Writer: Cary Bates
Art: Neal Adams
Colors: Neal Adams
Release Date: 6/1/68
DC in the Silver Age was pure comic excellence. Now, that is not to say that Marvel was not producing some amazing titles at the time. But we have to realize that by the late ’60s DC had already created an enormous roster of heroes ranging from the Trinity, the JLA, The Teen Titans amongst others. With this in mind, 1968 DC also produced various Superman and Batman team-ups ranging from the Brave and the Bold and of course, World’s Finest. Today, we will be taking a look at World’s Finest #176. With a Bates story and Adams on the artwork, this is a clear throwback to good old fashion comic book fun.
If you’re interested in any of these Silver Age comic or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
Batman v. Superman. That’s it… that’s all. Just kidding, not really. Two alien visitors break into the Fortress of Solitude and the Batcave requesting help from Superman and Batman’s help respectively. The problem? The alien requesting help from Superman is a fugitive while the alien requesting help from Batman is hunting the fugitive. After a fascinating game of cat and mouse between the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader, both enlist the help of their “rivals” counterparts (Superman leans on Batgirl for help while Batman solicits Supergirl for support). With a surprising twist at the end, this story concludes with the “World’s Finest” demonstrating why they are the archetypes for superheroes.
Whatever happened to…?
This story reminded me of the lightheartedness of DC Comics in the 1960s. Before the various rebirths and grim storylines, DC was…fun. Batman is not the Dark Knight as he later becomes known. No, he still is a playboy MILLIONAIRE with Dick Grayson as his faithful sidekick (even though he was away on an OG Teen Titans mission at the time). Superman is still opening the Fortress of Solitude with a giant key (does that still happen?) while Batgirl’s identity was still a mystery to everyone.
These are the classic details that continued to fuel our love for these particular characters. They were so hokey that I could not help but laugh at Superman dressing up as a living statue to draw Batgirl out of hiding to ask for her help. Obviously, DC (and Marvel) had to grow up with their readers. They had to trade some of the humor for a more serious tone. I would like to see DC utilize the Infinite Universe branding and create more stories that take place in the Silver Age. Sometimes a nice break from the doom and gloom is welcomed!
This story features an all-star cast of Silver Age sidekicks: Robin, Jimmy Olsen, Batgirl, and Supergirl. During this time in comics, they truly were just the sidekicks. They did a lot more “doing” and supporting the main heroes (Batman and Superman) than what they would eventually grow up to do. There is something wholesome about reading that Robin was “away on a Titans” mission or Supergirl was in the middle of a college class. A lot of these characters have come full circle. So, to see them at the “beginning” (comic book time) of their careers laying the foundation for who they are to become is mesmerizing.
How can you go wrong with classic Silver Age comics? Batman still wears blue and grey, and Superman still uses his stretchy cape. Reading this issue was like taking a hot shower after a cold and rainy day. Stories like these normally wrap up in one issue (a stark contrast from our modern-day story arcs that causes you to constantly read in between the lines). You can truly relax with these issues. It is familiar, light-hearted, and nothing but positive vibes. If you can get your hands on this issue via DC Universe Infinite, do it. It will not be a waste of your time!