Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: Worlds' Finest #4

Worlds' Finest #4 came out last week and is another solid issue for this title. This isn't ground breaking or innovative. The plots aren't nuanced or layered. But what it is is fun. I read each issue and I am entertained. And really, that is what comics should be all about.

As with the last issues, the real strength of this title is the characterization and relationship between Kara and Helena. Paul Levitz really has a great grasp of the pair. They are comrades in arms for sure. But they are also friends. And they also have different personalities and different approaches to problems. Their conversations and interactions feel very natural. Those scenes just flow. It kind of reminds me of the Simone BoP quieter scenes.

The art on the book shines as well. Kevin Maguire really brings a lot to the table in the flashback scenes. I have to say, with the characterization my favorite part of the book, these flashbacks have been my favorite part of this opening arc. Much more than the mundane radioactive villain plot set in the present. George Perez does a solid job here as well.

As said above, the present plotline is the heroes trying to stop radioactive menace Hakkou who has overeaten his power source and as a result grown enormous and bestial.

There is something about this scene, a giant radioactive monster trashing ships in the waters off Japan that reminds me of my youth when rainy Saturdays were spent watching Godzilla/Gamera/Mothra movies.

It also shows how difficult it must be to write a book like this. What does Huntress have to offer in a battle like this? We'll find out.

For one thing, she can try to organize rescue efforts for all the sailors adrift from the wrecks Hakkou has created. Dropped off on one of the intact ship, Helena has this naval vessel start scooping up the survivors.

One thing that puzzled me earlier in this title is just how Huntress was able to walk around the wrecked nuclear reactor and face Hakkou in combat without wilting from the radiation. At least the point hasn't been forgotten by Levitz. Helena is radioactive ... but still upright.

It leads to one of those flashbacks, this time from 4 years ago and in Rome. As seems to be the running theme of these scenes, Kara is shown to be a bit of a man-eater, walking around in her 'Daisy Dukes' and talking about how she likes young men. There is a sort of joie de vivre in these moments; it is clear Kara is living her life how she wants. But it is enough to make the more staid Helena ask her if she ever stops.

These two are just starting out on this world but they seem to have different agendas. Kara is looking for Apokalips on this Earth and trying to get home in any way even if that means breaking into MIT. Helena has resolved to living on this Earth and getting settled, figuring out what she should do.

I suppose that if I wailed and gnashed my teeth that Superboy broke into a bank I should be as upset that Helena is skimming off of Bruce Wayne's funds and Kara is stealing technological secrets. But somehow, it didn't raise my ire as much.

Of course, they attract the attention of some local drug dealing thugs. Kara ends up crushing their car. And Helena, the one who 'looks weaker', thrashes the foot soldiers without even mussing up her ice cream cone. Everyone on the net seems to love this panel and I do too. Fantastic.

But the big thing here is Helena admitting she misses her life as Robin. It is time to do something on this Earth.

In a great scene, Helena tries to figure out that next step. In her Batman nightshirt, she reads exploits of Earth 1's Dark Knight and Catwoman and simply has to come to terms that these people are not her parents. They are different people.

Luckily a stray cat ripping a paper showing a thug pinned to a wall with arrows sparks the creative juices. And thus the Huntress is born. I have to say this desire to bring justice to this world even if it isn't hers is great.

I love these scenes. And next issue we get and all Maguire issue set on Earth 2. Excellent.

Back to the present, Hakkou swats an incoming missile towards the city making Kara give chase. She talks a lot here about how her powers seem to be decreased on this world; she isn't as fast or as strong. But she has that iron determination of Supergirl and Power Girl.

I do hope that the vampy side of Power Girl doesn't make her one dimensional. Boys don't always know where to put their toys? A bit of a double entendre? Or is that a single entendre?

She is able to head off the missile but the resulting explosion ends up recreating the 'boob window' of the old uniform. There have been plenty of homages to the old Power Girl, the old Supergirl, and even Batgirl in this book. This one is as fun as all those.

But I also had just a hint of Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 where Batgirl watches Supergirl fly into the face of danger, Supergirl visible in Babs' binoculars. Maybe I am looking too much for these things.

Lastly, as the villain is Hakkou, here is a haiku about the boob window panel.

Boob window appearance
Hmm, that didn't take too long
Fanboys all rejoice

Bad poetry aside, I thought this reappearance was inspired.

As I said, this is something of a throwback comic where you simply have to roll with some of the action and try not to think about it too much. So when the Huntress decides that the best thing to do is throw a nuclear warhead into Hakkou's mouth, I shrugged my shoulders and read on. I mean, that is a pretty big game of Russian roulette to play with Japan and the Pacific Ocean.

But this being comics, it works, Kara force feeds the warhead, it explodes, and Hakkou is absorbs the power, becomes overloaded, and dissipates. Incredible? I don't know. But whatever, the rest of the book is fun.

It does mean that this story ends with no answers to all the questions that arose. Who was Hakkou? Linked to Apokalips? Did he survive? Why did Kara get hurt from the radiation more than Helena? Lots of questions.

In the end, I think discovering the answers is going to be the central theme of this book. I suppose the question is will this back-and-forth style of writing, showing a current plot and building on it with glimpses in the past, work in the long term?

Outside of that, there is too much other stuff to think about. What will this Kara's response be when she finally meets Superman? (I have to assume much different than the current Supergirl's.) What will Huntress do when she meets Batman and/or Catwoman? When will Bruce discover the skimming of millions off the top? What will happen when Power Girl learns about Supergirl? And then meets Supergirl (please don't have them fight!)?

As I said, this book is perfect summer reading for me ... breezy and entertaining. Can't wait for next issue!

Overall grade: B+/B

1 comment:

valerie21601 said...

The DCnU is missing a lot of fun in it.

Paul Levitz does his best to keep his series fun, interesting and moving at the right pace the story needs.