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Batman/Superman: World's Finest #20
DC Comics

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‘Batman/Superman: World’s Finest’ #20 returns to a familiar and dark world

I can’t wait to see what these three have in store for The Dark Knight and the Red-Blue Blur.

“My loss of faith derived from the continual reminder, on a moment-to-moment basis, to me and everyone I ever loved, that we were insignificant. It was about my realization that the imminent possibility of the loss of our lives and even our immortal souls did not matter a damn, either to God or to His emissaries on Earth. It was a world without Superman.” – Elliot S. Maggin, writer of the Kingdom Come novelization.

Kingdom Come is a tale for the ages. I remember in my youth reading the story and being in complete awe as I digested the horror of it all. It was a world where superheroes failed, turned to the other side, or simply hid away, trying to live a simple life. Superman had been one of those heroes if not dragged back into the war due to Magog. And of course, off in the corner, the Spectre and a priest who was losing his faith was watching silently as these heroes went off to war and most likely breathed their last breaths. It was a tragic story and one that has influenced how I write and analyze comic books.

My connection to Mark Waid has always been one of respect as I understand a great deal of his love for comics as I, and many others from Alabama, grew to love TV shows such Shazam! (Formerly known as The Shazam!/Isis Hour) and admiring the writer’s exploits as he’s become a remarkable figure in the southern comic book scene. Naturally, hearing of Waid returning to the world of Kingdom Come through his and Dan Mora’s World’s Finest left me and others excited as this is the first time since Supergirl and The Legion of Super-Heroes has Waid returned to a project he once worked on and while he has written various spin-off stories in universe, the inclusion of an Earth-Prime Magog has put the spotlight back on the desolate landscape known as Kingdom Come.

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DC Preview: Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20

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What I found most interesting about this return to Earth-22 is how Waid and Mora lean into the idea of how our versions of Superman and Batman would feel about it all. We enter the comic worried for Boy Thunder’s safety that much like Clark and Bruce, we immediately feel the weight of what this universe has to offer with the lifeless body of Clark’s cousin Kara Zor-El with her indestructible boob-window and the grave of Dick Grayson, known on this Earth as Red Robin. Much like the original story itself, Waid uses the horror of it all to dissect the characters, in this case, using the failures of Earth-22 Clark Kent to spark fear into the eyes of Earth-Prime Clark Kent. All around it presents a good mental case for the general destruction of humanity that is seen within the story. It’s clear that Waid wants this to be a big story as he ditches the unusual World’s Finest format he’s built up to write in a similar format to when he originally wrote the story and while it’s still as effective as it was back then, there are some problems with that as some scenes feel strangely paced. However, for the first issue of a new arc that is expected territory, especially for one this big. To sum it up: it feels like Waid needed more pages. 

What saves a lot of the pacing is how Dan Mora’s artwork keeps the book feeling as dramatic and dynamic as possible with strong action and horror as he brings back the nightmarish imagery from his days working on Klaus and Once and Future. Speaking of his days on Once and Future, his art is brilliantly paired with Tamara Bonvillan’s coloring which adds to the action and horror we see throughout the story. If any artist/colorist duo will be remembered, it will surely be them. Mora and Bonvillan are the strongest creative duo I’ve seen in a long time and their work together remains a pleasant treat. Even as they work separately, their work shines as Mora kills it on Shazam! and Bonvillan does stunning work on Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville. Waid benefits from having the strongest industry professionals on his side that despite minor problems, the book always comes out amazingly. 

DC Preview: Batman / Superman: World's Finest #20

DC Comics

Ultimately, what carries World’s Finest is the strong collaborative nature it has from issue to issue, and this installment is no exception. I believe Waid, Mora, and Bonvillan are crafting an exciting new era of Earth-22 and despite minor pacing issues this could end up being one of the strongest arcs in this crazy adventure called Batman/Superman: World’s Finest. I can’t wait to see what these three have in store for The Dark Knight and the Red-Blue Blur.

Batman/Superman: World's Finest #20
‘Batman/Superman: World’s Finest’ #20 returns to a familiar and dark world
Batman/Superman: World's Finest #20
A strong but awkwardly paced introduction to a new and important storyline. I believe Waid, Mora, and Bonvillan have something special despite minor problems within the script.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.8
Waid returns to Earth-22 and doesn't hold back. His script is strong and shows that no matter what, Kingdom Come is always going to be a story with a universe he has plans for.
Mora and Bonvillan's art keep getting stronger with every issue and they return to their darker 'Once and Future' roots with a lot of the imagery throughout each page.
Sadly, despite Waid's near perfect streak, the pacing suffers from moments where it feels like he needed more room in the script. While this doesn't impact the story it causes some scenes to feel messy.
9
Great
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