You know what I like so much about a lot of Mark Waid’s work? It doesn’t matter how old or familiar the characters he’s writing are. They just seem like they’re more themselves or something, and there’s always a bit of creative fun.
So, getting Waid on a team-up book with two of DC’s oldest and most familiar characters is just gonna be a lot of fun.
Issue: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #2, April 2022
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
The Plot: After a little surgery, Batman and Superman get to work on finding a new, but very old, enemy.
Commentary: This series, apparently, is set in an earlier day. How early? I’m not sure. The World’s Finest pair are good friends who’ve been working together for a while, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of, say, Jon Kent or Damien Wayne anywhere. I was wondering who the Robin was in this series, seeing as how he was wearing pants, and it turns out it’s Dick Grayson, and he even says at one point the pants are new and he’s trying them out.
But man, the first issue ended with the Doom Patrol showing up to help. Metallo had injected a lot of red kryptonite into Superman’s heart, and the mutations physical and mental were driving him crazy with only Batman knowing how to talk him down long enough for Negative Man to hold the radiation back temporarily. Batman had called Niles Caulder because he’s the one guy who can probably help Superman in a situation like this. So…that’s most of the issue, right? Curing Superman?
See, Waid knows how to plot a book too. There’s a lot out there that to move the story along, and it’s going to be fun and maybe even exciting. Having Superman sit on a gurney for 22 pages as Batman worries probably won’t happen even if Robin is freaking out after checking out the Doom Patrol’s basement between panels. Superman actually gets cured, and Caulder even knows who the mastermind behind the attack on Superman and Batman actually is. It’s…the Demon Nezha!
I think he’s a new character. An ancient powerful warlord’s favored son died young, so he gave away every bit of power and his entire fortune until he found a wizard, years later, who could revive his boy. That worked, too! But it turned out Nezha wasn’t very grateful seeing the lowly state his powerful father put himself into in order to revive his ungrateful brat son. Using his knowledge of magic, Nezha then reclaimed everything his father lost/surrendered in order to get back what he figures is rightfully his. He was (temporarily) defeated by some powerful heroes from what is today China, and since his revival, he’s been recruiting supervillains for his new cult, offering power if they take out his enemies that just so happen to be their enemies.
Oh, and Superman and Batman weren’t the only targets. Felix Faust, for one, is picking on a kid named Billy Batson while other heroes are under attack in other places. Fortunately, Superman can call for help, and that means while he and Batman go help Billy, Supergirl and Robin can do some time travel and find out how to beat Nezha.
The Superman and Batman material is all pretty good as two friends who know each other very well, but I gotta say, the Supergirl/Robin stuff might be more interesting since the two actually don’t get along, even alluding to what sounds like a disastrous date of some kind. What happened there? I don’t know, but I do want to find out.
That’s the other thing about a good Mark Waid book: I do tend to want to read more.
Comic Review: King Of Spies
Noteworthy Issues: Green Arrow #1 (April, 2023)
The X-Files “Hell Money”