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Batman/Superman: World's Finest #16 Batman/Superman: World's Finest #16 KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Batman/Superman: World's Finest #16

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 20, 2023
Cover date: August 2023

"Elementary": Chapter Four - "Overdrive"

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Lee Bermejo, Ben Oliver, Haare Andrews, Babs Tarr

Reviewed by: Tony Parker
Click to enlarge

Dick Grayson/Robin is almost crushed by the now revolting Batmobile crashing into a wall, but is thankfully saved by Barry Allen/The Flash, who was notified by Wally West/Kid Flash of the trouble. He informs Robin that all over the US, self-driving cars, smartphones, communication systems, anything using some form of A.I is going haywire, and most transportation has been locked down, while many people have been taken hostage by any hero or villain that could be remotely controlled. He also tells him of Batman and Superman being taken prisoner by Newmazo.

Meanwhile, Newmazo orders Will Magnus to guide Superman and Batman on building for him, and tells Superman that there is no point in breaking his collar, due to the kryptonite powered Ultramorpho guarding the room.

Will explains to Superman what he did to make Newmazo. Ivo had captured him and forced him to give an updated Amazo the responsometer that gives the Metal Men their intelligence. Ivo, in his arrogance, didn't predict that Newmazo could now not just absorb powers and abilities, but also knowledge and intelligence, becoming as smart as Ivo and Magnus combined. Then he began collecting those other A.I focused scientists to do his bidding. He'd also kidnapped billionaires like Oliver Queen and Simon Stagg in order to get their finances for his projects, replacing them with artificial duplicates who would funnel the money his way.

Batman asks Magnus what is Newmazo's end goal. Newmazo believes humans are imperfect, lacking in foresight and dimming the world's potential. He wants to replace them with worldwide A.I supremacy, and has turned robotic villains and heroes to take all humans and dissolve them down to their basic chemical elements to reuse them for his project.

Meanwhile, in Midway City, Hawkman battles Kelex and a bunch of cyborg Supermen. Metamorpho, The Metal Men and Plastic Man help him out, though Metamorpho isn't sure the Metal Man will survive, and they themselves are a little concerned. While The Metal Men help Hawkman fight off the robots, Metamorpho takes on G.I. Robot. The civilians are evacuated, but the heroes are badly hurt, and the metal men are destroyed.

Back with the world's finest, Batman tries to formulate an escape plan, but Oliver and Ted Kord argue it's hopeless: They don't have their gear and their one true chance, Superman, can barely stand. Batman still has a plan though that he's already put into motion with Toyman, Dr. Cyber, Bertram Larvan and Simon Stagg: The crack in Ultramorpho could be used to shatter him, and with some lead shielding, they could assemble a side item to take advantage. Ted distracts the robot and Oliver makes a one in a million shot and destroys the robot. While the others use the lead shielding to protect themselves from the radiation, Superman breaks out of his collar and frees the rest, but is still suffering. The reason? Ultramorpho is reforming!

But then, the cavalry arrives: Robin, Metamorpho, Flash, Kara Zor-El/Supergirl, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and Ronnie Raymond/Firestorm. Firestorm's control of the elements keeps Ultramorpho destroyed while Flash locks up the villains before they can escape. After Magnus takes a moment to mourn his metal men (hoping to salvage them), Batman asks him about the miniature satellites Newmazo had them make, questioning how the Metal Men weren't controlled by Newmazo. Magnus explains that he programmed them to only take direct commands from himself. Batman tells Green Lantern to blanket the earth with the satellites and Robin and Wonder Woman to find T.O. Morrow. Superman says he's gonna get the civillians to safety while the rest neutralize every "Newmazo agent" and reclamation plant used to decimate humans they can find.

On the Invisible Jet, Wonder Woman explains to Robin that T.O. Morrow is a futurist, a brilliant cybercriminal, and the inventor of Red Tornado. Wonder Woman uses her lasso to get answers from Morrow when he resists, and he explains that he knew Ivo's invention would bring humanity to the brink of extinction. Morrow claims he's already tested out every possible hero as opposition, and claims it's hopeless to stop Newmazo.

After Batman instructs Olive and Ted to help Superman out and stay in touch, only for Supergirl to suddenly reveal her play just when the man of steel leaves: It's not Supergirl. It's Newmazo.

And he wants to kill Batman...

To Be Continued...

4Story - 4: Another great continuation that really excelled at somehow increasing the stakes!

Newmazo's plan is genuinely horrifying and feels like a modern version of the classic A.I. gone wrong story. The holocaust esque imagery is unnerving, and the hopelessness is felt through a realistic lens. The story never makes Newmazo feel so powerful that there isn't a chance, just that he and his plan are so overwhelming that our heroes need to go above and beyond just to survive, let alone win.

This issue has shown how far this story is willing to go to make this threat believable too: The Metal Men are destroyed, humans are carted around like cattle, cities like Midway are burning, and even the usually OP Batman contingency plan isn't working. The fact that so many heroes are needed to even get close to winning really makes this arc feel as important as one of the bigger events, and could honestly have been a company wide crossover, though personally I find this book handling it better than most cross company arcs.

Excellent escalation, great pacing, good spots of humor and action to not make it a slog. Outside of Newmazo being perhaps a little empty (though that's sort of the point), this has been a seriously excellent story, and I can't wait for the next part! It's not my favorite arc (the Superman's sidekick one is still my personal favorite) but I continue to be impressed by this book's excellent characterization and adventure, now packed with tension and fear!

4Art - 4: I'm not even trying this time, guys. The art is good. I can only say it so many times. It's good. The Metal Men's destruction was aesthetically pleasing. What more do you need?

1Cover Art - 1: I detest lying covers like this. What robot Wonder Woman? Where's Red Tornado, Robotman, Robot Aquaman? Ultramorpho doesn't even attack Superman in this issue.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: Bermejo's art has a strange sort of beauty to its gritty simplicity. His Superman is strangely kind looking despite the style and his Batman is truly down to earth. Very nice.

1Variant Cover Art - 1: Very mediocre cover with generic poses, plus the green mountain dew tint doesn't work.

2Variant Cover Art - 2: A sort of retro animated cover, but outside of the batwing, it's nothing special.

1Variant Cover Art - 1: Special cover for "The Flash" and they both look like melting martians. Eww.

3Variant Cover Art - 3: Odd charm to Swimsuit Superman and Batman.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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