Batman and Catwoman are getting married, so just how will this impact the dynamic between Batman and Superman? Tom King explores that very question in the delightful two-part “Super Friends” running through Batman #36 and #37, drawn by Clay Mann and Seth Mann. More importantly, King doesn’t just examine the friendship between the World’s Finest heroes, but also the kinship of the men inside the costumes. Just as importantly, he also examines — after first establishing — the budding friendship between Selina Kyle and Lois Lane, who scarcely ever had reasons to cross paths before, let alone bond on a night out. With DC Comics’ two preeminent heroes on the cusp of both being married, King dives headfirst into a whole new era for all involved, and the results are hilariously wonderful.
What’s the very first aspect that King establishes? That guys will be guys, even if they both wear capes. Bruce has popped the question, sure, but then he makes sure to let his best friend Clark know about it, right? Of course not — he just goes about his superheroing business, much to Selina’s dismay. Not much gets by Superman, though, so it’s not like he hasn’t found out, but does he call his friend? Of course not — he also goes about his ways, much to Lois’ own discontent. Yes, Batman is getting married, but the guys are fine not speaking of it while the women not-so-quietly fume — an all-too-familiar real-world situation that King eagerly takes on. It’s comforting to know that even the world’s greatest superheroes sometimes act just like a couple of regular guys.
When these very same guys are forced by their respective women to confront their reasons for not discussing Bruce’s engagement, the truth behind their hesitation ultimately comes out. Through each couple’s respective discourses, King brilliantly derives these reasons, which turn out to be both surprising, yet perfectly logical as laid out. The conversations boil down decades of history to show that the two heroes have far more in common than mothers named Martha. In fact, the Dark Knight and Man of Steel are more similar than even seasoned readers might have realized.
So where do the World’s Finest Couples go on the first such double date in DC Comics history, as depicted in Batman #37? Well, that’s another answer that readers will find enjoyably surprising. Two superheroes, a reporter and a costumed cat-burglar walking into just about any locale has the seeming ingredients of a campy laugh-fest, but King handles it with a serious yet lighthearted touch. If there were ever a plausible reason for these two heroes to switch costumes in a modern setting, King finds it, paying homage to a classic Silver Age gimmick, without seeming gimmicky himself. It’s also the funniest, and arguably the best, such situation DC’s two flagship heroes have ever found themselves thrown into.
Eventually, Bruce and Clark have their heart-to-heart — or as close to one as these two guys are going to have — before the topic turns to, what else, baseball. But King sets up the nature of the new super-bro relationship by story’s end, and it’s a terrific intro to the new status quo. Meanwhile, Selina and Lois have a teetotalling bonding moment of their own, and set up their own relationship going forward — as besties. King sends out an optimistic message of friendship, both between Bruce and Clark, as well as between Selina and Lois, who stand to become a new World’s Finest duo of their own in the future.
King raises some other important questions as well — did Selina already know who Clark was? Can Batman hit a fastball off Superman? And, what will this super-foursome do on their next night out? Some of those answers are presented within the course of these two issues, but others give readers yet another reason to follow King’s run on the title — as if they needed one.