Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Batman / Superman: World's Finest #19 Review


Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Travis Moore
Colors by: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by: Steve Wands
Cover art by: Dan Mora
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: September 19, 2023

Batman/Superman: World's Finest #19 wraps up (another) first meeting between Superman and Batman when Jax-Ur's escape from the Phantom Zone portends a mysterious alien who could cause much worse trouble in the future.
Is Batman/Superman: World's Finest #19 Good?

I get it, but I don't know if I like it. Batman/Superman: World's Finest #19 brings yet another retelling of Batman and Superman's first meeting to a close when they have to team up to stop Jax-Ur and send him back to the Phantom Zone. I like the Golden Age simplicity of the story and the clever way Mark Waid got Batman to participate in the fight, but the ending sure feels like this two-parter was an excuse to set up something else.

When last we left the World's Finest, Jax-Ur was revealed to be the villain manipulating Riddler to create crimes that brought Superman and Batman to a fateful warehouse confrontation. Jax-Ur intended to swap places with Superman but nicked Batman instead, leaving Superman in an unexpected fight against a better-trained Kryptonian and Batman trapped in the Phantom Zone.

Now, we learn Jax-Ur's escape and the disappearances of random citizens (including Alfred) are due to a weakening of the Phantom Zone's dimensional barrier, a weakening Jax-Ur was clever enough to take advantage of by telepathically controlling Riddler. Batman telepathically works with Superman to find more open portals, eventually escaping the Phantom Zone and working with Superman at the Fortress of Solitude to trick Jax-Ur back to where he belongs. However, the weakening of the Phantom Zone wasn't Jax-Ur's doing, which means Aethyr will become a formidable threat in the future.

Mark Waid makes no bones about deep cuts in this series, so if you're not familiar with the name, Aethyr is a being associated with the Phantom Zone who hasn't been seen since the 1980s. If the closing credits of this issue are any indication, Aethyr will do more than make a cameo in 2024.

What's great about Batman/Superman: World's Finest #19? Waid's ending to this two-parter feels like old-school, simplified superhero action. Batman's deception to Jax-Ur works well to incorporate Batman in the fight without actually getting into the fight, and any opportunity to revisit Jax-ur is the next best thing to General Zod is a welcome one.

What's not so great about Batman/Superman: World's Finest #19? Again, I've lost count of the number of "first meetings" (and better versions) between Superman and Batman, so this two-parter felt like it was an off-the-cuff excuse to re-introduce Aethyr. This is still one of the best DC comics out this week, but certainly not the best of the run.

How's the art? It's hard not to draw comparisons between Travis Moore (guest artist) and Dan Mora (main artist), but the comparisons are unavoidable. Moroe is excellent, but Mora is better. The comic still looks great, either way.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Batman/Superman: World's Finest #19 concludes Jax-Ur's escape from the Phantom Zone with plenty of high-flying heroics, clever twists, and cool art. That said, retelling (again) Superman and Batman's first meeting felt like a quick excuse to set up a deep-cut villain, prepping to make a splash later in the year.


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