Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest

Batman/Superman World's Finest #12 came out this week and was a truly wonderful 'one and done' tale of Robin and Supergirl's awful first (and only) date. 

Writer Mark Waid has such a deep understanding of the DCU as well as a clear interpretation of the classic histories of the characters that this issue just sings. This story takes place in some vague past, probably in some other timeline, with a younger Dick and Kara. I would say the two come off as Kara being slightly older than Dick, in my head they are 19 and 17 respectively, but who knows.

What does show is that these two are still new to dating, still learning who they themselves are, and trying to figure out their way in the world. 

Robin seems eager to impress Supergirl, something I can remember doing in earlier years when wooing someone. Or he is desperate for some validation, perhaps a comment of his relationship with Batman.

Kara is clearly trying to adopt the ways of Earth for this date. But she also is a little awkward, something which makes sense for her having only been on the planet for a short time. 

It all comes off great. It is a fun, wild story showing why these two (at least at this point) just don't mesh romantically. 

It is aided greatly by Emanuela Lupacchino's smooth art. Lupacchino has been a sort of designated pinch hitter for Supergirl since her stint as lead artist in the K. Perkins run at the pre-New 52 title. She brings great emotion and expression to the date itself, showing the characters cringing and getting frustrated. But the action sequences are also dynamic and splashy (pun intended as you will see).

And all this comes as a prequel from this page in  World's Finest #2 where we hear the ludicrous details of the date, all of which turn out to be on target.

One last thing I like about this book. I like this format that Mark Waid has done so far. A five issue story completes and you get a done-in-one palate cleanser before you go into the next arc. But these single issues add depth to the characters and build the universe. Keep this please, DC!

On to the book.

Basically we get a blow by blow of the date after it has ended with Dick and Kara talking to Bruce and Clark about how bad it all went. For me, I love the fact that these two feel comfortable enough with their mentors to talk this openly. Remember, there have been recent runs of Supergirl where she hated Superman. That should never happen.

But this snipper made me giggle. We see Dick doodling the 'disco' Nightwing outfit because he feels so embarrassed by the date that he wants to create a whole new identity. You can imagine that bombing your date with Supergirl would cling to you. 'Dark Eagle'?? Hilarious.

I suppose with Dick thinking of Nightwing I put this around the time the New Teen Titans are about to re-form.

As for Kara, she is sharing with Clark how terrible the date was. But it starts with her recalling why she asked him out to begin with. In some Man-Bat invasion, Robin was plummeting to his death. But before Supergirl had to peel away to save him, he saved himself.

For someone like Kara that probably is attractive. She is so powerful. She probably worries about everyone she interacts with. But here is someone who can take care of himself!

And I love ... LOVE ... that she asked him out!

It is often pointed out how Supergirl is a stranger in a strange land. This page with her trying to figure out what outfit to wear shows just how much she has fit into the culture of Earth. I suppose, perhaps, people worried like this on Krypton. But the very fact she has a bunch of outfits to choose from is great. And the expressions she puts on as she looks in the mirror are priceless.

Incredibly, Robin is waiting at the restaurant in his super-hero costume. Flustered, Supergirl reverts to her costume. And after all that angst choosing the right outfit!

It is hard to know exactly why Robin did this. As we see throughout the date, he needs constant attention and validation. Supergirl wonders if this was some grandstand. He does say the people in the place will have something to talk about.

He says he wasn't sure if she had a secret identity to change into. 

Not the best start.

That was the first domino in a series of classic first date blunders. First Supergirl seems to flirt with the waiter, telling him he looks like Green Lantern. Perhaps this is a call back toWaid's  Brave and Bold #2, a book where Kara flirts with Hal? A book I shockingly have never covered here? 

Then Dick talks about all his great crime-fighting battles, seeming self-centered.

Then both try to start up a conversation at the same time.

Then Kara bores him a bit with the long list of different Kryptonites.

Each seems to be trying a bit too hard. But they certainly aren't gelling.

Then Dick reveals that he became Robin after his parents died. I don't know if he is looking for sympathy or not. But, again, it seems like he is trying to really shine a spotlight on himself. He is shocked at the lack of response from Kara. 

Of course, Bruce reminds Dick how much Kara has lost. 

Now this could have been a moment for the two to bond over shared tragedy but instead it sort of deflates what is supposed to be a fun first date.

They don't even get to eat because the chef is so worried about impressing the heroes, nothing he makes is perfect enough.

Thankfully ... or maybe mercifully ... an adventure breaks out. A monkey has escaped an apartment, causes an accident with an 18-wheeler shipping bowling balls, and causing a bus to crash.

The two young heroes spring into action with Supergirl on safety duty and Robin in charge of stopping the avalanche of bowling balls. 

But again, he really seems to be trying to impress her a bit too much, going on how he is doing all this work all by himself. He is not doing himself any service here.

Finally, enough chaos has gone down  that the two end up tumbling into a nearby fountain and get drenched. 

Back in the restaurant, the food is cold and Robin has forgotten his cash so Supergirl has to foot the bill.

Now there could have been a chance where 

That leads to a great ending.

Supergirl recognizes she didn't like who she was when out with Robin in that way. And Superman applauds her for such a mature way of thinking.

It shows how she is mature, more mature than Robin. 

Great page here by Lupacchino. I want this page.

Robin is a little less mature. He is still sort of miffed, and perhaps a bit humiliated, by the proceedings. 

Batman's response to move on is fantastic. After all, how many doomed relationships has he had. 

Of course, Dick being a young man, he is already thinking about the next date. 

Such a fun issue. It is quite clear that Waid 'gets' Kara. If only we could get a Waid Supergirl book. It would thrill me. And this fun issue is just about perfect. 

Overall grade: A+

* This article was originally published here


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