Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: Worlds' Finest #13

Worlds' Finest #13 came out last week and was a sort of let down. After reading the very good Superman Unchained #1, this issue seemed to be a bit of a pause on the momentum this book has recently had. Not much happens here that pushes the story forward. And the few things that do seem to do that aren't exactly mind-blowing or even exciting.

Writer Paul Levitz has been building up this story of Huntress and Power Girl fighting the forces of Apokolips while on the run. Given that the two have been operating under the radar for 5 years on Earth, I didn't expect that wrinkle to add much. There is some possibilities there. Power Girl as Karen Starr is a celebrity who was attacked at a convention and has gone missing. There has to be some fallout from that.

And, after being spoiled for a while with George Perez and Kevin Maguire on art, we get Robson Rocha on art today. The art here is fine but nothing spectacular and certainly not the wondeful stuff Perez and Maguire brought here. One thing I do like is Emanuella Lupacchino doing covers. Nice work here.

Comics as a medium relies on story and art to work together to bring me in and let me lose myself. Mediocre story and lackluster art together isn't ever going to entertain.

Desaad has taken over Starr Industries and attacked Helena and Karen at a recent trade expo. With no where to run without being out in the open, the two decide to go into hiding.

That doesn't mean that they are huddled in the dark. If there is one thing I like about these two heroes in this book is that they have been very pro-active, bringing the fight to the bad guys rather than reacting. This has been Huntress' modus operandi in the New 52 since her first mini-series (well worth reading if you haven't with drool-worthy art by Marcus To).

Anyways ... the two decide to investigate how Desaad (as Michael Holt) was able to take over Starr Industries. And that means a heart to heart conversation at arrow point with someone from the SEC.

So this is about as close to criminal activity as you can get, tying up a government official and threatening death. Again, there could be some interesting future beats for this title here. Two super-powered beings on the run and breaking into the SEC ... sounds like they are super-villains. Wouldn't it be interesting if Superman and Batman get brought in to bring them down.

Now as it turns out the woman from the SEC is actually a minion of Desaad and goes into a sort of mental shutdown when the Huntress' questioning probes too deep.

Meanwhile, Power Girl is also in the SEC thrashing some of the security guards as she looks for more concrete proof of the takeover.

Now this part made me chuckle a bit. Karen comes across a moldy sort of ledger in the SEC safe which holds information about Holt's taking over Starr Industries.

Really? A paper ledger? It felt antiquated, like Eliot Ness discovering Al Capone's accountant's receipt book.

It seems that Desaad has his claws in the SEC more than I would expect because a giant wolf creature plows into the office and attacks the two to a standstill, forcing them to repeat.

It is hard for me to believe that a giant wolf is able to be easily corralled in the SEC without everyday workers stumbling across it. So this also felt a bit silly.

Since the two are on the run, there really isn't a home for them to run to, they have to hole up in a safe house Huntress has set up in Virginia.

One thing that does work in this book is the way Levitz is able to play on 'The Odd Couple' sort of personalities between these two women. Karen is an outgoing and brash. Huntress is cool and calculating. But there is this other side of her, a sort of product of her Wayne Manor upbringing.

So this moment where they pause to catch their breath was entertaining. This 'safe house' is a tastefully furnished mansion. And Huntress pouring coffee seems so formal. Meanwhile Karen seems uncomfortable in this place. She seems too bright to be in a such a 'stuffy' place.

It is a brief repose because Desaad is hot on their trailer.

Earlier in the story we see him torturing one of his minions to death. Here he is fascinated by Power Girl being from another Earth. It sounds as if Desaad is trapped on Earth too ... and he wants out. So he needs to learn more about her.

And so he turns this new acolyte into a sort of ogre-like being to send out.

If anyone else reads this book, is it implied that the earlier dead acolyte was Hakkou?

This was my favorite part of the book and definitely elevated the final grade.

The giant dog-thing ends up sniffing out Huntress and Power Girl and the attack ends up spilling over into the city. 

I love the first two panels. Huntress questions just how a screaming squad car can help out against this beast. And then the next panel shows it flying backwards upside down while she sarcastically says 'right'. That worked very well.

Another thing that I like about this book when we get a sense of the heroic upbringing of these two. These two were raised by revered heroes on Earth-2. So I liked this aside when Huntress talks about how Batman would train her to weaponize her environment.

That is a great page.

The idea works when a couple of factory chimneys and a whole ton of electricity finally brings this monster down when straight-up haymakers by Power Girl couldn't.

Simmering in the background since the first storyline was the idea that Power Girl might be slowly growing weaker. Against Hakkou, she succumbed to the radiation. Here her punches seem ineffective. Why this would happen 5 years into her stay on Earth seems odd so hopefully that will be explored. I do like the idea that the people from different Earths might have different power levels in a different universes.

So what can I say, this felt like a pretty empty issue with a couple of good moments. As usual, it is the small character moments that shine here ... no surprise given Levitz is at the helm.

Overall grade: C


Anonymous said...

Bronze Age Supergirl had a similar problem "On and Off Again Superpowers" induced by an drug slipped to her by a gigolo.
Sadly this plotline was never quite resolved back in the day I wonder if Levitz is riffing on it with PG?

Lord remember when Supergirl had a real problem with gigolos? Long time ago before Superman started destroying Smallville during fire fights with Kryptonians...



Supertorresmo said...

Anyone else noticed the changing belt on power girl? On last cover it was red, but blue inside the issue, now it is red on the cover but yellow and "front-less"...

Anonymous said...

I noticed the belt, last issue it was Pre-New 52 style, this issue it is New 52 style (Supergirl #20).

Martin Gray said...

Yeah, great characterisation but a bit of a plodder, storywise - did we really need two fights with the dog?

Anj said...

I hadn't noticed the belt. Maybe DC is trying to figure out which one to use.

Agreed Mart, this felt plodding.