Ricky Church continues his countdown to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with World’s Finest: The Batman/Superman Movie…
Throughout the countdown to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I’ve recommended several graphic novels to read such as The Dark Knight Returns, Public Enemies and Kingdom Come. This entry, I’m going to switch it up by recommending a viewing of The New Batman Adventures and Superman: The Animated Series crossover, ‘World’s Finest’. This three-part story, also stitched together as The Batman/Superman Movie, is notable for being the first step towards a shared DC Animated Universe, a collection of several animated series that all tied into each other from 1992 – 2006.
When The Joker discovers a large piece of kryptonite in Gotham City, he travels to Metropolis to strike a deal with Lex Luthor: he’ll kill Superman for one million dollars. Batman follows the clown to Metropolis and quickly butts heads with Superman after the two don’t see eye to eye on each of their methods. They’re forced to work together in order to stop Joker’s rampage and investigate Luthor’s connection to him.
Batman: The Animated Series was, and remains to be, one of the most popular cartoons of the 90s and The New Batman Adventures, its sequel series, continued its legacy. When Superman: The Animated Series premiered with Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, the same creative force as Batman at the helm, many people thought it was inevitable the two cartoons would collide. ‘World’s Finest’ did not disappoint as it delivered a great story that focused on an examination of Batman and Superman’s subtle turn from animosity to friendship.
In many adventures that depict the first time between Batman and Superman teamed up, their heroic images are often put at the forefront of attention. After all, that’s what people are there to see, but Dini and Timm put just as much effort in Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent’s interactions as they did their superhero identities. They even showed off Bruce’s business acumen against Lex and Clark’s investigative skills as he began digging into Lex’s deal with Joker. If you want to see how rocky the start of Superman and Batman’s relationship really was, just check out the video of their fantastic first meeting, one I hope Zack Snyder will somehow pay homage to.
What helps these episodes standout is the stellar voice cast. Needless to say, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are excellent as Batman and Joker respectively and I can’t say much that hasn’t already been said about the pair. Both actors have done and continue to do amazing work with their characters over the last 20-plus years, but this is them in their prime. Some of the greater DCAU voice cast are often sadly overlooked, so this is a good chance to hear Conroy and Hamill alongside such standouts as Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Clancy Brown and Arleen Sorkin as Superman, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Harley Quinn respectively.
There are dozens of other great moments and stories from the DCAU featuring Batman and Superman, but its important to remember that it all started with the ‘World’s Finest’ episodes. Without this storyline, the DCAU could never have been, setting up the later Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series. The outstanding voice cast and serious look at what makes Batman and Superman the world’s finest duo make this entry one of the best Batman/Superman stories out there. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and watch it now. If you already have seen it, well you don’t need me to tell you to watch it again.