Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #22
Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 21, 2023
Cover date: January 2024
“Heir to the Kingdom” – Chapter Three: “The Gospel of Gog”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Jerome Opena and Tomeu Morey, Gerald Parel, Travis Charrest
Reviewed by: Tony Parker
At Gog’s Saharan Citadel, Earth-22, Gog and Thunderman commend 22 Superman and Batman for their resistance to the “demons” that are our Superman and Batman. 22 Superman requests to bring the imposters to him, but Gog (who they treat as a god) reassures him that they will come soon enough, having sent pretty much every hero at them.
Meanwhile, Batman and Superman fight all those heroes at the Kent Farm. Batman and Superman agree the only real plan against this is to regroup and retreat, but Zatanna imprisons them, letting Etrgian loose on the two. Batman attacks him and Superman (thanks to some magic loophole) breaks free of the chains.
The entire group opens fire, with the world’s finest trying to convince them to stop. But their pleas fall to deaf ears, even of heroes they’ve never met before. David appears and Superman begs him to stop but he cares not. With Green Lantern power rings and Firestorm using kryptonite gas, the two are stopped and taken to Gog for judgement.
Gog explains to them who he is: He is Gog, bringer of eternal light, gifted with an opportunity to gift this world’s heroes with ascension to glory. David keeps lying, and Gog sentences them to the catacombs, as he still values life.
While 22 Superman tries to carry him to his prison, our Superman declares him a shame to the S shield, and that he raised David right (the latter still denying it all). 22 Batman however seems to be more open to listening, a glimmer of detecting in his eye. He volunteers to carry them himself, while 22 Superman can go fix the Kent farm.
The prison has them all, from Angle Man to Zyklon. 22 Batman throws them into a cell and leaves, telling them to stop talking. Our Superman is done with taking orders, but our Batman explains they must play the long game. Suddenly, they notice their prison mate, and the pieces start clicking (like why Gog’s throne seemed familiar). It is a man, hungry, but not for food, for knowledge. It;s Metron of the New Gods, whose Mobius Chair was taken by Gog.
Meanwhile, David reveals that he is struggling with the lies, with the idea that his old friends and mentors will be stuck here forever, even if it is for a good cause. Gog gently reminds him of what could be lost, and they proceed with the mission. Giving him his ultimate form, Gog turns Thunderman into Magog.
Metron explains Gog’s story to Superman and Batman: Millenia ago, he lived on Urgrund, home of the Then-Gods, a paradise known as the Third World. A god war started, and Gog was the only one to take no sides, protesting the very idea. He was exiled, and Urgrund destroyed itself so thoroughly it split into two worlds: New Genesis and Apokolips.
While the bloodthirsty warriors were granted entry to Valhalla, Gog himself was sentenced to hell for his peace, then descending onto primordial Earth, full of regret, pain, and a bit of madness. He and Metron presided over the birth of humanity, Gog caring for it greatly, instilling in them knowledge right and wrong. But then, he learned of New Genesis and Apokolips. Ten Thousand years of silence later, Gog found who he waited for: David. He demanded the mobius chair. Metron said no. He took it anyway.
Meanwhile, 22 Batman explains to 22 Superman his suspicions. David’s accusations and reactions too much to ignore, his origin without any evidence, his name known to those that should not know. The two go to the prison as allies to our Superman and Batman to talk to them of their suspicions. They heard the entire backstory, and let them go, granting them their weapons and uniforms back.
While the two Supermen make peace, the two Batman discuss what to do about David. Metron reveals what the plan is: Gog will use David’s dimension traversing powers and the chair to get through the multiverse, the speed force wall, the bleed, and wage all out war on Apokolips.
Batman and Superman acknowledge it’s hopeless. And that’s exactly it. The ascension is a suicide mission for all of earth’s heroes…
To be continued…
Story – 4: A really cool chapter full of plot, but in a good way! Gog’s backstory was really interesting, pitiable but also full of sin. I enjoyed how 22 Batman was smart enough to look through the lies, the opening battle was really epic (the Batman line about mastering a martial art Supergirl didn’t bother to was so Kevin Conroy, my god), Superman’s anger and passion felt very fresh in a good way, like, this was a different way of showing his rage when injustice occurs, and I appreciated it, and the one on one between David and Gog was also appreciated, since it reminded us of David’s nuance. Not much in emotion, but as a chapter dedicated to explaining and moving the story along, it was top notch!
Art – 5: Gog’s backstory alone gets this score. Let alone the prison’s aesthetic, Metron’s whole design, the apokolips splash page, the battles, etc.
Cover Art – 2: In terms of just looking good, yeah, it looks good. But what a boring cover. Looks like many in the series. Mediocre.
Variant Cover Art – 4: I like the watercolor aesthetic, plus it fits the story!
Variant Cover Art – 1: Meh. Kinda boring.
Variant Cover Art – 2: Decent Kingdom Come Justice League, but I wouldn’t buy it.
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