Sunday, October 31, 2010

Superman/Batman: Finest Worlds (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

In this eighth volume of the ongoing Superman/Batman series, Finest Worlds is just friends and foes alike drag The Dark Knight & The Man of Steel into other worlds and bring others into theirs.

In the aftermath of Superman's battle with the All-American Boy (see: Superman/Batman The Search for Kyptonite), the entire Justice League shows up in Smallville to rebuild the town. They find an artifact that looks Kryptonian in design, and it "activates" when Superman touches it. Unknown to Batman & Superman, it has triggered a Kryptonian artifact secretly hidden in the Batcave by Batman's deceased father.
 It combines with all the technology in the Batcave to become a robotic monster. Batman, Superman, & the Titans defeat the Kryptonian Tech-"monster", and when Superman & Batman touch the crystal center they simultaneously share a vision of the past......when Jor-El met Thomas Wayne.

Jor-El; searching for a planet for his soon to be born son, sent out probes to find a suitable planet for his son. Thomas Wayne found one of the probes, and when he touched it was "transported" to Krypton. After meeting with Thomas Wayne, Jor-El decides that Earth is where his soon-to-be son should go. Thomas Wayne; meanwhile, uses the Kryptonian tech he found, reverse-engineers it and builds Wayne Enterprises into the billion-dollar company that his son; Bruce, inherits.

In the sub-story; Lil' Leaguers, miniature versions of Superman, Batman, & the rest of the Justice League are transported from their "universe" to ours. In an effort to see Superman "happy", Mxyzptlk; the 5th dimensional trickster, decided to bring these little heroes to our universe. It quickly turns bad; however, when the Lil' villains also arrive and realize that this world's much more evil & violent than theirs. In their universe, the Lil' Leaguers always win, the villains always lose, and nobody ever dies.

After the Lil' Villains embrace the "darker" side of this universe, they go on a rampage, and Superman & Batman (with help from the Justice League) must stop it. Lil' Luther, Lil' Joker, Lil' Doomsday, & Lil' Catwoman use the distraction to break into the Watchtower and use the Fatherbox to enlarge Doomsday. With the stakes high, Lil' Superman defeats Doomsday at the cost of his own life. Mxyzptlk is distraught at the turn of events, orchestrated by Bat-Mite (the 5th dimensional being who wants to be like Batman). Mxyzptlk sends the Lil' Leaguers & Lil' Villains back to their own universe....but Superman notices that Lil' Joker was not among them.

Finally, in the sub-story SuperBat, Superman & Batman confront Silver Banshee at a Metropolis art exhibit, as she finds a magical brooch that gives her whatever she desires. Batman takes the brooch from her, she gets it back, and then disappears. But the aftermath of the brooch's magic is that Superman has no powers, & Batman has Superman's powers! As they search for Silver Banshee and the brooch, the magical effect begins playing with Batman's mind. Believing that Superman didn't use his powers to the best of his abilities, Batman decides to keep the powers for himself. With the help of Zatanna, Superman is able to confront Batman and return the powers to where they should be.

Written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson, with artwork by Rags Morales, Rafael Albuquerque, & others. The Green/Johnson team continues to write good stories, this volume a grouping of unrelated stories. The artwork is great as always, especially Albuquerque's Lil' Leaguers! Though not the best of the Superman/Batman series, it offers good stories with good art.

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