DC is going back to the well of one of it’s more successful titles from years gone by. World’s Finest used to tell the tales of Superman and Batman as they went on great adventures as the best of friends. As the Silver Age came and went and we were ushered into a Post Crisis world of a darker Batman and a more down-to-earth Superman, World’s Finest was a mini-series that explored the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader working together to thwart the plans of The Joker and Lex Luthor in 1990. Later, Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness would team up to bring us the exploits of the Dark Knight and Krypton’s Last Son in a book titled simply Superman/Batman. Well, DC has gone to the well again…this time with a twist. Superclerk brings us up to speed on DC’s latest foray into the world of the World’s Finest. Read on to see what he says.
Anyone who has been reading DC Comics knows that when one references the World’s Finest then they are talking about Superman and Batman. These are the two heroes that define heroics in the DCU. Sure there are other heroes that are big as well. Flash, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man… but in the end they all look to these two for guidance.
Superman, a being from another world who found himself on Earth and has become its greatest protector. With the ultimate list of powers he fights the good fight and makes sure that the world is safe for us normal folks.
Batman, a regular human without any special powers. A man with an intense drive to rid his city and eventually the world of pain and fear. He has managed, through hard work and determination, to perfect his body and mind and become the world’s greatest detective and fighter. He is the Batman. You know you’re tough when you get a “The” in front of your name. Not even Superman has that.
But this comic does not feature this crime-fighting duo. Instead, it focuses on their legacy.
In this first issue we get the team up of Red Robin and Nightwing.
Tim Drake is Red Robin. Tim was the third person to carry the mantle of Robin, boy sidekick of the Batman. For years he trained and fought alongside Gotham’s hero and eventually the man under that cowl adopted him. The world believes that Bruce Wayne is dead. Tim refuses to believe that his adopted father is gone and is now searching the world to find clues to where he may be. He has taken up the name and disguise of Red Robin after Dick Grayson, the original Robin, took up the mantle of the Batman and made Damian Wayne his new Robin. Damian Wayne is the biological son of Bruce Wayne and the daughter of one of Batman’s greatest foes, Rahs al ghul.
Christopher Kent is Nightwing. The biological son of General Zod and the adopted son of Clark Kent. Chris has pledged his life to Superman and to follow in his footsteps. Over the last few months Chris has gone from a young boy to a young man due to some growth spurts of unknown origin. His mental minds has progressed as well and he now finds himself a part of a duo with another kryptonian named Thara who has assumed the costumed identity of Flamebird. As Nightwing and Flamebird they hunt down General Zod’s sleeper agents on Earth.
We begin the issue with Red Robin in Amsterdam taking on a biker gang. He’s doing pretty good on his own but receives a little help from Nightwing. At first he thinks it’s Superboy who has helped out but when he sees the newcomer he goes on the defensive until Chris reveals himself. Tim had met him before but Chris had been a little younger at the time.
It turns out Chris has come to Tim for help. Thara has been captured in Gotham City and Tim is the only person Chris trusts to help get her out of harms way.
There is a bit of introduction for a couple pages as DC Comics makes sure we know whom we’re dealing with and usually that causes me to speed read and skim, as I already know the history of these two characters. But this time I read on as the dialogue is natural and flows. Chris needs a friend and, at this point in his life, so does Tim.
There was a bit of griping from the Superman fan community when Chris popped up a couple years ago and was adopted by the Man of Steel. A lot of folks didn’t like it and it didn’t help that the comic appearance came right on the heels of the addition of a biological son for Superman in the most recent Superman movie, Superman Returns. I think Chris got a bad rap for this and wasn’t given a fair chance as his own character.
While I’m a fan of Chris and his addition to the mythology, I haven’t really been a big fan of the age spurts. I liked him as a kid and having to grow up as the son of Superman. But I’m getting over it the more I see him in the comics. He is well written so far and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.
But I digress…
It turns out that the Penguin has Thara locked up and a man known as the Kryptonite Man is keeping her weakened. The point of all this is that Penguin is going to auction her off to the highest bidder for whatever that bidder feels like doing with her. Medical experimentation comes to my mind. I bet you there are a few folks out there who would like to see how a kryptonian works.
Tim and Chris get to the Iceberg Lounge and find that the interior has been coated with liquid lead. I like this as I bet there are a lot of things villains in the DCU do to ward off the stronger heroes. A little lead shielding just in case Superman comes snooping around sounds like something the Penguin would invest in.
Tim goes in first to scope out the situation and soon finds himself face to face with the Penguins goons and needing help in the form of Nightwing. Chris comes up out of the floor and dumps a barrel of the liquid lead onto the Kryptonite Man and manages to take him out of the equation.
With the villains defeated and Thara rescued the heroes help Tim with his work in Amsterdam. He manages to find another clue that may lead him to where Bruce has gone. With the adventure over they go their separate ways. This was a successful team up of the sons of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne.
We also see that another villain of the Superman world has taken the Kryptonite Man away. The Toyman seems to have plans for our green friend. Plans that include him strapped to a medical gurney under the watchful eye of a scalpel-wielding automaton…
It’s a pretty simple issue but I really enjoyed it as the first team up between the adopted sons of the World’s Finest. I liked the intro of the characters and how they trusted each other because of who their fathers were. I want to see more with these two and I’ll definitely be picking up this title from now on.
It looks good for this story and there are a lot of really cool panels that showcase the two heroes but it did have one problem that I see a lot of people doing in comics that feature these to characters.
They make Tim and Chris look too old. I’ll allow for Chris looking older than he should as we really don’t know his age now due to the growth spurts. But we know how old Tim is and ever since he got into the Red Robin costume he has been drawn as if he were in his twenties. He hasn’t graduated high school yet! Anyway…
COVER A: 3/5
While I really enjoyed the look of the cover and the art of Phil Noto I would have liked to have seen a team up cover with both Red Robin and Nightwing instead of just Nighwing.
COVER B: NO RATING
This cover features Red Robin but I have yet to find an image of it. So… yep.
ALL IN ALL –
A great start to what is going to be a four part mini series. I wouldn’t mind a full blown ongoing if all the issues are as good as this one.
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