Warning: SPOILERS for Superman & Lois‘ Season 1 Finale – “Last Sons of Krypton”.
Superman & Lois‘ season 1 finale may have dropped a hint to Batman’s past with Superman and the Dark Knight’s possible future as well. Batman is missing from the Arrowverse and his whereabouts have been a major plot point on Batwoman, which used to star Ruby Rose as Bruce Wayne’s cousin, Kate Kane, inheriting Batman’s role as Gotham City’s caped crusader. Supergirl also referenced how Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and Batman were friends in Earth-38’s pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths canon.
In Superman and Lois‘ finale, General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh) uttered the words “World’s Finest”, which DC Comics fans can’t help but catch as a reference to the classic Superman and Batman team-up comic. World’s Finest Comics was published by DC from 1941 to 1986 and spotlighted Superman and Batman (with Robin), DC’s top marquee heroes. However, while the covers showed the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight together, for many years the heroes were actually featured in separate stories before they finally teamed up. Wonder Woman also joined them in World’s Finest on occasion. World’s Finest has been briefly revived by DC over the years, and comics fans recognize it as a shorthand reference to Superman and Batman teaming up. In one of the first (and best) Arrowverse crossovers, Supergirl co-opted the title “World’s Finest” for Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) meeting The Flash (Grant Gustin), which kicked off the Girl of Steel joining The CW’s superhero universe.
When General Lane said “World’s Finest” in Superman & Lois’ finale, he was comforting Sarah Cushing (Inde Navarrette), who was asking the Department of Defense’s commander about whether they’ve found Jordan Kent (Alex Garfin). Sam felt bad about being dismissive at first and he assured his grandson’s girlfriend that, “We have the world’s finest looking for him.” Lane was most likely referring to Superman and John Henry Irons (Wole Parks), who worked as a team to stop the continuous attempts to stage a Kryptonian takeover of Earth by Morgan Edge (Alex Rayner). But the General may also have meant the soldiers of the DoD and the U.S. military are the “world’s finest.” Either way, Batman was almost certainly not on Sam Lane’s mind, nor would a mention of the Dark Knight give any hope to Sarah that Jordan would be found.
Still, could Sam saying “World’s Finest” be more than just an Easter egg for DC fans? Superman & Lois has purposely held itself separate from the rest of the Arrowverse and the show has been very deliberate whenever it does mention the greater universe or DC canon. For instance, in Superman & Lois‘ finale, Clark namedropped Thaddeus Killgrave (Brendan Fletcher), who appeared earlier in the season. Armed with one of Killgrave’s weapons, Jonathan Kent (Jordan Elsass) defended his mother, Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch), when she tried to save Jordan’s mind from being taken over by Zeta-Roh (A.C. Peterson), Morgan Edge’s Kryptonian father.
However, Batman still hasn’t received a green light to appear in full Bat regalia in the Arrowverse, even though versions of Bruce Wayne have appeared in both Crisis On Infinite Earths, played by Kevin Conroy, and in Titans, where Wayne was portrayed by Iain Glen. Batwoman established that the Bruce Wayne of Earth-Prime has been missing for years and it’s not 100% certain if the friendship Superman and Batman were said to have on Supergirl’s Earth-38 still happened post-Crisis.
Still, considering how careful Superman & Lois has been when name-dropping anything from DC, there could possibly be more to Sam Lane’s “World’s Finest” than using it as a shorthand for Superman’s newfound team with John Henry Irons. If Batman does finally appear in the Arrowverse, it would actually be more impactful for the Dark Knight to do so on Superman & Lois in order to deliver TV’s first full-fledged World’s Finest team-up.