Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Worlds' Finest #10

Worlds' Finest #10 came out last week, another sly crossover in the Requiem for Damien Wayne.

I can understand both DC the company and writer Paul Levitz including a reaction to Damien's death by Huntress in the book. In many ways, Damien is sort of the Earth 1 equivalent for Helena. And the ideas of loss ... of worlds and families ... is so central to this book's core concept that it had to be included. So that is why Levitz would include it. Of course, for the Batman completionists, DC would want to include this scene as it would provide healthy publicity for the title. The bottom line, this didn't feel like a forced scene to cash in on Batman's current popularity.

The good news about this issue is that it continued to push the stories and plots forward in a way that was missing in the earlier issues where things seemed somewhat stagnant. We have had wonderful character moments in this book from the beginning. Now the plot of an Apokolips invasion is starting to bubble and boil rather than simmer.  And that is great news because I really like this book and the characters but was feeling frustrated about the lack of progress.

The art in the book is beautifully rendered by Kevin Maguire. His usual expressive work shines here. And I love this cover. I especially think the red skies works wonderfully. I am a big fan of Maguire and so a whole issue of his art is a great treat. But it is more like bittersweet chocolate. At the recent ECCC, Maguire stated that he is off the book.

Last issue, Michael 'Mr. Terrific' Holt sent an assault squad to Starr Island.

And man, that irks Power Girl to no end. Levitz has done a good job juggling the complexity of Power Girl's personality. There is a sort of innocence about her, a whiff of Silver Age Supergirl. But there is also some ferocity and impulsiveness to her which is both a classic Power Girl and a more modern age Supergirl take.

So if Holt attacks her, she is going to retaliate. In what can only be described as industrial terrorism, she begins to level Holt Industry factories and headquarters. And since Power Girl is still a relative unknown on Earth 1, she is doing it with some subterfuge, mimicking natural disasters. It does seem like a bit of a significant strike back ... is it too much? Does this border on villainy? She is complicated and I like that.

I really liked the panels as Karen tries to feel for the sweet spot underground to level and empty Holt building via earthquake. 

Her surgical strike with an earthquake unfortunately spreads beyond the compound and suddenly Power Girl has to rescue innocents she has endangered.

Despite her training by Kal and her longer heroic career, she is definitely still on the journey. I love how she remembers some of Superman's words of wisdom. This is how easy it is to have Superman be in a 'Supergirl's' life without having him be a looming presence. Now these are very public rescues with people snapping pictures. Will this lead to a bigger public persona? Will Superman or Supergirl 'recognize' her?

As I said before, Maguire's expressive work is so fantastic. Look at that first panel. Karen is beating herself up for this disaster. Wonderful.

Since there seems to be a moratorium called on shredding the Power Girl uniform, Levitz and Maguire give us a different form of cheesecake having Karen in lingerie lounging on her bed while she sips champagne, eats grapes, and chats with Huntress on the phone. I still think it's gratuitous.

As for Huntress, she chastises Karen for letting her emotions get the best of her and overreacting with the Holt assaults. I like that Helena is the voice of reason here, trying to rein Power Girl in a bit. That said, Helena has certainly had some moments where she seems to lose control too.

Huntress has decided that unnatural catastrophes won't provide the answers they want so she tries to break into Holt's personal computer files.

The computer is protected by those T-globe thingies. They seem to be awfully easy to disable if a net can eliminate them as a threat. Heck, James from Team Rocket could defeat these things.

This was the only low point in the book ... and it isn't that bad.

The industrial espionage (after industrial terrorism!) is cut short when Karen informs Helena about Damien's death. The two travel to the grave where Helena tries to come to grips with her feelings. Nice surroundings for this scene - rainy and windy and dark. And the body language of the characters, that sort of blank face on Helena, the limp hair, it all talks about how powerless these characters are feeling right now. Death is inevitable.

Family and the loss of family is so key to this book. This was like losing a step-brother. It is one more body on the pile for Huntress.Good stuff here.

But despite that desire for family, she still isn't ready to meet the Earth 1 Batman. After 5 years on this planet, both Karen and Helena still can't imagine meeting their alternate families. It is so interesting ... somewhat baffling.

I do love how Helena, a former Robin, actually contemplates asking to take Damien's place! Can you imagine Bruce's response. He just lost one child that way. Would he let another star-crossed child take the mantle? I would love to see that conversation.

As for Michael Holt, he is marooned on Earth 2. So who is this guy claiming to be Holt and angry at the break-in.

Given the Apokolips connection, I am thinking someone like Dr. Bedlam, inhabiting a Holt construct.

I need some real Fourth World stuff in this book ... and soon.

The book ends with a cute joke. After all, how could Karen not know Holt was Mr. Terrific if she was so romantically involved with him? She replies he was actually just Mr. Good. Ooooh .... burn!

Good joke. But this was just after tear-soaked graveside despair! Too soon for some saucy talk? I suppose that you can't be sad all the time. Maybe Helena just wanted to get her mind of Damien and some good-natured ribbing of her friend could help.

So another good issue in a title that I feel is really getting its legs under it and moving forward. I really look forward to this book each month, a guilty little pleasure.

Now with Maguire leaving, who do you want to take over? I have been impressed with CAFU's efforts on this book the last couple of issues. He gets my vote.

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Top review, Anj.

I like that Damian's death was reflected here, but given that Karen tends to be swooping down on Helena every five minutes, it seemed off that she should deliver the news over the phone, sounding off-hand.

Perhaps that's the real Michael Holt, then, sent back to Earth 1 with a mind-tweak by Earth 2's Terry Sloan?

The two security types, they had a lot of character for what would normally be extras - just good writing from Paul, or are they being set up for a bigger role?

valerie21601 said...

Anj, if you read the upcoming DC solicits for the next three months. I am sure you will LOVE what they reveal and say your wishes will be granted. ;)

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

Good point about the security guards Mart. Maybe they will be new supporting cast?

And yes, I saw the 'posing as Michael Holt' solicit Val. Cool!

valerie21601 said...

IfKara and "Holt" still have a kissing scene in the story and not just on the cover of World's Finest. I wonder how Kara is going to react when she finds out she has made out with Desade? ;)

Anonymous said...

valerie21601 wrote:
IfKara and "Holt" still have a kissing scene in the story and not just on the cover of World's Finest. I wonder how Kara is going to react when she finds out she has made out with Desade? ;)

In a way that would get her a certain red ring if one were available.

Does anyone think that Kara is desensitized to loss of those she doesn't consider close? A few issues back a few kids got sucked in by a boom tube and she didn't even blink.