If a picture says a thousand words, the World’s Finest covers of yore are entire novels. Faulkner novels. As in, engrossing and deeply troubling. While this storied title was innocent, action-packed fun for generations of comic book-loving kids, things look very different when viewed from an adult perspective. It’s like when you look at H.R. Pufnstuf clips on YouTube and realize that it’s one big LSD endorsement.
I’m glad Superman, Batman, Robin got along so fabulously in their early days. But certain covers suggest that there were exploits that were not recorded in the JLA archives. (And please do not leave us an angry note about how warped my mind is or how I’m reading too much into these pristine, utterly sincere comics. I know my mind is warped, and trampling on childhood memories is what WTF? Wednesday does.)
“Remember that languid, sun-dappled afternoon at the swimming hole? Yeah, we’re not gonna mention that to Flash and Green Lantern. They might get the wrong idea. Robin, this is our little secret.” There’s an epic story going on here. Batman’s teasing expression says, “Should we?” Meanwhile, Superman seems vaguely embarrassed, like he’s thinking, “Bruce, this is kinda fucked up. On the other hand, it’s been a long day, and Robin and these half-naked young men seem to be OK with it …”
There are a lot of jokes I could make here about bringing out the big guns or being locked and loaded … oh, wait. I just did. Grayson’s a smug, confident little bastard, isn’t he?
When it comes to “crime-fighting,” sometimes, three’s a crowd. Batman’s clenched-fist jealousy here is palpable, as if he knows that things will never be the same between him and Robin after this night.
Just a little something for our private photo album.
I’m sorry, but something is seriously off here. Note the overly proud expression on Batman’s face, which seems to say, “See? I told you. Prime sidekick.” And Superman’s all delighted like, “Damn. That’s a nice, strong ward you got there. How about we all go swimming sometime?”