19 January 2014

The New Team

Fans eagerly looking forward to the new Superman/Batman team-up movie were disappointed this week with news that their cinematic meeting would be postponed because Ben Affleck, cast as Bruce Wayne, broke his leg. That report turned out be false, though the delay is real, hopefully because the studio thinks this movie could be better than the two heroes’ last ones with a good script.

Still, the whole situation put us in mind of the lead story in World’s Finest, #75 (March 1955), written by Bill Finger and drawn by Curt Swan: “The New Team of Superman and Robin!”

Like other memorable stories that appeared at regular intervals in the 1940s and ’50s, the premise of this adventure was a threat to the Dynamic Duo’s partnership. Batman is laid up with a broken leg, so Superman comes to Gotham City and teams up with Robin to track down the fearsome Purple Mask Gang.

The tale’s emotional focus is lonely Batman moping around his cave, sadly poking at clues, and worrying that the Boy Wonder won’t want to return to their old methods now that he’s had a taste of flying. Of course, like nearly all the stories of that period, it ends with a return to the status quo ante. And, as with Ben Affleck, Batman’s leg turns out to be just fine.

“The New Team of Superman and Robin!” was reprinted in Superman in the Fifties, as well as other collections.

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