Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #7 is out this week with emotions over explosions in this new story arc. In this issue the pair play supporting roles in a story that not just comic readers, but everyone is all too familiar with. In fact, it’s an amalgam origin story.
Dan Mora introduces us to this new character he and Mark Waid cooked up on the default cover. “Meet The Boy Thunder,” it says, and that is what the reader does. David Sikela is the latest young hero to enter the DC Universe, shown right between the two heroes that influenced his creation. He sits cross-legged like Superman and upside down like Batman to make these influences literal. The sun emblem is reflective of Superman’s powers while the cowl is representative of Batman. Mora continues to be the right artist for the series with his ability to bring Silver Age-like imagery into modern comics.
Mora gives us another cover with his Teen Titans variant. It’s not the modern Titans but the original team from Brave And The Bold, nowadays, seeing these heroes together is rare. Again, Mora’s art doesn’t get more Silver Age-influenced than this. The white background with only their shield behind them tells us that Mora focused all his efforts on these characters. It was well spent; all the fine details are there. But, Aqualad could be more in the foreground because he looks like the Atom from afar at that size.
Pete Woods’ variant gives us a more standard variant of the World’s Finest leaping and flying into action set against a city backdrop. Batman is cloaked by the night and Superman is illuminated by the day. Again, pretty standard image but it’s Woods himself that makes this variant unique. You would think that by looking at Clark’s face that he was going for realism, but as you look at his suit and Batman – there’s a subtle cartoon-like laminated texture. It’s very appealing to look at.
The symbolism and juxtapositions are plentiful in Joshua Middleton’s variant. Metropolis and Gotham City are divided by Lady Justice with the scales over Metropolis and the sword over Gotham. As usual, it’s day in Metropolis and night in Gotham. Superman and Batman are in the upper foreground in all their Alex Ross-inspired glory set to sunrise with a very smooth and refined art style.
Todd Nauck’s variant would do artists George Perez and Dan Jurgens proud with his illustration of several heroes leaping into action. But not just any heroes, but every one of Superman and Batman’s allies and sidekicks. All the Robins, Batgirls, and even new ones like Bluebird and Duke Thomas will have any Bat-family fan pleased. Seasoned Superfamily fans will remember Cir-El, seen in the background. Jon is seen as his adorable young self-alongside Damien for the Supersons fans. The cast has definitely gotten bigger over the years and this cover is reflective of that growth in a Crisis on Infinite Earths-like style.
“Doomed planet…desperate scientist…last hope,” those six words that Waid gives us is all we need set to Mora’s illustrations of an origin story that has been told several times before. But this isn’t some distant alien world – it’s Gotham City on an alternate Earth. Scientists Gayle and Asher Sikela send their teen son David on a specially made shuttle with coordinates set for Earth Prime. His arrival causes a stir, but is made smooth by Superman and Batman in what is the only action scene of the issue.
The rest follows Bruce, Clark, and Dick as they learn of where David came from, the nature of his recently gained solar-based powers, and his future now as a resident of Earth Prime. They take him to the Kryptonian scientist Kim-Da in the bottled city of Kandor where they learn his powers come from a difference in sun similar to Superman – different universes must mean different suns. Kim-Da gives David the suit he is seen on the cover with, which is based on what a Kryptonian freedom fighter wore. That’s similar to how Dick would learn of the Nightwing name. The cape was Robin’s idea.
David later comes to learn a heartbreaking truth about the Earth he landed on and with seemingly no other option must walk the metahuman path of the DC Universe in order to learn to live with his potentially dangerous powers. Fortunately, that is a road that is frequently traveled on Earth Prime.
You’ll only see Superman in action for a couple of panels in Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #7 and the rest being an emotional support powerhouse. Batman provides the voice of logic and reason as David deals with pain that the World’s Finest know like the back of their hands and still experience to this day. David’s debut reads like the arrival of a refugee rather than a hero, and who better to tackle that than Superman?
Mora does this visual justice with every panel of Clark serving as bright reassurance and Bruce as dark acceptance – it’s great to have him back on an issue again. Tamra Bonvillain’s colours continue to combine traditional 2D shading with cinematic lighting for emotional moments which there are plenty of in this issue. Waid didn’t write this as a hard-hitting action issue either as the reader is simply meant to get emotionally invested in David. In 23 pages, he does a graceful job.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #7 is an emotional, like any origin story is, establishing shot of the next big arc in the series. The official synopsis reading “the untold story of Superman’s short-lived sidekick is at last revealed” now seems kind of foreboding having read it. Stories where Superman encounters someone of his own origin are always fun adventures of discovery and connection. However, as these stories go, there are also an ample amount of things that can go wrong.