Review: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 2024 Annual

“IMPeriled”, “The Ties that Bind”, “Sting Like a Bee”, and “Time Check”
Writers: Mark Waid, Cullen Bunn, Dennis Culver, Stephanie Williams, Christopher Cantwell
Artists: Edwin Galmon, Travis Mercer, Rosi Kampe, Jorge Fornes
Color Artists: Lee Loughridge, Andrew Dalhouse, Jordie Bellaire, Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Steve Wands
Review by Bryant Lucas

A group of troublesome Imps targets Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite in this week’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 2024 Annual.

Gathering for a unique meeting, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite bring together what could be seen as the Fifth Dimension’s version of the Justice League: a collection of Imps inspired by their favorite Justice League members. However, it quickly becomes apparent that this group is more akin to a fan club than a superhero team.

Discussions about which Justice League member is the superior hero dominate their meeting, which is abruptly interrupted by the arrival of a serious threat to the Fifth Dimension. This new challenge presents a significant risk, unlike anything they’ve previously faced.

The World’s Not-So-Finest Anthology

Before sharing my insights on the “IMPeriled” narrative, I must admit something: anthology issues typically don’t appeal to me. As hinted at in the subheading, the Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 2024 Annual indeed presents itself as a sizable anthology collection.

This edition contains four distinct tales, each nestled within the “World’s Finest” timeline. It kicks off with the story involving the Imps, followed by an escapade featuring Metamorpho. Subsequently, we’re then treated to an origin story for Bumble Bee from the Teen Titans, before concluding with a brief journey alongside the Challengers of the Unknown.

The overarching aim of this issue is to enrich the “World’s Finest” timeline, providing depth to its universe while laying the groundwork for forthcoming story arcs. However, my critique lies in the issue’s lack of cohesion. The stories, each crafted by different creative teams, seem to exist in isolation from one another. Only one of the tales appears to have a direct impact on the series’ future direction. It’s important to clarify: the stories themselves aren’t inherently flawed. They simply seem, at best, only loosely connected to the main title.

With regards to “IMPeriled,” I’ve chosen to focus on this story for a specific reason: it’s authored by Mark Waid, which sets it apart as the most relevant part of this collection. This plot seems to hint at what’s to come, providing a glimpse into future storylines. It’s enjoyable, particularly because Waid and Bunn extend the roster of Fifth Dimensional Imps to include figures beyond the well-known Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite.

For the first time, we see Imp versions of Aquaman, Black Canary, and the like, introducing fresh faces to the mix. This expansion offers new narrative possibilities, suggesting that other heroes might soon encounter their own fifth-dimensional doppelgängers.

The ending of “IMPeriled” leaves us on a particularly intriguing note, as Waid subtly reveals his intentions for the series’ direction post the Kingdom Come arc, making me excited for what’s ahead.

No Mora?

In this particular story, Edwin Galmon steps in for Waid’s frequent collaborator, Dan Mora. Galmon’s artwork brings its own unique flair, well-matched for the whimsicality of the fifth dimension. His portrayal of the Imps is notably cartoonish, complementing the story’s playful tone effectively. However, the coloring by Lee Loughridge introduces a somewhat jarring, digital texture to the illustrations, which doesn’t quite gel with the overall aesthetic.

The most noticeable difference, though, lies in the transition from Dan Mora’s signature style to that of Galmon’s. Mora has crafted a distinctive and polished visual identity for the World’s Finest series, characterized by its clarity, vibrancy, and often grandiose quality. While Edwin Galmon and his team offer commendable work, it inevitably contrasts with Mora’s iconic contributions. Mora’s regarded as one of the top talents in the industry, setting a high benchmark that is challenging for anyone to meet.

Conclusion

It’s hard for me to truly recommend the Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 2024 Annual. While there are moments of fun, it ultimately strikes me as superfluous. Waid and Bunn’s story is great, but the others are mostly lackluster. Considering the price of the book, I strongly suggest you flip through it before making your purchase.

Final Verdict: It just feels like a cash grab.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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