Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20 Review


Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Dan Mora
Colors by: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by: Steve Wands
Cover art by: Dan Mora (cover A)
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: October 17, 2023

Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20 brings good news and bad news to Superman when the Flash's multiverse-mapping hobby leads him to Earth-22 and David, aka Boy Thunder.
Is Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20 Good?

Well, this is an unexpected treat. The last two issues of World's Finest were fine, but they felt like an overall step backward because the focus seemed to lie with setting up things for later rather than telling a thrilling story (the guest artist didn't help). Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20 brings the series back to form with an intriguing, gorgeous setup for a possible prequel to one of Dan Waid's most respected works - Kingdom Come - and this issue is off to a rousing start.

Waid's script centers on the World's Finest breaking up a new cabal of Wonder Woman villains calling themselves Villainy Inc. when the Flash arrives to settle the fight and inform Superman he's found David, aka Boy Thunder, on Earth-22. Desperate to keep his word and bring David "home," Flash helps Batman and Superman to Earth-22 on a specially modified cosmic treadmill with the warning that their arrival might cause some time displacement hiccups.


Watch Our World's Finest #20 Video Review

Batman and Superman arrive on Earth-22 in incorporeal form to witness a funeral for many heroes, attended by a much older Batman and Superman. David, an old man, watches nearby. Suddenly, the duo shifts in time and space to become solid, but they're further back in the Earth-22 timeline, so the events of the funeral haven't happened yet.

The world's finest lay low to gather intel until a supervillain attacked, and they witnessed an adult David, now called Thunderman, arrive on the scene. Superman quickly heads out for a reunion, but it doesn't go as planned.

I often harp on writer's creating imbalance - either through too much action with not enough story or decompression or some other modern failing. Here, Waid balances the script just right with action, mystery, wow moments, and drama. Of course, getting Mora back on the art duties is a big plus.

What's great about Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20? This issue is one of the rare circumstances where a solid setup in David's first arc is leading to a solid start in this arc. The story feels like a proper prequel to Kingdom Come without resorting to retcon silliness or disturbing the continuity of what made the original so great. So far, everything fits, and if Waid sticks the landing, this arc has the potential to make Kingdom Come even better.

What's not so great about Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20? Admittedly, this issue doesn't hit as hard if you've never read Kingdom Come or get the context. There should have been one more editor's note directing readers to pick up Kingdom Come or at least point out key references.

How's the art? Dan Mora's art is the high bar for all DC Comics artists to match. The figure work, gestures, and facial acting for the characters are darn near perfect. Plus, the action is a lot of fun.

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

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Bits and Pieces:

Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20 gets back to the original creative team with a captivating story that seems to be setting up a prequel to Kingdom Come. Waid's timing and scene ideas are perfect, and Mora's art is the best of any book in DC.


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