Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Worlds' Finest #7

I have been down on Worlds' Finest for a couple of months wondering if this title would ever really find its way, ever get to the actual story it is trying to tell. Between rest issues, repetitive themes, and a feeling of treading water, my enjoyment of the book was tanking. And that is sad because I have been loving the art on the book. And frankly, I have been a Power Girl and a Huntress fan in the past.

Worlds' Finest #7 came out this week and sort of buoyed my support for the title. That's not to say it isn't without fault. There are some things which left me scratching my head a bit. But there were enough small moments and enough progression of the underlying story here that I was entertained.

If it is one thing that writer Paul Levitz is noted for, it is solid characterization. And this issue we definitely get a nice look at Huntress, a better idea of her concept of family as she interacts with her alternate universe step-brother. And that part of the story is just made that much more solid by the expressive art work done by Kevin Maguire. In fact, it is in the Maguire pages that a subtle Karen moment happens, a panel where the art tells the story.

One thing that I worry about is Levitz' ability to have Power Girl and Huntress interact in the same story given their different power levels. This is yet another issue where the two split up and do separate plots. What I want to see is the Worlds' Finest working together.

No complaints about George Perez' art on the Power Girl-centric part of the book. And, finally, now shredded PG costume, a, every issue occurrence that was becoming comical.

Last issue, Huntress had come clean to Robin, telling Damien who she was, where she was from, and what her mission was. And just like that, the three heroes decide to team up to find out who is skimming millions from Wayne Tech.

Here is that small moment that I love. Damien talks about family, the call of blood, reaching across worlds.

Look at Karen's face as she sees those clasped hands. There is some pain there. She was so close to her cousin. On Earth 2, Kal was like a father. And yet she has avoided Superman and Supergirl as much as possible. It is such an interesting part of her character. You would think she would seek out Superman at the very least.

It makes me wonder if this semi-superficial party girl persona is a mask, a way to hide the emotional pain she is in by putting on a happy face. Wonderful work.

I do wonder if I read into these things too much.

There are 2 electronic trails of the Wayne robberies. Huntress and Robin somewhere cold. Meanwhile, Power Girl heads to the Congo to root out the other cell.

One thing about Karen, she is dogged in her wish to get home. Even this 'crime fighting' exercise she wants to make disappear by throwing money at it. Heck, she is a billionaire. Both in this issue and in other places she talks about wanting to be in the lab working rather than out heroing. I don't know quite how I feel about that.

Almost immediately, the Bats are attacked by an exceedingly large pack of wolves.

I also don't know how I feel about Helena killing these wolves like this. I suppose survival is first. But seeing a bunch of dead wolves lying about perforated with arrows makes me a little skittish.

The key thing here is just how quickly these two adapt and work in synch in this fight and mission. In fact, Damien even needs to save Helena at one point. That sense of family and similar training works well.

In the Congo, Karen finds the satellite dish and goes to investigate.

Again, we hear her sort of complain about needing to do this. She would rather be in the lab or tanning herself on the beach.

I just don't think that Power Girl should be obsessed with such superficial stuff like tanning. I still think it is some sort of defense mechanism so she doesn't need to face the sadness in her life. In some ways, that would mirror the 'reappearance' of the Dark Supergirl we saw in James Robinson's JLA.

Amazingly, despite running into gunmen who blast her with Apokoliptian assault rifles, Karen's costume stays in one piece! I was really expected to see the 'shreds and shadows' Power Girl again! At least it proves that Apokolips is active here.

But before she can interrogate the thieves, a boom tube opens, sucking up the gunmen and vaporizing them.

Hmmm ...

Back to the northern pair, I thought this was such a great moment. Huntress and Robin discover a similar satellite-dished building and go to investigate. Damien, who tries to take charge the whole time, tells Helena to be quiet.

I have gushed about Maguire's expressive work before but that Huntress panel is perfect. You can tell the emotion she is feeling here - a sisterly sort of love and pride. This is basically her little brother. Just wonderful.

Out of the cabin comes a large intimidating wolfman, garbed in Apokoliptian clothes including the black bandolero they found at the original site.

Without hesitation, Huntress arms her crossbow with a projectile and slaughters this thing, complete with blood spurting out the front of his chest from a shot from behind.

Again, I find it hard to swallow that Huntress would so quickly go for a killing blow in this thing. I don't know how her father or Earth 1's Batman would respond to her almost callous use of lethal force in both animals and enemies. I know she is half-Catwoman. But still, I thought this was quick. And she didn't bat an eyelash.

But moreover, what the heck does Apokolips and wolfmen need with Wayne Tech millions? Is someone on Apokolips really a cyber-thief?? Why??

But that family code only goes so far. She makes Damien promise not to tell Batman about the Huntress and who she is. Interesting. The question is how much does Batman know about her already. And surprising that Damien agrees ... although he might have those fraternal feelings for her too.

So Huntress and Power Girl split up. And Apokolips are skimming cyber-funds. And Huntress has no problem killing (I suppose we saw this in her mini-series as well). I suppose it didn't bother me with Helena Bertinelli. But being a Wayne and murdering is a bit off-putting and probably worth exploring more.

But ...

Power Girl's costume remained intact. We get the briefest look into some of Karen's anguish. We see that family pride in Helena. And the Apokolips story is moved forward.

Add to that the consistent superlative art in this book.

I have to say despite the downsides, I liked this issue a lot. I can only hope that the next issue we see the two heroes working side by side.

Overall grade: B/B+ (nudged up by art)


Kim said...

This was pretty filler-y issue of World's Finest. I did enjoy it, but it was very much a case of, "What happens next?".

Martin Gray said...

I'm with Kim, it felt like an enjoyable chapter, but I'm waiting for the main event. I'm surprised that Power Girl didn't fly up the Boom Tube for a spot of investigating.

I've no problem about Helena killing Apokolips creatures, given the damage they did on her homeworld - they'd kill humans in an instant. I did, though, scratch my head at Kara's instantaneous 'oh well' as regards the death of the boy soldiers.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

The 'what's next' feeling has been there on this title since the first issue. Similar to Levitz and the LSH.

And Kara's ambivalence towards the soldiers is a bit odd.