Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #13 review

Where’s Metamorpho? That’s the question on Dan Mora’s unusual cover, with its animation vibe – I can just hear the Hanna-Barbera running sound effects as Superman and Batman, complete with wildly flapping utility belt, run across the world, searching for the Element Man. Below, Metamorpho grins as he lives his best life.

Someone who isn’t living his best life is billionaire Simon Stagg, Metamorpho’s awful employer and father of sweetheart Sapphire.

With the body having been found in the hotel Metro, Superman is the obvious hero to investigate. With Batman being such a know-all, he’s not going to let the Man of Steel go it alone. As for Metamorpho…

The Titanic Trio aren’t the only ones looking into the mystery – before changing into his union suit, Superman enlisted some red-headed assistance.

So where is Metamorpho? At the Metropolis Museum’s Egyptian wing where he finds some goons attempting to steal valuables after breaking in with technology from C-list villain Quakemaster.

This is a wonderful issue. Writer Mark Waid and artist Dan Mora give us an intriguing riddle, fun superheroics and a Metamorpho origin recap that pushes the Silver Age original into the realm of body horror. And for the really old readers – ahem – there’s a hilarious nod to issue 169 of the original World’s Finest series, in which Batgirl and Supergirl plotted against their male counterparts because it was 1967.

The scene, which I won’t spoil, reinforces the notion that even though this comic is set in the current DC Universe – the Devil Nezha from the recent Lazarus Planet event debuted here – it’s firmly built on the pre-Crisis one.

While the grislier look at how archaeologist-cum-soldier of fortune Rex Mason became Metamorpho at first seems unnecessary, it does provide Sapphire with an opportunity to show she has more depth than the ditzy Daddy’s girl original.

The use of Quakemaster is great – he’s not here! Instead he’s off panel, happily selling his jackhammer tech… how many times have we asked why supervillains, instead of robbing banks, don’t simply sell their genius?

Sidekicks Robin and Jimmy Olsen also get a great showing, with Jimmy making his first foray into the realm of investigative journalism, and Robin proving to be the Boy Medical Examiner.

As for our stars, I think this scene pretty much sums them up.

And that’s the moment that sets up a cliffhanger I never saw coming, but might have if I’d been paying more attention.

I’ve enjoyed Dan Mora’s work throughout this series, but this issue the art goes up a notch. Every image of Metamorpho is a stunner; the flashback to his origin manages to be faithful to individual details – the pillar Rex reads is identical to the original – but makes things that little bit more intense. And Mora isn’t afraid to tweak things so they’re slightly more visual – Rex’s battery torch is now a flame torch.

It also seems Mora likes Jimmy Olsen, he gets a lot of attention and comes out looking iconic.

Also, classic shirt rip.

And all the art is made even better by regular colourist Tamra Bonvillain who makes things bright enough to evoke the Silver and Bronze Ages, but not so colourful as to scare the modern horses. As for the letters of Steve Wands, they’re as sharp as ever.

There’s nothing I don’t like about this comic, I hope it’s doing well enough to continue for a while… how Waid and Mora’s upcoming reteaming on the new Shazam series will factor in, I’ve no idea. Fingers crossed they’re both schedule-ready to give us a double dose of DC delight.

9 thoughts on “Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #13 review

  1. The Sapphire thing was my personal favorite bit. While she was never the ball buster Jean Loring and Iris West were, her being a Daddy’s girl to the point she never acknowledged how evil Daddy was to everyone and Rex in particular. She was also pretty dumb. Making her love and support being what saved Rex was amazing. Waid is just so good at adding things to a mythos that stick and I believe this is the latest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This issue is great! The whole series is great! It’s a wonderful companion piece to Waid’s Brave and the Bold that he did with Perez. That was another series that enjoyed exploring the various corners of the DCU.
    I can’t imagine the Stagg is really *dead* dead, but I’m definitely along for the ride. Metamorpho is one of my faves.
    I worry what will happen to this book when Waid and Mora take on Shazam. Is Mora able to take on two books a month? Fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun book! I really liked the emphasis on Sapphire in Rex’s recovery, too.

    And as for the cliffhanger, well…who benefits from a frame-up like that? My guess is, the (presumed) dead guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Now, you’ve got me wondering what the cliffhanger is – good work! The only thing I can come up with based on your clue is that Bruce Wayne appears to have committed the dirty deed (murder, that is – not sex. *Carry On music plays in background*). And it can’t be that!

    Liked by 1 person

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