July 16, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #19 (September, 2023)

Superman and Batman team up for the first time to stop a Phantom Zone escapee.

Well, Mark Waid decided a cruise ship team-up was not going to be the thing that brought the World’s Finest team together on his series.

No, he went for something that seems more appropriate somehow.

Issue:  World’s Finest: Batman/Superman #19, September 2023

Writer:  Mark Waid

Artist:  Travis G Moore

The Plot:  Jax-Ur got out of the Phantom Zone, and it’s up to Batman and Superman to stop him!

Commentary:  Don’t let that cover fool you:  the Riddler is barely in this issue.  The previous issue in this two-part story showed the Riddler was a victim of a telepathic voice that had him leaving riddles in Kryptonese, and that means Superman had to read the riddles for Batman to solve.  There was something going on with the Phantom Zone where random Gothamites, including Alfred, got sucked into the Phantom Zone, and the Krytponian criminal Jax-Ur uses that weakness to effectively switch places with Batman, putting the Dark Knight in the Phantom Zone while he gets out to run around Earth and try to make himself the last son of Krypton instead of Jor-El’s little boy all grown up.

However, one thing Waid does well with his scripts here is make it a team effort.  This isn’t just a case of Superman’s working alone to stop a bad guy.  Batman has just as vital a role to play as basically the strategist here.  This story is set earlier in Superman’s career, so it’s noted he doesn’t really know how to fight, largely because he doesn’t really need to.  Likewise, Batman can’t stand up to a guy like Jax-Ur by himself, but he can help Superman set up a trap or two to stop the guy.

Complete with some plot thread for a future storyline, Waid and Moore’s new origin story for the World’s Finest duo works as well as it does because there’s a clear affection for this era and these characters.  The series as a whole is set earlier in the pair’s respective skills, so it makes sense that there’s a more Silver Age feel to the adventures.  I just know this series is a lot of fun, and I intend to stick with it.

Grade:  A-