multiple business meetings. He and Robin drive off to Metropolis, and Robin questions if this is not a job for Superman, considering it's in Metropolis. Batman explains that he and Superman both have an interest on Stagg's sometimes employee and bodyguard, Rex Mason.

Clark explains to Jimmy on the way that Rex and Stagg hate each other. Rex was an adventurer, half archeologist half fortune hunter, who fell madly in love with Stagg's daughter, Sapphire. Stagg thought Rex was beneath his daughter, so he arranged for him to be killed by his servant, Java. Stagg sent Rex to unearth an artifact called the Orb of Ra from the lost pyramid of Ahk-Ton the pharaoh, with the promise of millions. Java accompanied Rex, and used the orb, fashioned from a meteor infused by radiation, to kill him. The meteor disfigured Rex, rearranging the elements composing his body into something else, something human and not.

Despite all this, Sapphire loved him unconditionally, and re-taught him how to speak and move. The two also discovered that Rex could shift himself or his body parts into any element or compound, turning into Metamorpho, The Elemental Man.

Jimmy questions why Rex would still bodyguard for Stagg. Clark answers that it was out of love for Sapphire, and Stagg promising him a cure.

The two aren't allowed into the crime scene, but Clark spots Batman and Robin entering. Before joining them as Superman, Clark offers Jimmy a chance to share the byline, asking him to dig up some suspects and concentrate on who benefits, no matter how unlikely.

Batman explains the locked room mystery: Stagg always rents a private suite, complete with an inner office. Housekeeping found him dead of poison, but he and Robin found no possible delivery system, in a room that was locked and bolted from the inside. Clark adds that Rex is AWOL. Batman concludes that Rex has motive, means AND opportunity. Batman sends Superman to locate Rex, and Robin to run some tests on the corpse. Robin reminds that Metamorpho is supposed to be a good guy, and Batman reminds that it's a lead they can't ignore, even if he hopes it's not true.

Superman does locate Metamorpho, at the Egyptian wing of the Metropolis History Museum, stopping a robbery of King Tut's sarcophagus. While Superman evacuates the guards, Batman gets attacked by one of the mooks, firing at him with Quakemaster tech. Metamorpho saves Batman, and Batman tells him that the two need to talk, while Superman handles cleanup.

At the Stagg mansion, Jimmy finishes up an interview with Sapphire, who agreed to talk to him because he's known as Superman's pal, and Superman could find her father's killer. Java throws Jimmy out, however, claiming he's an outsider.

Back at the museum, Batman examines Metamorpho, which insults his long term friend. Superman explains that he can't detect if Metamorpho lied because he has no traditional heartbeat. Batman adds that Robin found out that Stagg was poisoned with VX nerve gas, a banned and hard to find substance, one Metamorpho can simply generate. Plus, in gas or liquid form, he could exit the suite without notice. Superman says Batman just believes in the worst, and that it doesn't sound like their long time friend. Batman regrets that he can't be that optimistic, but reminds Superman of Stagg's evil and manipulative nature, the man having cost Wayne Enterprises millions by interfering in deals that could have helped the people of Gotham, all because he lost to Bruce in tennis once.

At the Planet the next day, Jimmy's investigating has birthed a first draft that he gives to Clark. He promises that it's airtight, having worked his bones off. Jimmy even managed to crack the case, as Inspector Henderson got wind of the story and is moving on it within the hour. Clark refuses to believe that Rex had done it, but Jimmy counters that that's an opinion. Perry questions Clark's commitment to Rex, and with no ability to explain, the story is set to be published in 15 minutes.

And Bruce Wayne is arrested for the murder of Simon Stagg.

To Be Continued...

4Story - 4: What another great start to what is already looking like a banger of an arc!

After a break from the action with last month's fun issue, we're back to the big stuff, with a mystery, a new guest hero in Metamorpho (a hero I'm not the most familiar with outside of that first Outsiders run, enjoying his presence and his DELIGHTFUL origin section, moving!), presence for Jimmy Olsen, which is always appreciated, and an investigative journalism story we haven't seen in a while from Superman.

With such an ending hook as Bruce getting arrested for the murder, it's hard to resist! Truly, I enjoyed the mystery aspect. It's fun to see our title heroes investigate the murder of a bad man, and treat it with the utmost respect. It's a good contrast of Superman's optimism and Batman's doubts, and it's just an interesting tale, two heroes suspected of murder, and the Man of Steel having to hope that his beliefs are still true.

Yet again, Waid and Mora hit it out of the park, and I am excited for this arc! Bring it on!

5Art - 5: Just look at that origin section for Metamorpho. The body horror, and the beauty of the love between him and Sapphire. If not that, then at the ever impressive lights and shadows, that make every scene stand out and pop. Mora is poetry in motion. That final image could be a cover of it's own, it's pure comic book perfection in minimalistic form.

3Cover Art - 3: Mora's really good at capturing a silver age adventure vibe coupled with modern art, but it's nothing that special, plus a tad misleading. We know where Metamorpho is, cover.

3Variant Cover Art - 3: Cool cover, even if it's a little odd to see Clark and Kara smile at what seems to be a bad situation.

3Variant Cover Art - 3: Lovely poses, and a cool confrontation with Ultraman and Owlman! Not bad!

1Variant Cover Art - 1: A "Shazam: Fury of the Gods" cover, and who cares if it's colored really nicely, everyone looks bored to be there. What a bad variant.

3Variant Cover Art - 3: Another decent cover of the title heroes taking on Darkseid.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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