Since they first appeared at the beginning of the series and established themselves as fan-favourite supporting characters, there was always something about Supergirl and Robin. Just by the way they looked and spoke to each other, it seemed that something happened between them. Batman Superman World’s Finest #12 reveals all this week in this delightful and chaotic superhero date night gone wrong comedy.
Series illustrator Dan Mora’s cover tells you all you need to know. Kara and Dick are in costume as their date falls apart around them with spilled drinks, food on fire, and both of them clearly wanting to be somewhere else. Batman and Superman are watching it unfold from outside the restaurant, probably thinking the same thing as the diners also present.
Max Dunbar’s variant cover sees the World’s Finest taking on Toyman, who has always been a fascinating figure in Superman’s rogue gallery. While laughable and easily defeated, there are times when the character of Toyman can be much darker and have his moments of true villainy every once in a blue moon. Dunbar’s illustrations are smooth with small hints of pencil scratches, especially with how he handles Toyman’s head in the background.
The original cast of the Teen Titans helped this series hook readers who may not have had Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s group as their original team of young heroes. The original Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, and Speedy have a stylised feature in Sweeney Boo’s variant. You have Superman and Batman do what they do best and inversely mirror each other while the Teen Titans take the centre stage. Bold colours and line-work do elements like Donna Troy’s hair wonders (pun intended). The plain white background tends to let the characters do all the visual work.
Dave Johnson does the traditional Batman and Superman cover with the light and dark yin yang of flying over the skyline of Metropolis and swinging through the dark alleys and rooftops of Gotham City. Johnson actually includes subtle differences in the buildings’ architecture that add to the juxtaposition. One has to admire the wrinkles and fine details on Batman’s gliding cape, he really looks as he did in the New 52 here. Superman’s suit has the same level of craft as well.
Kara and Dick aren’t one of the main ships of the DC Universe. But given their status as de facto sidekicks at that point in time in the continuity, it would make sense for them to at least give it a shot. Mark Waid answers the question of what if they did with an ensuing comedy of cringe and chaos.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #12 sees Kara and Dick relay the story of their date night to Clark and Bruce. Kara says that she asked him out because he showed her that humans did have the ability to save themselves. It seems like it’s going to be a normal date until Kara finds that Dick showed up in his Robin suit. From there, it’s quite literally all downhill. This is a time before Dick fully mastered the art of speaking to women. In fact, he may not even be comfortable with taking his mask off in that way. He can dodge punches in that suit, but not the wrong words and being awkward it seems.
Of course, it’s not that one-sided. Waid gets both perspectives with Supergirl being relatively alien to the concept of human dating, and she also comes out of this date having learned something about herself as does Dick. What really shines in the storytelling is both amusing and maddening escapades. They go from plausible, to silly and outright ridiculous in a way that can only happen in a Silver Age comic. The odd title “Scream of The Chaos Monkey” will soon make sense. Waid could’ve really worked on a humour-orientated episode of Justice League Unlimited like Kids’ Stuff. Letters in this issue of Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #12 were done by Steve Wands.
Emanuela Lupacchino handles the penciling while Wade Von Grawbadger and Norm Rapmund are on inking duty. Whether or not it was their intention, they do a really good job of adhering to Mora’s designs and art style. Truly, they’re pretty spot-on with the expressions and handling of action sequences. If one was reading this issue in a complied edition without any knowledge that the artist changed, one may not notice. Series regular colourist Tamra Bonvillain’s colouring and shading more than help elevate them to that same level.
Whilst Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #12 may seem like a cutesy filler story, it actually provides some much-needed context of characters who have proven to be really impactful on the series and has fun doing it. The World’s Finest family wouldn’t be complete without Supergirl and Robin. In fact, when Robin went missing the first move was to go find him in the very next story. To say that we care about these characters would be an understatement. So, it’s always nice to get a slice-of-life kind of story when they aren’t out saving the world.