Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #20 is here and it’s finally time to head to Earth-22 the home of Kingdom Come as the story of Boy Thunder continues. The short version of this review is to get on this book right now. It has everything a fan could want, and it’s only the first issue in the arc.
Alex Ross set a wild precedent for the characters of Kingdom Come with how he illustrates. It’s always cool seeing another artist do them in their own style. Dan Mora gives us the Justice League of Earth-22 just as they were in the original story – the aged Superman with his unique emblem, the cyber-suited Batman, the arcane Green Lantern, Poseidon Aquaman, and the Hermes-like Flash. The small inclusion of our Earth-Prime falling into this rabbit hole of an Elseworlds tale.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #20 will have the best Trick-or-Treat variant cover by Chrissie Zullo – the Superman one! Like all the other variants by Zullo, it’s an adorable child reimaging of a DC character enjoying one of the many Halloween time pastimes whether it’s trick-or-treating, going to a pumpkin patch, or watching a scary movie. Little Superman, along with Krypto, seems to eagerly try on his new costume in time for Halloween night. The stitched shield implies that maybe his mom made it for him.
David Nakayama gives us a variant of two characters who have yet to appear in the series but roles in the World’s Finest’s lives are undeniable. A top of the Daily Planet, Lois has an interview with Catwoman. That could actually be a really cool Lois story wherein she gets Selina’s point of view on her Robin Hood-like exploits. Catwoman is really anything but a villain, more of a rogue. There have been fun Lois and Selina stories in the past and this variant by Nakayama has the same energy as them.
Other great variants featuring Kingdom Come are by Daniel Sampere and Bjorn Barends along with a special foil cover.
The issue opens like an episode of The Flash with Barry Allen giving one of his expositions about the multiverse as he watches over it for threats. Something does catch his eye, however, and it concerns Earth-22 and Superman’s old protégé –David or Boy Thunder as he was known. The last time we saw him, he was pulled back into the multiverse by the same vibrational force that brought him to Earth-Prime in the first place. What is known is that David did have some sort of connection to Earth-22 all along and it was through the villain Magog.
Barry reaches out to Bruce and Clark and sends them to Earth-22 via the cosmic treadmill, which Superman has actually been able to use in the past. Initially, they do arrive on Earth-22 after the events of Kingdom Come but experience temporal displacement which puts them back beforehand. The search for David begins at Planet Krypton where Clark and Bruce begin to find out more about Earth-22 and its place in the multiverse. David, however, is just around the corner.
Fans were wondering when this story was coming when they saw Mark Waid penning this series. He really opens this issue just right as a multiversal adventure and it’s never a dull moment. Even the technical aspects of Bruce and Clark getting there are exciting to watch unfold knowing where they are going. Them learning about the aftermath of Kingdom Come and seeing their counterparts in the massive cemetery when they first arrive is bittersweet. Of course, what Earth-22 is also known for is how heroes tend to operate now with it now being acceptable to kill now that the old generations of heroes are gone. What wasn’t known about them before was that the multiverse was not a known concept to them. Whether or not this is true for Earth-22 Superman, who has been through the multiverse, remains to be seen.
The visual dream team of artist Dan Mora and colorist Tamra Bonvillain continue to light up the pages of World’s Finest. That’s not meant to be a metaphor, some of these Superman and Batman panels just feel bright as the pages are turned. As a multiversal journey, there are plenty of cameos and easter eggs that readers can pick out from some of the panels just overflowing with them.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #20 continues one of the series’ essential stories and is sure to keep readers glued to the panels. Kingdom Come isn’t getting brought back for nostalgia purposes, David just might be seeing to that.