Superman and Batman: World’s Funnest

July 22, 2008

For those traumatised by DC’s sucession of Crises or disappointed with Ion: Guardian of the Universe, the All New Atom’s Hunt for Ray Palmer, and Countdown’s Search for Ray Palmer, here’s the perfect cure. Some years ago, Evan Dorkin wrote this short over-the-top Elseworlds story that remains one of the few truly great multiverse-spanning adventures. His one simple idea can make practically all DC star writers look stupid for not having thought of it first: revive the 2 omnipotent wild cards marginalised since comics got serious, Mr. Mxyzptlk (am I spelling it right?) and Bat-Mite and have them duke it out. Now, that’s a Crisis.

I don’t know about you, but these 2 imps have been among my favourite DC characters since young because they precisely represent the part in me that enjoys comics. Is Mr Mxyzzp-ah-heck a supervillain? Is Bat-Mite (what a name) a superhero? These are not easy questions to answer as, given their godlike powers, resistance to the former should have been pointless and service from the latter absurd. Both are, however, clearly fans of comics themselves, Mr Mxy of Superman’s action adventures and Bat-Mite of Batman’s crime-busting cases. And in the name of love, fans always torture their heroes to no end.

Dorkin uses this sick relationship to spin a whole worlds-destroying adventure about a Crisis that no one else knows exists whenever the two godlings meet. And what an impressive range of worlds they fight in — from Earth-1 (JLA’s world), Earth-2 (JSA’s world), Earth-3 (evil Crime Syndicate’s world), Earth-X (superhero Uncle Sam’s world), Earth-S (Captain Marvel’s world), and Earth-C (Captain Carrot’s world) to Darkseid’s 4th World, our world, the Super Friends’ world, Bruce Timm’s animated-for-TV world, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight’s world, Marv Wolfman’s world of Crisis on Infinite Worlds, Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come world, and more! That’s just a start because the fun does not shuffle off this easily. Make no mistake: the two imps do kill everybody — men, women, and children — and they kill them again and again and again, every week. The dead just don’t know the Truth.

As perfect as it comes, almost every artist you’d wish to be involved is in too: Dave Gibbons, Frank Cho, Jaime Hernandez, Scott Shaw, David Mazzucchelli, Bruce Timm, Frank Miller, Jim Woodring, Doug Mahnke, Phil Jimenez, Ty Templeton, Alex Ross, and more. This small deconstructive tale is so outrageously mind-blowing that it actually works on all levels, right up (or down) to an intellectual one. In fact, I’m quite happy to believe that this World’s Funnest universe is the real universe, all else in the multiverse, including our reality, being the mere playground of kids who can’t grow up.

Gweek gives the story his applause from 10 parallel universes.

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