Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #4 continues as we see the duo face off against the DC Universe as the new villain the Devil Nezha continues to magically pull the strings of heroes and villains alike in order to get to the World’s Finest.
Mark Waid and Dan Mora have taken us on a contemporary comic journey fraught with all the camp of a Neal Adams book. We’ve seen Nezha get in the heads of Felix Faust, Shazam, The Flash, and Mirror Master with the last issues and now it’s Green Lantern Hal Jordan who falls under the Eastern demon’s influence. How do Superman and Batman against the most willful man in the galaxy?
Mora’s art needs no introduction in this series. His default cover tells all you need to know when you first open it – Superman and Batman set to a menacing Green Lantern in the background. I love the detail and the colours used for the background, it’s a really endearing cover.
Freddie E Williams II’s variant also showcases the World’s Finest racing against a backdrop of Metropolis, but you’ll notice some features from the past that were once prevalent with the characters –Superman’s mullet and Batman’s shoulder spikes. They’re not nearly as old as the arrowhead and purple gloves, but still memorable with a special place in their history.
Another couple of variants guest star some characters from the Batman and Superman lexicon. Derrick Chew did a very stunning variant of Lois and Catwoman. Who can forget the date night Batman issue from Tom King, these are the women that are quite literally the World’s Finest’s worlds. The art style is a blend of realism and manga, resulting in a very attractive cover.
Riley Rossmo brings more variant guest stars in with the residents of Bizarro World. His cartoony almost Cal-Arts style fits the wackness of havoc of Bizarro and his Bizarro League like a glove with the whole cast at a top of their cube world. Mora did another variant as well, but to keep the review spoiler free, we’ll gloss over it. I can tell you that it is the best part of the whole issue.
I’ll be vague when I write that Superman and Batman have to come together in their first true head-on confrontation with Nezha. As mentioned before, all the comic book camp is there for these explosive panels. All of Mora’s energy projections have their own patterns as their color dominates against a white background. With Hal Jordan, you can bet you will be seeing a lot of green. The onamnapoeias are plentiful too.
Meanwhile, Supergirl and Robin continue their quest back in ancient China with the original warriors who had sealed Nezha away. What could’ve been an epic adventure or B plot for them was quickly turned around this issue as they make their way back to the present with information that can help defeat Nezha. While we did get some action in ancient China in past issues during their stay, it’s largely on the grounds of the monastery they remain at the whole time and don’t really go anywhere.
It would have been cool if they had to defeat a dragon or something relating to the land in order to go back home. There also seemed to be something going on between Robin and Supergirl that is seemingly put on the back burner for now that, again, would’ve made a great B plot. Supergirl does come out incredibly strong by the end of the issue and the secret to beating Nezha isn’t a simple manner of locking him back up again.
The Devil Nezha continues to be a straightforward villain that is best remembered for his appearance and not motivation. It’s incredibly black and white as he seeks out the strongest of Earth’s defenders and eliminates them. By this issue, he’s realised that he shouldn’t have let Superman and Batman linger for so long. Nezha’s place in the DC Universe has been elaborated in Deathstroke Inc #9 with a relation to the Lazarus Pit. It’s possible this story may be the first of his many appearances, which is exciting.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #4 continues to be a fun read, especially now amidst the chaos of Dark Crisis. Superman and Batman are used to explore the theme of willpower in a way that will make you read in awe.