I have been a lifelong Huntress fan and I would say an above average Power Girl fan during my comic lifetime. These are characters who I have followed around the DCU, often collecting books they have starred in from Birds of Prey to Justice League Europe. I really like these characters and so I was thrilled to see they would be starring in their own book. While it meant they expunging of Helena Bertinelli, it meant the return of Helena Wayne and a Power Girl who was the Supergirl of Earth 2. It seemed like the perfect mix. Even the initial creative team - writer Paul Levitz who has a known love of Supergirl and artists extraordinaire George Perez and Kevin Maguire - made this seem like a perfect storm of comic goodness.
So why hasn't this book really grabbed me? Worlds' Finest #17 came out this week and was another fine issue I suppose. The ongoing plots of Power Girl's glitchy abilities and Huntress' tracking down of a super-powered arsonist are moved forward. And there is some interesting banter between the characters. But, in this issue in particular, everything seems just a bit off. Some of the things the characters do and say seem the tiniest bit off the mark. It is a decent a quick read, but nothing earth shattering, nothing that leaves me clamoring for more.
The new artist on the book is RB Silva whose style has morphed to something much more angular and rough when compared to his early work on Superboy. In my head, this book should have a very smooth polished look - like Francis Portela or cover artist Emanuela Lupacchino. So I don't know if this is the right fit either. (I do think this current Silva style would work well on a solo Huntress street level book.)
As a result, this book remains one that I read and kind of shrug and say 'ok' and file away. And I want it to be so much more than that.
The book opens up with Karen trying to take advantage of her inconsistent powers by getting a tattoo. Alas, her powers flip on just in time, breaking the ink needle before the artist can begin.
There is another reason for this visit as Helena is trying to see if she can identify the tattoo artist who inked the pyromaniac magical villain from last issue.
The scene ends with Karen letting Helena know that she is aware of Helena's ink (this after Helena teased her about trying to get a tattoo to begin with).
I keep trying to wrap my mind around this ending. One, while not a tattoo guy (I am glad Karen remains inkless), I like Helena's homage to her Bat and Cat heritage. Two, I don't know why she would hide it from Karen. I understand it might be personal but these two are supposed to be like sisters. Three, I don't think the implication here is that Karen is x-ray peeking at Helena. While in a semi-private area, the top would certainly peek over shorts, low cut pants, etc. Helena must know it would be partially visible at times so why the shock. Lastly, we know it was done on Earth 2 (the inker Adrienne is 'gone'). So it wasn't in memoriam .
That scene definitely reminded me of the classic Siegel/Shuster Superman origin
where the doctor is befuddled that he can't vaccinate Clark. Another broken needle?
Thanks to blog pal ealperin for tracking down the Siegel/Shuster panel for me!
As happens a lot in the book, the two decide to separate to pursue different goals.
Karen decides that the best way to get an unadulterated yellow sun ray bath outside of Earth's atmosphere.
So she drops millions to take a 'celebrity shuttle ride', to get her up and into space. And, of course, Levitz can't have a Karen scene without a little titillation. Here she says that having sex with the pilot in the shuttle would be fun but she has some goals. I don't mind the carefree Karen as long as it is an aspect of her character and doesn't overshadow her intelligence and fierce pursuit of justice. This seemed a little silly. Especially because she basically revealed her 'secret identity' to this guy and is hoping a 'non-disclosure' line in the contract will keep him from blabbing. That seems irresponsible.
And I think the 'Starr Industries has been bought out' storyline was resolved too quick. One panel explanation in a back issue and suddenly everything is perfect and she's flush with cash again?
Also, I always worry about these on/off power stories because they need too much suspension of disbelief. Would Karen really go into a vacuum if her powers could cut out at any second, killing her?
As for Helena, she is still trying to track down the young girl with the magic 'shadow' tattoos and apparent flame powers. Last issue she torched fashion shows. This time it is trendy nightclubs.
I like Helena's spirit in this book as she often enters the fray with little regard for her own safety, fighting super-powered beings just like dear old dad. But calling this villain a 'little bitch'? It felt a bit off.
I'm no prude. I read Brubaker and Chaykin, books littered with curses. This just seemed beneath Huntress a little.
As I said above, Silva's art just works better in scenes like this. This is good stuff.
But then I thought this was almost comical. I suppose not every super-villain has a getaway car or plane. And this young woman seems more misguided then funded. But to see her riding away from the fire on a bike seemed almost silly.
I suppose this is a comment on the villain. If she is riding away on a Schwinn, there must be some more to her story. My guess she really is going to be a very young girl, angry at the world.
But wouldn't a well tossed Huntress-rang/crossbow bolt in the spokes put an end to this.
Okay, the eventual fight between the two is well done.
Meanwhile, Power Girl learns that maybe there is more to her screwy powers than just them fading in and out. While 'tingly', the sunbath seems to overload her. Glowing like a comet and out of control with energy, she plummets to Earth. She is still in control enough to guide her falling body towards Helena.
I wonder of the Earth 1 sun is just a little different than the Earth 2. Maybe the solar processing of her cells are a little off here. In some ways, this looks like the 'corona wave' fireball Supergirl has shown in her book.
I'm not sure how Helena is able to piece together that the giant fireball from space is Power Girl but she does. She breaks off her pursuit to dive in the water and swim to Power Girl.
We do learn more about our villain's motives. She uses her 'shadows' to fight the cops and escape.
This is clearly personal to her. I wonder if this whole obsession with beauty is based on some poor self-image, some bullying. This is a little different than the 'pursuit of power and control' motive so prevalent these days. Interesting.
And there is Karen, glowing, steaming, and clearly worried.
Maybe the Parasite needs to drain her too?
So another issue, another issue with some good moments, another issue with some odd ones.
I always finish and seem more on the positive side than the negative. I guess I just like these characters and their interaction with each other. But I am never floored (although WF#0 came close but was a flashback to E2) and I wish I was. This book is below Supergirl in sales. I hope the Batman/Superman crossover gives it a boost.