Wednesday, 15 September 2010

World's Finest #6. Or not, as the case may be.

A few hours before getting home and sitting down to write this, a tweet from bleedingcool caught my eye. It was announcing a new article, entitled Why Do People Hate Azazal Anyway - Blast From The Past By Paul O'Brien. Now, the article was basically an excuse to reprint one of Paul's best ever review from the sadly offline (now incorporated into, blasting Chuck Austen's The Draco storyline from a few years back, but it did get my brain's nostalgia centre a-buzzin'.

The X-Axis was a review site that ran from 1999 to 2006 before the regular updates shifted to a blog format, before its current incarnation. Written by British X-Men fan Paul O'Brien, it set itself the not-so-modest task of reviewing, in full, every X-Book that was released on a weekly basis, as well as dives into the history of the X-Men. It was a tremendously fun site. I don't remember how I discovered it, but once I did I was hooked, looking forward to its weekly updates with glee. One of its many strengths was Paul's ability to puncture pomposity and pretension whilst making you laugh and despair at the state of Marvel comics (but only a little bit), which considering he was looking at the X-Men books, he was able to do on a regular basis. To this day, I can only look at a week when Marvel backends an entire line of books or a ridiculous amount of crossover titles into one release and think of Paul's many tirades against such practices.

I miss the X-Axis. Reading Paul's brilliant one-line decimation of the entire Draco storyline makes me want to go back and randomly dip into his previous reviews. But I can't, as the site has long-since expired. Thankfully this Saturday is a podcast Saturday for the House to Astonish team, and when I get home from work there will be another episode of House to Astonish waiting for me in my itunes. If you haven't already listened to this great podcast, go on and give it a try. I think you'll like it.

And here's what you won't like. I made a mistake and was trying to force World's Finest #6 into the Man of Steel timeline like a round peg into a four-dimensional hole.

Confused? Not as much as I am!

Here's the rundown of the situation. World's Finest takes as its conceit the fact that each issue takes place a year apart, on the anniversary of Harrison Grey's death, with the time just after the first meeting of Superman and Batman in Man of Steel #3 as its starting point. Man of Steel covers six years in Superman's life, from his public debut to the discovery of his origins, and my eagerness to chronicle this era of Superman's history led me to... well... be lazy. As with each issue of World's Finest, #6 is subtitled 'Year Six', and knowing that Man of Steel #6 effectively concluded the sixth year of Superman's career, I quickly filed this issue away under pre Man of Steel #5-6 (I have reason to conclude that a sizeable gap exists between Man of Steel #4 and 5 - just take a look at Luthor's hairline! - and tend to view the final two parts of the series as being almost continuous.).

Of course, several months after my poor piece of filing, I come to read the issue for the first time in a few years. And stuff just doesn't add up. How can Batman and Superman know each other's civilian identities and openly display this knowledge before Adventures of Superman #440? What about Mr Mxyptlk? Superman seems awfully familiar with his modus operandi, despite the fact that they have yet to meet. The Daily Planet newsroom seems awfully familiar if you were reading comics in 1988 (look, there's Allie), but seems like  avery different place to the newsroom we see in Man of Steel #5.

I could have attempted to write a lovely snarky review pointing out the cockups in continuity, but the error is mine. Six years on from the first meeting of Superman and Batman (there is no hard evidence to suggest how much time has passed between Man of Steel #3 and World's Finest #1) puts us at least several months after Man of Steel #6, and with the vagiaries of comic book dating, this issue fits in very nicely post Adventures #440, more than likely between Action Comics #600 and the start of the Return to Krypton storyline that started in Action #601 Superman #18.

So, my apologies for my mistake and for the wall of text that comprised this post.

Next of World of Superman: We get back on track and check up with Lex Luthor's first attack against the Justice League in Justice League: Incarnations #3


  1. #601 was the first issue of ACTION COMICS WEEKLY. "Return to Krypton" jumped over to SUPERMAN #18.

    But, ain't continuity fun? ;)

  2. Dammit, somebody read this post... and found out a far more basic error than the error that inspired the post! Can't believe I let this one slip through.