“Elementary” – Part Three
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Color Artist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Steve Wands
Review by Bryant Lucas
Since Batman and Superman stumbled upon the mysterious murder of billionaire Simon Stagg, their luck has seemed to go from bad to worse. Their investigation led them to the laboratory of Dr. Ivo where they encountered a new, evil version of Metamorpho named – wait for it – Ultramorpho (because everything sounds cooler when you put ‘ultra’ in front of it)! Like his predecessor, Ultramorpho can manipulate elements; however, unlike the original, he can also generate extraterrestrial elements like… oh I don’t know… Kryptonite. Needless to say, the fight doesn’t go well for our heroes.
Chat GPT Eat Your Heart Out
As I’m sure many of you know, AI is finally here, and it’s terrifying. While it may not look like a Terminator-esque android, AI programs like Chat GPT can emulate human language skills on an alarming level. I teach high school English, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that my students have at some point this year pulled a fast one on me and used Chat GPT on an assignment. There are days when I’m convinced that we are one mad scientist away from the Matrix. The techno-overlords are coming, mark my words.
I say all of this for context. After reading World’s Finest #15, it’s clear that Mark Waid shares my anxieties around AI. However, the cool thing about this issue is that he’s managed to take all of the current discourse around the subject and wrap it in a Silver Age sheen. Waid uses the wacky science fiction villains of the 50s and 60s to comment on the current state of AI, and does so in a way that doesn’t feel preachy or overly serious. It’s goofy – just like the rest of the series.
Mora Robots Please
World’s Finest has to be a dream assignment for Dan Mora, after all, we’re 15 issues in, and he’s had the chance to draw an ancient Chinese demon, a fusion dance style Super-Bats, the origin of Magog, a swarm of monkeys ruining Robin and Supergirl’s date, and now an army of killer robots hell-bent on subjugating humanity. What more could a person want in an assignment?
Kidding aside, Dan Mora once again kicks @$$ and takes names. His work is vibrant, detailed, and bombastic. He captures the absurdity of the situation while basking in the glory of Mark Waid’s Neo-Silver Age shenanigans. He’s obviously having fun because art never looks this good when the person drawing isn’t having fun. Tamra Bonvillain’s colors, as always, consistently manage to make Mora’s art shine even brighter.
In typical fashion, World’s Finest #15 is a hard pivot into a different genre. This arc started as a “who-done-it?”, and now it’s become a Sci-Fi techno-apocalypse. Please, don’t forget, this is only issue number three in the arc. By the end of this story, Batman and Superman could be riding a giant space dragon while jousting with the Balrog, but that’s the fun of World’s Finest. Does the book move too fast? At times, yes, but it’s never boring.
Final Verdict: Did I mention there’s an army of Killer Robots?
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment