DCAU #100: Super Friends

IN THIS ONE... Batman and Superman team up to prevent Maxie Zeus from destroying Gotham with an earthquake, but Lex Luthor has it covered.

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.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: Superman adopted this particular look after his death and return. Lex Luthor was by then walking around in an idealized cloned body, claiming to be the son of the original.

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.


Andrew Gilbertson said...

Wow. Talk about unfortunately dated... but also fun. Never would've expected that these versions of the characters had made it into the DCAU.

I've always been curious- how DID Luthor transition from the clone-son-body back to 'oh no wait, it was me all along?' (In the mainstream comics.) Or did that just happen in one of the Crisis-style reboots?

Siskoid said...

Caught a clone plague that deteriorated his body back to "normal".

Don't remember how his PR department handled it.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

"Caught a clone plague that deteriorated his body back to "normal"."

Only in the world of comics would that be a statement of nonchalance... :-)

JeffJedi said...

Then he made a deal with the devil "Neron" to make his body healthy again.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

So he One More Day'ed it. That is the solution to a distressingly-large number of issues in the comics universe. (I do like the bit, as per wikipedia, that he sold his soul because he doesn't believe in souls; a nice twist, in that he thinks he is getting something for nothing, and is murch more likely in for an eternity of torment he didn't bargain for because he thought he was being clever*. It fits with his general pattern of hubris.)

*That is, if Lex, or anyone else in the DCU, was ever allowed to actually permanently DIE. :-)


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