Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #15 confirms that no mystery is ever straightforward in the DC Universe especially when it concerns disappearing and murdered tech CEOs and billionaires. We’re treated to the ultimate breaks in the case as well as new robotic threats, old villains, as well as allies in guest-starring roles. This issue is a techno-throwdown.
Keeping in the World’s Finest running theme of fusing characters and their powers, Dan Mora introduces us to one such antagonist – meet Ultramorpho. This android takes Amazo’s design and puts a Metamorpho spin on it. Like Metamorpho, he can conjure up the composition and makeup of any given element and that includes otherworldly ones like Kryptonite. This typical villain-conquers-all cover is the perfect debut. Fusion and amalgam characters by Dan Mora are always unique.
There’s no match-up quite like Batman vs. Superman. Walter Simonson and Laura Martin give the rivalry, which often can be gritty at times, a wholesome treatment as a game of chess between friends in the park. Bruce is shown to have Clark on the ropes with his king in check – that may or may not be a metaphor for Kryptonite but it’s undeniably Batman’s tactical mastership. This variant cover shows like an unexaggerated MAD cartoon and the design elements of the World’s Finest here are like how they appeared in the 80s.
Nikolas Draper-Ivey takes us forward in time to Neo-Gotham and Metropolis in the Beyond future. While Terry McGinnis has masterfully taken the mantle of Batman Beyond, Kal-El is still Superman donning a black costume similar to the one he wore when he came back after Doomsday. Art styles that incorporate smoother and blurry textures like Draper-Ivey’s tend to mesh really well with the setting of Gotham Beyond in comics.
Daniel Sampere and Bruno Redondo collab to bring us a classical variant cover. Silver Age costumes and poses they have more than likely struck before makes this variant another one of the timeless. Redondo and Sampere’s textures have an almost animated overlay to them especially when it comes to Clark and Bruce’s costumes. The red background for the building is a bold choice given how Superman is just one plane above them, but everything is still clearly defined.
All has been revealed with Professor Ivo being the culprit behind Simon Stagg’s murder along with several other killings of various technological figures within the DC Universe. Actually, they were never murders at all. The mad scientist created android doubles for select billionaires and CEOs of tech companies and divisions to endlessly funnel resources to himself. The Simon Stagg one was acting up so he had to take care of him. That was the doing of his newest creation, Ultramorpho. Because of the nature of his powers, the hero Metamorpho was the primary suspect.
Superman, Robin, and Metamorpho have cornered Ivo, but he turns Ultramorpho with his endless element-forming powers on them. It’s not much of a fight but rather a retreat, however, they aren’t without allies as Batman investigates the disappearance of Dr. Magus, another major tech figure in the DC Universe and creator of the Metal Men. Real Steel fans can rejoice with this android-on-android bout of fisticuffs. Everyone is going to have to work together to get out of this one. At the same time throughout the issue, there’s something in the air with the machines. Like Maximum Overdrive, something is causing robots and electronics around the world to malfunction in malicious ways. It also happens that they may have been chasing after the wrong culprit!
Mark Waid, lettered by Steve Wands continues one of the strongest ongoing series at DC at the moment. We’re over a year into it and it seems that the volume that people are singing its praises hasn’t gotten any softer. Character combinations and Silver Age character inclusions are his most prominent themes during this series and this issue uses both of them to their full potential. In fact, an old robotic Justice Society villain makes an appearance to antagonize Robot Man and the Doom Patrol. This issue also makes themes of robotics and AI which are really relevant in this day and age, shockingly.
Dan Mora plays a really important role as a comic illustrator in Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #15; he co-creates a whole new character with Ultramorpho. He really has a ball with this whole issue when it comes to elemental battles. Metal is thrown against metal in solid, liquid, and gas form as the Metal Men and Metamorpho help Superman and Batman take on Ultramorpho. Some comic book readers attest to imagining the Terminator theme playing to the cover and Ultramorpho’s action scenes. Booming and sizzling onomatopoeias accompany the textures by Tamra Bonvillain. There is some chemical truth to some of the damages given the Metal Men’s unique powers and composition.
While Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #15 may seem like the climax of this ongoing battle and scheme, there are several more threats on the rise. What began as a murder mystery has the potential to escalate into a major conflict with robot and artificial life.