Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett talks All-Out Avengers and Batman/Superman: World's Finest.

I’ve long advocated for the idea that Marvel and DC needed to publish at least one monthly title featuring some of their major characters, done by top talents, where the stories were more or less out of continuity and event crossover free.  And by some strange coincidence, both publishers seem to be doing just that.  With its entirely out-of-context storyline and 22-pages of relentless action and glossy artwork, Marvel’s All-Out Avengers by Derek Landy and Greg Land might be one - the first issue certainly is, but so far we only have the first issue to go by.

But with over a half dozen issues out on the shelves, it’s pretty clear that Batman/ Superman: World's Finest by Mark Waid and Dan Mora is pretty much the very thing I’ve been looking for. Being set in the not-too-distant past, it’s pretty much immune from getting dragged into crossovers events, but it’s actually created one. Its first arc introduced a new major villain, The Devil Nezha, who has gone on to being the big bad of the current Batman vs. Robin five-issue mini-series, also written by Waid, featuring the father/son throwdown between Bruce and Damian Wayne we all knew was coming.

Speaking of Robin, being sent in the past means the comic features the Dick Grayson version of the character and it’s a delight to see the Dynamic Duo back in action.  Thanks to years of Teen Titans comics we tend to think of this Robin as being a super serious stiff. However, Wade has made him funny and relatable with an irrepressible joy for living. In issue #7 the prospect of a trip to the Fortress of Solitude has him climbing onto Superman’s back and without embarrassment yelling “Up, Up and Awayyyyy!”

Another thing I love about Batman/Superman: World's Finest is in a lot of ways it’s a fun, old-fashioned superhero comic without ever seeming dated. It’s especially evident with the seventh issue, the start of the “Strange Visitor” arc where Superman gains a teen sidekick. This is exactly the kind of story you used to get all the time in 1950’s issues of  World’s Finest comics where new, usually fraudulent, never to be seen again superheroes (Moon-Man, Tigerman, etc.) would frequently appear.

And, you have to be an old fan with a good memory to notice this, but the costume “Boy Thunder” is nearly identical to one worn by a powerless Superman in World’s Finest #178 from 1967 where he took on the crime-fighting persona of The Nova (yes, Superman was the original Nova). I have a terrible one myself, but like a lot of comic book covers, an eight-year-old me found that one unforgettable.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of