World’s Finest 271 – the many origins of the Superman/Batman team

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Roy Thomas joins Rich Buckler and Frank McLaughlin for a full-length anniversary story, which weaves together all the various origins of the Superman/Batman team, 200 issues after their team-ups began, in World’s Finest 271 (Sept. 81).

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The villain in the story, Atoman, is kryptonite powered, and dressed in a costume almost identical to that of Powerman, from one of the origin stories given for the team.  Superman and Batman find themselves dreaming about first meetings, but ones they never actually had. These refer to the first time the heroes actually teamed up, on the Superman radio show, back in the 1940s.

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This story really ought to be a lot more fun than it is.  Roy Thomas does a very good job pulling all the contradictory tales together, and even works in the Superboy/Robin team-up story from Adventure Comics.

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But therein lies the problem.  Page after page after page of this story simply recaps one meeting story after another.  It puts them all in a chronological order, and tidies up various continuity mistakes.  But it takes the story an awful long time to really move forward.

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It does finally pick up towards the end, as the heroes figure out that Atoman is from Earth-2, and the versions of Superman, Batman and Robin from that universe join in with the Earth-1 heroes to defeat him.

But in truth, what I found, and still, find, most entertaining in this issue is the one page explanation of the various sources that Roy Thomas drew on to craft this tale.

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