“The Origin of the World’s Finest” – Part One
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Travis Moore
Color Artist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Steve Wands
Review by Bryant Lucas
Clark and Bruce team up for the first time, as the Riddler asks a deadly question in this month’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #18.
People are randomly disappearing in Gotham, and no one knows why. Meanwhile, the Riddler’s stolen six million dollars from a vault; however, there’s something strange about the note the Prince of Puzzles left at the crime scene – it’s written in Kryptonian. Needless to say, this concerns Superman, as he’s the only man on Earth who knows the language. This sends him to Gotham in search of Batman’s smartest rogue.
After speaking to Jim Gordon about the crime scene, Superman meets Batman for the first time. Despite their misgivings about each other, the two heroes team up to solve this mystery before the Riddler strikes again, or anyone else disappears.
This isn’t the first time Mark Waid’s decided to write a flashback story as filler between larger arcs. This seems to be a trend for the series, as Waid penned one of the most amazing issues I’ve ever read in World’s Finest #12 (check it out if you haven’t read it). Alas, unlike World’s Finest #12, this month’s issue wasn’t quite as stunning.
For starters, Batman and Superman’s first meeting is well-trodden ground, so this story doesn’t feel as fresh as the rest of the series. Mind you, the issue still oozes with Silver Age charm. It’s a fun read, but it’s just not the same caliber as previous issues.
Moore Ain’t Mora
As is tradition, World’s Finest filler stories always have a guest artist. Previously, DC tapped Emanuela Lupacchino for the gig; however, I suspect she’s busy drawing World’s Finest: Teen Titans. This time they used Travis Moore, and I can’t say his work for this issue is my favorite.
On a technical level, Moore’s work is fine. There’s nothing egregious or offensive about his art, but it doesn’t hold up well against the other artists who’ve worked on this book, especially Dan Mora. Unlike Mora, whose work is technically brilliant and emotionally resonant, Moore’s art feels a tad cold. This is especially true of his Superman, whose stoic demeanor could freeze a glass of water in a Texas summer. Granted, this might not be very fair, as few artists can hold a candle to Dan Mora, who’s a hard act to follow.
World’s Finest #18is just fine, but not spectacular. Waid’s story’s fun but not particularly groundbreaking and Moore’s art is good but not stupendous. For a series that’s been as great as World’s Finest, I’m willing to give the creative team a break. Filler arcs are always hard to execute as they can often feel irrelevant, as a series spins its wheels before getting one with the larger narrative. While this issue doesn’t strike me as totally superfluous, it’s kind of obvious that the team decided to take a break before firing up the creative juices for the next arc, which will pick up with the return of the Boy Thunder and the Kingdom Come storyline.
Final Verdict: It’s good but not great.
Images Courtesy of DC