DCAU #223: (Almost) The World's Finest Team

IN THIS ONE... Superman teams up with Batgirl to save Bruce Wayne.

Written by Mark Millar; art by Mike Manley and Terry Austin.

REVIEW: Batman is in an interesting secret identity pickle - a reminder that the DCAU comics frequently take their inspiration from the Silver Age, and make it seem fresh again - taken hostage by the Mad Hatter AS Bruce Wayne, and unable to respond to respond to his ultimatum AS Batman... and the Hatter wants the cowl! With Robin having fallen under the enemy's sway, and Nightwing out of town, it's up to Batgirl... and a little help from Superman.

Absent the resentful competition that seemed to spring up in "World's Finest", Superman is allowed to be Superman in Gotham, to discuss methods with his Bat Family contact without it becoming a contest, and the net result is fantastic. Even Batman must acknowledge that while Superman's ways wouldn't work for him, they nevertheless have value and that even in the dank pit that is Gotham City, Superman is a beacon of hope for people, and somehow improves their day by just showing up.

Superman indeed saves the day using peaceful means, which gives the Gotham heroes bemused pause, but he also finds that a softer hand doesn't always work. The henchmen who won't give up their boss because they can easily call Superman's bluff, for example. Superman CAN do the whole intimidation thing (and does), but it doesn't sit well with him, and he even buys the snitch a cup of coffee after the ordeal. Perhaps that's Superman's great strength - he can do so much, he has room for compassion. Batman does what he must, but Superman does what he can, and there lies an important difference.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: Though Superman is ill at ease intimidating perps and snitches, stunts like the one he pulls in this issue were common fare in Golden Age Superman comics.

REREADABILITY: High - An excellent team-up that has something to say about both characters' worlds.



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