Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Last Imp Standing!"

Issue: Superman and Batman: World's Funnest

Cover Date: 2000

Writer: Evan Dorkin

Interior Artists: A whole multiverse full!

Cover Artist: Brian Bolland

Synopsis: This hilarious send up to the DC Universe begins with a scene straight out of a Silver Age issue of World's Finest Comics. Superman, Batman, and Robin are taking Lex Luthor and The Joker to jail as Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White look on. Suddenly, the ropes holding the villains captive unravel by themselves and Luthor and The Joker make a break for it. Nearby plastic store mannequins come to life and are melted by Superman's heat vision to trap Luthor. A jump by Robin onto a giant bellows propels Batman into another of the mannequins, which falls on top of The Joker. Who is behind the odd escape of the two super criminals? Why, Bat-Mite of course!

No sooner does Bat-Mite appear on the scene then Mr. Mxyzptlk does as well, taking credit for bringing the mannequins to life to annoy Superman. The beginnings of a magical duel are hinted at, as Mr. Mxyzptlk brings a chicken on a billboard to life. Bat-Mite cooks the chicken with his magic, prompting laughter from the trio of heroes. Batman tries to calm the imps down, but this proves fatal for the Caped Crusader as Mr. Mxyzptlk accidently incinerates him with his magic! Superman tries to calm down an emotional Bat-Mite, when Bat-Mite turns on Superman for not sending Mr. Mxyzptlk away by making him say his name backwards. He takes out Superman by burning him with a red sun focused through a magnifying glass, to which Mr. Mxyzptlk replies by using a giant hole puncher on Robin.

Mr. Myzptlk continues his rampage with the Batman Family, the Superman Family, The Legion of Super-Pets, Lex Luthor and The Joker, the Justice League, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. He chases Bat-Mite across the planet, with the imps growing in size. The Spectre attempts to intervene, but Mr. Mxyzptlk crushes the Earth over his head. The imps then battle with galaxies until the entire universe is destroyed. But that's not the end of the story, as there are a number of alternate universes for Bat-Mite to hide in. What follows is a multiversal chase, from the universe of Earth 2 to the Super Friends universe to the universe of The Dark Knight Returns and a number of universes in between and beyond, with Mr. Mxyzptlk destroying each one. After the Kingdom Come universe explodes, there are none left, and it's the final battle, Bat-Mite versus Mr. Mxyzptlk. Mr. Mxyzptlk throws a Magic Bomb at Bat-Mite, which rebounds off of the Kingdom Come Flash helmet Bat-Mite rode out on and explodes in Mr. Mxyzptlk's face. Mr. Mxyzptlk at first looks enraged, but then breaks into laughter which Bat-Mite shares. The imps reset everything back to the way it was and agree to meet again next Tuesday.

Thoughts: We're at the point in Bat-Mite Month where we move away from the imp's classic Silver Age stories and look at how he's interpreted in modern times. This story bridges the gap, having been published in 2000, but beginning in the Silver Age. I should note that this story is an Elseworlds, and thus exists outside the restrictions of normal continuity. Usually in my synopses, I transcribe the entire story as they are rather old and the reprints are scattered across Annuals, 80 Page Giants, and trade paperbacks. I kept the majority of this issue out of my synopsis because it is fairly recent and is a book I want everyone to go and read for themselves because it is absolutely brilliant. Writing wise, it's one of the funniest comic books I've ever read. It's a slightly dark brand of humor that takes a few jabs here and there at the source material and every page has something for you to smile, chuckle, or laugh at. Art wise, this book is a treasure trove. Each universe visited has its own artist, in most cases one associated with that universe or time period of that universe. The DC animated universe pages are drawn in storyboard style by Bruce Timm, The Dark Knight Returns scene is drawn by Frank Miller, the Kingdom Come sequence is painted by Alex Ross, and the pages where Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite end up on Earth 2 are drawn and inked by Golden Age DC and Silver Age Batman artist Sheldon Moldoff.

He's still got it. This is a difficult story for me to comment on, as I could say something about every single page and this is a 64 page book. So I'm going to do a rundown of my top five favorite panels from it and hopefully you get a chuckle out of them like I did.






If you're a fan of DC Comics and haven't read World's Funnest, I highly recommend tracking down a copy. Every page will have you grinning and you get the ultimate Bat-Mite/Mr. Mxyzptlk showdown to boot.


Pat said...

Okay, you got me, I'm going to track down that issue. "We am doomed! Yay!" LOL!

Chris said...

It's a blast from cover to cover. I could do a week's worth of posts about it.

joe bloke said...

I've never read this. it's looks brilliant. the Darksied & the Caesar's Ghost panels are brilliant. I SO have to hunt this down!

Johan said...

This is the funniest comic i've ever read.

adrian said...

I don't care they say it's an elseworld story and it's out of continuity. For me this story is IN CONTINUITY. It suits fine in 60's world's finest books :) After all the damage they caused, everything's back to normal to the point where this story started. So this story doesn't screw any continuity. Batman from DARK KNIGHT RETURNS is still alive, Super Friends, Shazam Family, Justice League, Superman/Batman animated, Kingdom Come heroes etc. they are also alive.

sorry for my english, I live in Poland and my english ain't no perfect :P

adrian said...

I would call this AN UNPUBLISHED STORY FROM WORLD'S FINEST, for example World's Finest #123 1/2 :)