Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Review: Worlds' Finest #25
Worlds' Finest #25 came out last week and was the last issue with the 'old' theme of Huntress and Power Girl stranded on Prime Earth. We know that the weekly Worlds' End book is coming up, redefining Earth 2, is right around the corner. And I am pretty sure that I don't think I will be following along. I might wait and see.
And so in some ways, this is a sort of eulogy for this book. This might be the last time I do an in-depth review for the title. And in some ways this is a 'perfect' issue to close on as it sort of embodies much of the problems I have had with Paul Levitz' run. From the semi-caricature personalities of the characters, to the 'treading water' overall feel of lack of progression on the book, to the deus ex machina sudden leaps in progression that the book takes, this has been an uneven book. At least in this issue, the two characters are together! All to often, Levitz split them up.
The sad thing is I was so excited for this book when it was announced! Huntress and Power Girl, two of my favorites, starring in their own book! With art by George Perez and Kevin Maguire! With a E2 history as Robin and Supergirl!! It seemed perfect.
One thing I will say about this issue is that the art by Tyler Kirkham is lusciously beautiful. There is a faint whiff of fan service. But overall, this is light years better than the uneven efforts of RB Silva over the last year.
And please don't dwell on the cover as nothing even remotely close to this happens in the book.
So farwell to this book and farewell to Prime Earth ...
The issue opens up with a relatively 'slash fiction' scene. That, in and of itself, is interesting. Imagine if DC had these two become a couple! But it occasionally goes over the top in its feel. And part of that is this rather odd characterization of Power Girl has having an overwhelmingly voracious sexual appetite. I know ... there is nothing wrong with that. But remember she was going to get busy in the Hadron collider after meeting the guy a few minute prior as the heroes were investigating a way home. I don't know if her sensual needs should trump all priorities.
Knowing they are leaving Prime Earth forever, Karen has spent the night partying. She comes in so barely dressed that Helena says it is the 'flight of shame' and that Karen is dressed like 'the entertainment' (I assume she means a stripper). Power Girl dressed like a stripper and doing the flight of shame? Really?
Again, this one personality trait has overwhelmed the character at points making her feel one-dimensional.
Am I over-thinking this? Can I have her be independent and in control of her body and free-spirited without overdoing it?
Meanwhile Helena has decided that she would have extra helpings of the sweets this Earth has to offer. We see her very sensually eating a cupcake with so much tongue I thought she was going to lick her eyebrows clean.
And some of that slashiness comes in here as we see Helena watching Karen move in and out of the shower and then pins Karen's towel to the wall.
Remember way back when Helena survived radiation exposure and I wondered if Levitz was subtly showing that she had manifested powers. I am still wondering that here as she flicks the fork and embeds it in the wall, cracking it.
If Helena was having extra helpings of sweets, Karen's extra helpings were the men she was 'close to'. She wants to send them each a letter.
Look at that pile of letters!
How many is that?
I just don't know. Seems insane.
Once showered and dressed, the heroes walk around Boston, taking it in one last time before they head home. There are a couple of things that I think are worth noting here.
One, how insane is it that Earth Prime is the 'safer world' in the DCU when it feels so unrelentingly dark. That makes me depressed. Not that Earth Prime can't be safer than Earth 2 overall. But that this world, as bleak and grim as it is, is considered safer.
Second, Helena worries that she simply isn't tough enough to survive Earth 2. Is this foreshadowing for some tragic ending in the crisis of Worlds' End?
Desaad is still stuck on Prime Earth and he knows that the heroes are close to crossing over and so he decides to break into Karen's facility to try to hijack a way home too.
He seems drawn to Dr. Spears, who he ran into last month as well.
Helena and Karen's walk brings them to the lab just in time to hear the yells of Spears and the workers.
I include this page only to showcase how wonderful Kirkham's art is. That is a powerful Power Girl smashing through the wall. Just beautiful.
And then this silly moment ... almost out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Power Girl punches Desaad so hard that he gets stuck in the ceiling.
The book ends with the heroes flying through the portal, getting back to Earth 2, only to discover Boston in flames and ruin. I don't read Earth 2 so I don't know if this makes sense. Can I also say that this final trip back to Earth 2 felt a little anticlimactic? We have heard how they struggled over 5 years to try to find any tech that might help. And then suddenly, basically not from their own endeavors but by copying a villain, they suddenly put it all together in 2 issues.
Maybe I have been too hard on this book, on Levitz and his characterization, on the lack of progression on the book, on the rough art that has been on the pages for a while. Maybe it is because I love the characters so much I wanted so much more.
But I don't think I will miss this book once it isn't on my pull list.
And I never thought I would say that about a Power Girl or a Huntress book.
Overall grade: B (raised a full grade because of the wonderful art)