Overview: In Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #12, Robin and Supergirl go on a super date, and everything goes awry.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #12 begins months ago, Thursday, in Gotham City, a landlord enters one of his tenant’s apartments without forewarning. The tenant, shocked and appalled, demands to know why the landlord is there. The landlord says it’s because the tenant kept a monkey in the apartment, which is illegal. When the tenant finds out that the landlord had the monkey removed, the tenant runs out into the hallway, screaming for his pet, “Bingo.”
On Friday, in the Batcave, Batman returns from patrol and asks a visibly upset Robin (Dick Grayson) how his date with Supergirl went. “It went,” Robin mutters, busying himself with a doodle. It’s a doodle of his original Nightwing outfit, and he’s thinking of changing his identity because he blew his date with Supergirl. Batman reminds Robin that Supergirl will know it’s him.
At the Fortress of Solitude, Superman asks Supergirl how her date went. She recounts that on the night of the Man-Bat invasion of Boston, Robin, Black Lightning, and herself battled multiple Man-Bats together. When Robin saved himself from near death, Supergirl asked him out.
On Thursday, the day of the date, Supergirl gets all dressed up in a fashionable outfit, only to grow upset when she spies Robin in his superhero costume at the restaurant. She changes into her superhero outfit, grabbing all the eyes as she joins Robin at his table. She’s upset, and Robin, confused, tells her that they were in costume when they set the date, so he just assumed it was in costume.
The two get off to a rocky start. Meanwhile, outside, the tenant is running around searching for Bingo, his pet monkey. In the kitchen of the restaurant, the manager is screaming at his wait staff to make the dishes truly special as Robin and Supergirl are dining in.
Robin and Supergirl go into their backgrounds, each one making awkward mistakes during the course of their conversation. It’s tense, but they both nervously apologize to each other when called out for their comments.
Back at the Batcave, Robin tells Bruce Wayne how Supergirl reacted when he told her about his dead parents. Bruce levels with Dick, letting him know that everyone in Supergirl’s family died.
At the restaurant, while Robin and Supergirl wait forever for their food, Bingo, the pet monkey, is running around outside. Bingo leaps from a light post down onto a truck, causing a crash. The backdoor of the truck opens up, and hundreds of bowling balls fly out. These bowling balls lead to even more car crashes and mass chaos. Robin and Supergirl leap into action.
They both start out by saving people. When Robin spots the monkey, he goes to intercept it. Supergirl saves an older lady who compliments her beautiful hair. Just then, Robin, with a monkey attached to his face, knocks Supergirl into a fountain. After the monkey is returned to the tenant and everyone is safe, the two resume their meal. After they finish eating, Robin realizes he forgot to bring cash. He tells Supergirl to wait while he quickly changes out of costume and hits an ATM, but Supergirl says that she’ll pay, though she’s not happy about it.
Outside of the Fortress of Solitude, Supergirl and Superman fly around while Supergirl recounts her story. When she asks why Superman isn’t defending Robin, he says it’s not his place to tell her who to date. Supergirl says that while she wants to kill Robin, she feels bad for judging him as she watched him “tie himself in knots” for approval.
In the Batmobile, Batman and Robin drive around, and Batman advises Robin to take the loss and move on. When Robin laments that guys like them never have things work out for them, Batman tells Dick that he can’t force chemistry. People either click or don’t.
Analysis: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #12 is a cute one-shot that plays into a running theme in this series thus far, the flirtation between Robin and Supergirl. There’s no world-ending threat here, just awkward, uncomfortable, ridiculous bad chemistry between the two heroes as they make every wrong move possible. Robin and Supergirl misunderstand and misinterpret each other left and right, and the icing on the cake is, outside of the restaurant on their appointed date, a runaway monkey is causing an incredible pileup of cars and bowling balls.
This issue is cute, light-hearted, and sweet, and in typical Mark Waid fashion, there’s a greater message that comes across as Supergirl recaps her date with Superman while Robin does the same with Batman. Sometimes people don’t click, and while we may enjoy working with others, sometimes we don’t like who we are when romancing colleagues or coworkers. The message is the icing on a colorful, playful delight of a read.
Emanuela Lupacchino provides the pencils for this issue, with Tamra Bonvillain maintaining that bright, beautiful pop of color readers have come to cherish throughout this series. Lupacchino’s pencils excel at delivering the very animated expressions that propel this narrative forward. The awkward tone really lands because Supergirl and Robin are so dramatic in their reactions and fumble with each other.
Simply put, this one-off is just a fun break from the nonstop action we’ve seen in World’s Finest.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.