Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Julian Lopez and Bit
Coloring by Hi-Fi
Lettering by Jared K. Fletcher
Published by DC Comics
Review by David Pepose
With Superman off-planet and Batman presumed killed-in-action, a new team must assume the mantle of the World's Finest. With Red Robin teaming up Kryptonian superhero Nightwing (both being adopted sons of their respective mentors), Sterling Gates crafts a story that, despite its flaws, has some great fist-pumping moments that will make this story worthwhile.
Gates' writing style frequently has him opening up his stories with a bang. The first six pages of his script are just poetry in motion, as he quickly establishes Tim Drake's angrier, more Bat-like nature. "Pull over or I will pull you over!" Red Robin shouts, as he grabs upon a speeding biker. And the moment where the new Nightwing and Red Robin meet, well, that's the sort of pathos that makes a shared universe worthwhile in the first place.
With this stellar introduction, it's almost enough to make you forget about the book's weaknesses -- namely, a somewhat frenetic second half that doesn't give a great explanation of why Red Robin was needed at all (or at least, not without making Chris Kent look a little dumb), as well as a jarring transition for Tim getting what he wanted out of all this. Still, Gates gets points for using some of the less-seen villains of the Superman and Batman franchises, especially giving the Penguin a great voice of his own.
In terms of the art of Julian Lopez, when he hits, he hits not just a home run, but a grand slam. That introductory sequence, with Red Robin battling a biker gang is just perfectly choreographed, with composition and panel placement just being played to the hilt. That said, sometimes Lopez can't always deliver -- while he certainly does a great wind-up for Nightwing revealing his identity to Red Robin, the splash page with the goods feels a little too pedestrian in terms of the composition. (In his defense, however, there are a lot of credits to go on that page -- it's a wonder they all fit.)
Despite some story logic that gets a little shaky upon a second glance, Sterling Gates certainly shows in this first issue of World's Finest that enthusiasm and good emotional beats can go a long way. This series is definitely showing DC's willingness to expand their core properties, and to tend these supporting characters as viable properties in their own right -- and with some great artwork and what looks to be a writer reaching for the big time, World's Finest may live up to its name sooner than we all might think.