Thursday, September 22, 2016
World's Finest Rivals!
Lois Lane #89 sports a dramatic cover by Neal Adams which shows Lois and Bruce Wayne getting hitched while a miserable and mopey Superman glowers on. "The Bride of Batman" is a frothy tale which begins in a world where Bruce Wayne is smitten with Lois and eventually asks her out, after Superman of course ignores her yet again. They fall in love and become happily married.
Superman is largely reduced in this one to the well-meaning friend who stands jilted while the love of his life goes on to make happy existence for herself. Batman reveals his identity to Lois just in time for her to help him and Superman fend off an attack by the mob who are trying to spring a trap which will end the threat of the Caped Crusader and his allies in the Justice League. Lois does some dandy misdirection and helps end the threat and round up the gang. The story ends with the Bat-couple still happy and Batman Jr. well into his training with both Batman and Robin. Superman meanwhile settles for being the best friend.
In the story "The Saga of Superman Vs. Batman" (make a great movie title that) we have a tale in which Superman and Batman meet as boys when Superboy is just getting his career started. In this story Bruce Wayne's dad is still alive though his mother has passed. A series of unfortunate coincidences involving a proposed cure for Kryptonite poisoning cause young Bruce to imagine Superboy has killed his father. That grudge inspires him to master criminal studies and makes him take on the role of Batman. Then he begins his scheme to to revenge himself on Superman, all the while pretending to be his ally. His real ally is Lex Luthor and that secret proves to be key to the whole story. The truth sets everyone free but not everyone survives.This is an imaginary story with a real punch and one which allows a darker side of the Batman to shine through for most of the story.
These are both dandy imaginary yarns that show that heroes are not always destined to be best friends, something we find all too often in modern comics reality alas.