Oh man, I missed Mark Waid’s work. When he’s on, he’s on.
Issue: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #5, July 2022
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
The Plot: The heroes defeat the Devil Nezha.
Commentary: Oh this was such a Mark Waid story, one that uses the Silver Age’s excessive silliness in smart ways. After the previous issue showed Batman and Superman joining forces in the most literal way possible to knock out Nezha and his growing army of possessed superheroes, they now have a way to beat him. Supergirl knows where his tomb is. The Doom Patrol are parked outside to help. Yeah, there’s a problem with Robin, but that’s for next issue. What’s the problem? Well, Nezha’s prison has to be sealed by someone from the inside. There’s no way out. And since Nezha’s powers are magical in nature, he’d kill anyone left in there with him, even Superman.
Oh, and he’s waking up.
There’s a lot of fun on display here as Superman, Batman, Supergirl, and the Doom Patrol all pile onto Nezha. He takes control of a couple of them but then Robotman of all people figures out a way to slow him down without even trying. Nezha does have weaknesses, but his greatest strength is his adaptability. Whatever the heroes do that hurts him won’t hurt him for long, and even trying to toss him into an alternate prison that would normally under comic book rules be unescapable doesn’t quite work. It has to be the original prison.
Much like the other issues so far, the conclusion comes when Superman and Batman lean on each other’s individual strengths to save the day, finding a loophole to the rules of Nezha’s tomb to keep him locked up without someone else being in there with him…or so I would assume, but there’s some big stuff involving Nezha coming out down the line apparently if that sneak preview at the end of this issue is anything to go by. But for this issue, Superman’s raw power and Batman’s observation skills allow the heroes to prevail.
Now they just need to go find Robin.