Review: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #21

by Bryant Lucas
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“Heir to the Kingdom” – Part Two
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Color Artist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Steve Wands
Review by Bryant Lucas

The Man of Steel and The Dark Knight trade blows with their Earth-22 doppelgangers in this month’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #21

In last month’s issue, Batman and Superman embarked on a multiverse-spanning quest to locate their erstwhile protégé, David, also known as Boy Thunder. This journey brought them to Earth-22, the setting of Mark Waid’s “Kingdom Come.” Readers last encountered him in #11, where he was drawn into a multiversal vortex. It was also disclosed that the teenager would eventually evolve into Magog, a key adversary in “Kingdom Come.” Thus, the “Heir to the Kingdom” story arc resumes from the conclusion of World’s Finest #11, charting Boy Thunder’s metamorphosis into Magog.

Predictably, the encounter is fraught with tension. Adopting the new alias Thunderman, David confronts the Batman and Superman of Earth-0, feeling betrayed by his once mentors. As the conflict intensifies, Earth-22’s Batman and Superman also become involved, leading to a remarkable showdown. The scene features a clash of doubles as the Supermen and Batmen from different universes engage in a dramatic battle.

Double or Nothing

Mark Waid appears intent on revising the Kingdom Come storyline, along with its interconnected narratives. Since its debut, this classic tale has inspired numerous prequels and sequels over the years, with The Kingdom being the only one penned by Waid himself. However, this follow-up received a lukewarm reception, making “Heir to the Kingdom” seem like Waid’s opportunity to fix things. The progress is promising so far.

While last month’s issue primarily set the stage, World’s Finest #21 is markedly more thrilling. The battles between the hero duos are a highlight, showcasing Waid’s skill in crafting engaging dialogue, particularly among the different Batmen and Earth-22’s Nightwing.

What truly elevates the anticipation for next month’s issue is the staggering finale. Waid brings back a character from the “Kingdom Come” universe in a way that’s both thrilling and significant. This iteration of the character appears distinct from previous versions, adding to the excitement. It’s intriguing to see where Waid will take this story, as he seems to be gearing up for a narrative of grand scale and deep impact.

Mora Channeling Ross

Dan Mora’s artwork in this issue continues to impress with its impeccable quality. His style is sleek, stylish, unique, and highly expressive. The layout of the pages aligns perfectly with the story’s rhythm, enhancing its impact. Particularly notable are the dynamic and entertaining fight sequences, such as the exhilarating depiction of two beloved Superman versions in intense combat. Mora’s consistent excellence continues to demonstrate that he can hardly put a foot wrong.

In this issue, Mora demonstrates a deep understanding of the Kingdom Come aesthetic. The original was illustrated (some may even say illuminated) by the legendary Alex Ross, whose unique vision helped cement the series as a classic. Ross, known often harkens back to the storytelling and styles of the Gold, Silver, and, to some extent, Bronze Age. In Kingdom Come, he portrays the Justice League of America (JLA) characters as evolved versions of their Bronze Age selves.

In contrast, the new generation of heroes, marked by their moral flaws, are depicted in a style reminiscent of Rob Liefeld’s gaudy, EXTREME-MAX, Moutain Dew-chugging aesthetic. This style was all the rage during the 90s and is known for featuring superheroes with muscles larger than their heads and no feet. Mora, aware of this legacy, captures the essence of the Kingdom Come JLA characters brilliantly. His portrayal echoes Ross’ concept of “logical extension” from the original series, maintaining the integrity and depth of the original artwork.


World’s Finest #21 is the ideal sequel to Kingdom Come. It faithfully preserves the essence of the original while infusing it with unexpected turns and deeper layers. Mark Waid’s decision to revisit one of his most acclaimed works is a bold move, particularly considering that his previous attempt at revisiting this universe was met with mixed responses.

Dan Mora’s artistic contributions remain a high point; he consistently delivers exceptional art for a series with demanding expectations. Overall, the title stands out as an exceptional piece, blending nostalgia and innovation seamlessly.

Final Verdict: Perfection wouldn’t be an inappropriate adjective.

10 out of 10

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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