CREDITS: Written by Kelley Puckett; art by Mike Parobeck and Rick Burchett. Pin-ups by Alex Toth, Dave Gibbons, Kelley Jones, Kevin Nowlan, Mark Chiarello, Mike Mignola, Matt Wagner, and Chuck Dixon.
REVIEW: Batman Adventures' 25th issue is an anniversary of sorts and trots out Superman for the very first World's Finest story set in the DCAU. Except... It's sadly out of continuity because the Superman and Lex that appear here are cartoonized versions of the then-current characters - all mullets and beards - and not those that would soon premiere on the Man of Steel's own animated series. The two heroes' actual first meeting would have to wait a while longer. Still, it's an exciting thing to attempt, and Puckett and Parobeck do have fun with it.
I might highlight the bit where both Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent leave a conversation to take care of a bomb threat simultaneously, for example, and the way to take to team work almost immediately. That said, Superman mostly does a lot of swooshing, kind of like the Flash; I don't think the creative team really knew how to use the character in this story. Batman gets the coolest bits and is the one, in the end, that figures out Lex is behind the earthquake scheme, and that his only goal is to demonstrate his killbots to get a military contract. It's Batman who strongarms Lex into bailing from the bid, and it's Batman who gets to "do the right thing" by doing the same with WayneTech's. It's even implied that Batman already knows Clark is Superman. So not a great issue for Supes who spends almost two pages tunneling in the ground and finds nothing.
I like the use of Maxie Zeus, even if he's a lame duck in the end; he and Lex both have sweet beards, linking them visually, and his imagined divinity is counterpoint to Superman's. Plus, he can be pretty funny in the right hands, and there are some smiles in this issue that come down to him. Oh, and some nice pin-ups too, giving various artists the chance to draw the DCAU versions of various Batman characters.
REREADABILITY: Medium - A fun idea, shame it couldn't be in continuity. Batman v Lex Luthor is cool, but Superman doesn't have enough to do.