Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #4
Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 21, 2022
Cover date: August 2022
“The Devil Nezha” – Chapter Four: “The Devil’s Secret”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Derrick Chew, Freddie E. Williams II and Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia
Reviewed by: Tony Parker
Superman and Batman find themselves face to face with the possessed Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), who attacks both of them with a stronger than ever power ring. Batman rightly deduces that the ring has been augmented by magic, which Nezha confirms, grabbing the Dark Knight by the throat to threaten him. While Superman attempts to stave off the Emerald Knight, Nezha tells Batman of how he escaped, spending three millennia crafting his own original spell. Enraged by how human society had barely advanced, he decided to use his possession powers to bring about ‘real progress’ and grant himself an army.
Batman correctly figures out that Nezha wants an army to fight some other enemy, and that he’s possessing the heroes to protect himself from them. Nezha throws him away, avoiding the question. Meanwhile, Green Lantern is about to slice Superman with an axe, when Batman shows up with the Philosopher’s Stone. Using their combined will power to battle the still strong but not as powerful willpower of a Green Lantern, Superman and Batman will the ring towards them, and unite into one composite body and force.
Meanwhile, in the past, Supergirl and Robin learn the truth of how Nezha was imprisoned from the Warriors of Ji, and begin to travel back to the present. But thanks to a time storm, Robin is lost in a pocket of time, forcing Supergirl to fly back as quickly as she can to the present to explain the situation.
Back in the present, the composite Superman/Batman find themselves facing off a horde of Nezha possessed heroes: Kid Flash (The original Wally West), Wonder Girl (Donna Troy), Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond), Red Tornado, Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz), and Black Canary (Dinah Lance). They manage to fight them off too, but their power level is quickly dissipating. Robot Man informs the heroes that he and the rest of the Doom Patrol had found the original prison of Nezha, and that perhaps it can be used again. The composite Superman/Batman decide to take Nezha up to space, who has already turned the civilians around him into his legion. The power running out just before Superman/Batman can knock him out, Nezha seems to gain the upper hand, only for Supergirl to fly into him and smash him into a mountain, knocking him out temporarily. Superman and Batman (now separated) and the Doom Patrol reconvene with her, only to discover the awful truth: In order to imprison Nezha, one of them must shut the door the only way it can be shut, from the inside…
To Be Continued…
Story – 3: This might seem like a harsh score, and it probably is, but as action heavy issues go, this one has some fun highs, but not much going around it.
The story is taking its time, which is fine, and good, as I have said in previous reviews, but yeah, this one was a little more padded than usual.
The opening is pretty cool, to be fair, the willpower fight especially, and Batman and Nezha’s confrontation, but Superman feels very left out, and the composite Superman/Batman gets little to do. There are some great bits (like shutting Black Canary’s sonic scream, encasing Kid Flash’s feet, flying up into space with Nezha) but overall, it feels like very little happens, especially when no real character moments occur. Superman barely speaks outside of ‘plot moving dialogue’, Batman is to the same affect, and the only real moments of emotion occur from the Warriors of Ji, and the very final page.
That is not to say that the plot just stands still, of course! Escalation has been excellent in this story, every issue making us think Nezha can’t get stronger, only for him to do exactly that! He has now managed to form legion with at the very least the people of Central City, and he still has tons of heroes under his control or out of commission. Even better is that he’s now knocked out, showing that he’s not insanely over powerful.
The ending was also great, a twist I really didn’t see coming, and surely makes one wonder who could be the sacrifice. It can’t be the title heroes, for obvious reasons, and it’s surely unlikely to be Supergirl or Robin. Perhaps a member of the Doom Patrol, but I can’t recall any foreshadowing to that effect. Regardless, the stakes have risen exponentially, and the next issue might be the emotional gut punch that is needed to take what has been a very good, fun story, and make it great!
So, in short, solid issue, but the weakest of the run, though the willpower sequence is recommended from me!
Art – 4: Solid as ever, the composite Superman/Batman managed to look cool and not silly, the poses weren’t static, and the willpower sequence was blindingly green in a great way!
Cover Art – 2: Average at best. One could almost mistake it for Green Lantern teaming up with them. The lighting isn’t bad, but again, pretty basic cover.
Variant Cover Art – 3: Only spotted one, and it’s pretty nifty! Lois and Catwoman as a variant makes sense as a symbolic character swap, and it has a nice, photo-realistic edge. Love the papers flying around!
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