Review: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #24

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

Batman, Superman, and the heroes of Earth-22 square off against Darkseid in this month’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #24.

The diety Gog has bitten off more than he can chew in his attempt to conquer the Lord of Apokolips. His hubris has led him to manipulate the heroes of Earth-22 in a risky assault on Apokolips. Driven by a personal grievance against Darkseid, Gog sought to usurp the oppressive ruler, willing to use Earth-22’s heroes as pawns for his revenge.

Unforeseen by Gog, the Batman and Superman of Earth-0 arrived on Earth-22, searching for David, Superman’s one-time mentee who is now Gog’s follower, Magog. With the support of Earth-22’s heroes, they managed to defeat Gog. However, their triumph was overshadowed by Gog’s prior action of opening a portal to Apokolips.

As World’s Finest #24 unfolds, Darkseid steps through this portal onto Earth. Learning that Gog possesses a piece of the Anti-Life Equation, the New God moves towards the fallen Gog, eager to claim this powerful element. Meanwhile, our heroes prepare to confront Darkseid, hoping to thwart his plans and protect what Gog has endangered.

A Muted Climax

Mark Waid has spent the past four issues building to this moment, where the World’s Finest of Earth-0 battled alongside Magog and the heroes of Earth-22 against Darkseid. Unfortunately, this climax felt anticlimactic. The battle with Darkseid strangely lacked action, as the villain just marched towards Gog while swatting away each hero that stood in his way. So in terms of action sequences, this issue offers little in the way of bombast.

However, where this issue is lacking in terms of physical conflict, it succeeds in terms of exploring emotional turmoil when Magog makes a controversial decision that challenges the conventional heroic morality of heroism. Therefore, the gravitas of this issue is more about interpersonal conflict than it is about physical. The ending of Waid’s arc is designed to give insight into the events of Kingdom Come, fleshing out Magog’s motivations and actions in the famous graphic novel, and ultimately, Waid succeeds in this task.

Mora’s Finest

Dan Mora excels in the pacing of the issue, masterfully maintaining tension throughout despite the script’s minimal action sequences. His skillful use of paneling and page layouts amplifies the story’s suspense. The scene where Darkseid battles a whole cadre of heroes is remarkably intense. Mora’s artistic prowess transforms what could have been a standard scene into a compelling moment of narrative tension.

Furthermore, one of the highlights of Mora’s artwork is his homage to iconic scenes from “Kingdom Come.” In a particularly memorable segment, the narrative momentarily leaps forward to the climactic showdown between Captain Marvel (SHAZAM!) and Superman from Kingdom Come.

Witnessing Mora’s reinterpretation of Alex Ross’ legendary artwork is genuinely captivating. He respectfully maintains the original compositions while infusing his unique stylistic touch, creating a blend that is both familiar and fresh. Observing one artist pay tribute to another in such a skillful manner is indeed a delightful experience.

Conclusion

Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #24 isn’t what I wanted, as I would’ve liked to have seen a longer, more protracted conflict between Darkseid and the heroes. Alas, I’m not a master storyteller like Mark Waid, so take my comments for what they’re worth. Waid’s ending was fine, but I feel like he left quite a bit of storytelling equity on the table. The invocation of the New Gods brings with it significant weight and expectation, yet it felt as though their narrative impact was only lightly explored.

Mora, on the other hand, killed it. His work brings a vivid dimension to the undeniably captivating story, showcasing his remarkable ability to convey emotion and tension through visuals. His artwork alone is worth the price of admission.

Final Verdict: It’s good, but temper your expectations.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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