Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #23
Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 16, 2024
Cover date: March 2024
“Heir to the Kingdom” – Chapter Four: “The Will and The Way”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Jason Shawn Alexander, Sebastian Fiumara, Dan Mora, Michael Walsh
Reviewed by: Tony Parker
In Gog’s Saharan Citadel, Earth-22, Gog explains to Magog that his name means gateway, and that it was he that got him to decide to stop preventing humanity from discovering the multiverse, thanks to his unique transdimensional energy, the key to the grand ascension. Gog asks a seemingly hesitant Magog to gather their “flock”, but then, Superman, Batman, Earth-22 Superman and Earth-22 Batman arrive, ready to stop him.
The Batmen charge through the window, carrying Magog with them, initiating “Divide and Conquer”. Both Supermen then order Gog to stand down, lest he answer to what he did to their friends and David. Gog strikes, tired of their ingratitude. Magog also fights back, trying to get the Batmen to see that Gog is going to make them all immortal, to lift them up.
The Supermen counter, stating that Darkseid is unimaginably more powerful than all of them, asking Gog why he would lead earth’s heroes on a suicide mission. Gog replies that it is to earn what he was unjustly denied long ago: To die in noble combat and finally go to Valhalla.
David meanwhile tries to fight back the Batmen, who keep on insisting that he can be forgiven and come home, saying they know he is hesitant over the plan. Batman tells David that Superman thought of him as a son, that he thought he could be a great hero, was a good person. David’s resolve loosens as Batman reminds him that Superman never lies.
The Supermen ask why Gog is only doing this to one earth and he explains that it was a multiverse cataclysm that destroyed his people. Gog truly believes that he is leading these people to heaven. Earth-22 Superman retorts, saying that to him they might seem like fleeting sparks, but their fate is their own to decide. Gog decides to kill him first, but then Magog and the other heroes charge in, ready to stop him. Gog cares not, telling them to attack, as his plan is about to commence anyway.
While the other heroes battle Gog, Batman picks Superman up from the rubble and ponders if perhaps Gog has the anti-life equation, and that’s how he has managed to manipulate all of them. The stakes are now universal. With this realization, Batman tells both Superman that this is a job for them, and to fight like never before.
And so, they do, sending Gog crashing down, blood spraying.
With the mad god defeated, Superman tells David it’s okay, as he apologizes, and the heroes clean up…
Except they don’t.
Darkseid is here…
To Be Concluded…
Story – 4: An excellent penultimate issue here, juggling an epic fight with the necessary emotional core of David’s redemption! The fight feels appropriately claustrophobic and big, Gog taking up most of the page each time, and the David parts really hit hard, showcasing his self pity and insecurities. The art was excellent, Gog feeling like more of a character than ever, his delusions really adding to the story!
I will admit that there are a few drawbacks, however, hence the 4. The fight could probably have more moments, as it feels a little limited, and the two Supermen just taking down Gog with one double strike is a little anticlimactic. Though, hearing Batman say “This is a job for Supermen!” kinda makes it worth it!
Mostly, this works for the writing of Gog and David’s turn, plus some great battling. Just wanted a bit more, but usually that’s a good sign! This story is really hitting the heights now, but can it deliver on the final issue, with the genuinely gasp inducing entrance of Darkseid (which definitely solidifies the 4 rating)? We shall soon see, but if the final issue lands, this could easily be the other best arc of the book, alongside Boy Thunder!
Art – 5: Gog himself deserves the 5. It’s so easy to go for generic poses, but Mora manages to instill real emotion and madness in Gog without reverting to an eternal stone face of badass or evil grin. Plus David’s poses are great, the splash pages are cool, and Darkseid looks appropriately menacing.
Cover Art – 4: It’s a really cool cover, the thunder, poses, omega beams, they all really add! Just wish it fit a bit more, maybe Gog on the cover too? Still, really cool cover!
Variant Cover Art – 3: Pretty cool Kingdom Come looks, decent!
Variant Cover Art – 2: Not sure what’s the point of this Magog killing Joker cover, unless it’s a reference I’m missing. Okay, I suppose.
Variant Cover Art – 4: It’s just the main cover but textless. I mean, it looks even cooler, but still.
Variant Cover Art – 4: Not a fan of the scary Superman but no denial that this is a sick cover!
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