REVIEW: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #25

Before diving into the next big story arc, it’s time for a standalone adventure in Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #25, but rather than starring our heroes it follows one of the first adventures of their nemesis, and what a better place to do it than an oversized anniversary issue.

Series regular artist Dan Mora may be taking a break from this issue, but he still contributes with the cover. His take on Batman, Superman, and The Joker needs no introductions but we have yet to see his Lex Luthor up until now. His Joker was a menace in the original Boy Thunder story arc, and you know it’s Mora when he has green and purple heterochromia.

REVIEW: Batman/Superman: World's Finest #25

Mora’s celebrity-featured variant covers since the series began have always been a treat – seeing him capture our favorite figures in his style. This variant’s cover features Captain Kirk himself William Shatner, as well as the rest of the Justice League. This cover alone may be one’s reasoning for buying the issue at all, especially if they are collecting the variants. This cover also couldn’t come at a more perfect time with Shatner’s 93rd birthday also taking place this week on March 22.

REVIEW: Batman/Superman: World's Finest #25

Dustin Nguyen is known for his rough for his Batman work, so seeing his take on Superman in his variant is something new. There’s a lot to like about how Nguyen draws with it adding more of a softer feel to the rough Frank Miller-esque pencil art that made The Dark Knight Returns so great. It’s one of those styles that make you feel like you’re holding a sketch right in your hands.

REVIEW: Batman/Superman: World's Finest #25

Several other great Batman and Superman-centric variants are available by Jamal Campbell, Dave Johnson, Joelle Jones, and Alvaro Martinez.

Much like how issues #18 and #19 flashed back to one of Batman and Superman’s first meetings, this one features one of The Joker’s and Lex Luthor’s. After foiling the Joker, Luthor is quick to intercept him before incarceration. Luthor has been following some supernatural trail with a century-old manuscript with any attempt to read it driving the reader insane. He puts Joker in a Suicide Squad-like situation with neck explosives as they follow this magic treasure map. This is no Lovecraftian mystery, however. The Joker and Luthor’s search takes them on the all-too-familiar magic train to SHAZAM’s headquarters.

That’s all there really is to share about the story. For the most part, Mark Waid does keep us entertained with the evil genius Lex Luthor and psycho clown Joker. It’s akin to their energy when they first met in the DCAU’s Batman and Superman movie. The heart of their relationship is that Luthor knows the Joker is a nuisance yet there are some things in this world that can only be obtained or understood by him. Of course, there are also some moments where they dwell on their ongoing feuds with Batman and Superman and what’s been driving them all these years. The letters are by Steve Wands.

Steve Pugh and Adriano Lucas illustrate and color this issue respectively. Pugh’s work on Peacemaker Tries Hard shows he has a knack for supervillains and comedy. His reaction shots are a lot more refined for this and The Joker is always the pep to Lex Luthor’s grump. There are a lot of fun visuals too like Joker’s Batman boxers and Lex Luthor’s classic Super-Friends suit. It’s not the most action-packed or gripping mystery, but Pugh and Lucas make seem a little more than just a journey into an abandoned subway. Mora and Tamra Bonvillain illustrate and color the second smaller story, and introduction to the next big Batman and Superman arc, wherein the heroes are warned of a new threat from the Fifth Dimension. This part is much more exciting.

(6/10) Batman/ Superman: World’s Finest #25 is a nice spiritual follow-up to issues #18 and #19 wherein we see one of their enemies’ first meetings. It’s no grand spectacle, but it has been a while since we’ve had a Lex Luthor and Joker adventure even if it is just breaking into a hero’s hideout.

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