Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: Worlds' Finest #12

Things have been clicking a bit more in Worlds' Finest and Worlds' Finest #12 continued the trend. After what seemed to be slow beginning to the title, the underlying threat of Apokolips has finally reared it's ugly head and set the pace of this book.

Now the draw for me to this book earlier was the excellent character interaction between Power Girl and Huntress. Writer Paul Levitz has always been one to create complex and three dimensional characters and these two are pretty interesting and layered. Huntress has the passion of Catwoman and the determination of Batman. She wants to honor her father but seems as ferocious as her mother. Power Girl has some of the down to Earth innocence of the Silver Age Supergirl, the edge and physical nature of classic Power Girl, and a sort of free spirited attitude with a voracious sexual appetite. There is a lot to be sifted through there.

But earlier, the character exploration was often wrapped up in some less than thrilling action sequences and plots.

The threat of a Fourth World invasion has been looming though. These two witnessed there world shattered and they don't want to see that here. And, as I said, that Apokoliptian ugly head is finally out in full view ... and what an ugly head it is! The New 52 DeSaad decides to stop skulking and bring the fight to the Worlds' Finest and, as a reader, am happy.

The art on the book is an interesting melange. I am a huge Ryan Sook fan and this cover with Karen finally in her old Power Girl outfit just popped of the rack. Kevin Maguire, Geraldo Borges, and Robson Rocha all contribute, each bringing a slightly different sensibility to their pages but all very slick.

Last month's cliffhanger had DeSaad reveal that he was taking the form of Michael Holt. While the heroes see him in his true form, the other convention attendees and security guards still see him as Holt. As a result it looks like Karen and Helena are attacking the CEO of a tech company.

I have talked about Karen's edge and ferocity. Unfortunately, those attributes don't mesh very well with her position in StarrWare. At this well-attended convention she stomps on the floor with super-strength and fights security guards. Imagine if Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg did that. It would be everywhere.

And if that wasn't enough to blow your cover, Karen then literally flies out of the room, scooping Helena on the way out. Helena may be a 'no one' who can fade away. I doubt that Karen has the same anonymity.

Lastly, I will say that I am sad to see Kevin Maguire leave the book. I absolutely love his art. I suppose this image as a nice one to go out on.

One of the odd things about this book has been the flashbacks to earlier adventures. I understand that these two came to this Earth 5 years ago and have been living stealthily for most of that. And the flashbacks in the beginning of this title were almost necessary, catching us up on what Karen and Helena were up to these last few years. But I feel I have a pretty good feel for their history now. Maybe we just need to live in the now.

Even here, in this flashback, Helena is investigating Hakkou, the villain from the first issues. That means we have kind of caught up. This flashback actually happened somewhere around issue five.

Anyways, we again see some great characterization here. Helena is upset at herself for not having perfect battle form. And Power Girl is upset at having to leave a party to bail out Huntress. Her casual destruction of the criminals' lair speaks of that aggravation.

Ahh, but this is my favorite moment of the book showing the complexity of Power Girl.

She talks about the sheltered life she had as Superman's 'secret weapon'. That is pure early Supergirl and I am glad that Levitz is trying to incorporate some of the early Supergirl incarnation into Karen.

And when freed from the shadow of his cape, Karen is happy to be in the spotlight and famous. Look at that wide-eyed expression. She seems giddy with her new life as she tries to catch up on all the things she feels she missed out on. It is a wild concoction of exuberance and adrenaline and hormones and freedom all with a whiff of naivete.

Just wonderful.

Back in the present, it seems as if Karen attacking Holt and flying out of a hotel isn't newsworthy. What is news is that StarrWare is being attacked on an industrial level, losing out on contracts and having her best staff hired away. The assumption is that DeSaad is raiding her company.

Falling Starr? Maybe falling out of her dress??

I guess fan service is going to happen in this book. Is this any better than the 'ever shredded' costume. I mean, would Time ever run this cover? And Karen says she had a .... ahem ... nice relationship with the Time reporter.

The attacks go beyond industrial espionage. Somya, Power Girl's ever present assistant, tells them that the StarrWare facility in Cambridge is under attack.

With no delay the two are off to battle. Again, this shows something of the 'act now, think later' physicality of Power Girl. She doesn't wait for Helena to change, forcing her to switch into fighting gear mid-air.

I have to say, it is comforting to see Power Girl back in her original uniform. It would have been nice to have one line about it since not everyone may have read Supergirl #19.

The Cambridge attack is a feint. With Power Girl and Huntress off ground, DeSaad boom tubes in some tanks and lays waste to the home front.

I have said all along there was a feeling of deeper feelings in Somya. I assumed obsession (comparing her to Mrs. Danvers, the obsessed maid in Hitchcock's Rebecca). Turns out Levitz went with love, a delicious thing for DeSaad to snuff out. Somya becomes a casualty in this private war.

So a couple of things here. Prior to this, I always had the feeling that Somya was more middle-aged. Maybe that is why that obsession idea seemed so reasonable. In this issue she comes off as much younger.

Also, it felt weird that DeSaad would bring in plain old tanks to do his dirty work. Tanks?

Returning to the chaos, Helena and Karen decide it is time to be proactive. They decide to go underground and strike rather than allow others close to them to be attacked.

Now is part of that 'going underground' due to Karen's use of powers at the convention? I don't know. I do like these two acting here rather than reacting.

So no complaints here. I thought this was a good issue. As I said before, it is the complexity of the characters that I enjoy the most. There are almost contradictory elements in both Huntress' and Power Girl's personalities here just bubbling under the surface.

And as I said, the art was very good throughout.

Overall grade: B+


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Nice review, Anj. Having not read MISTER TERRIFIC, though I know Karen Star made appearances), I still can't see why he popped over to Earth-2. Is this the Earth-2 Desaad, or does Apokolips exist in another dimension as in the early Kirby comics (which means a multiverse means nothing to them).

I was glad to see him, though. At this point, I would be wondering why PG and Helena haven't bothered to mention Apokalips to the main heroes--ANY of them--on the Earth they are on. I don't necessarily care, as I don't want this to turn into a guest star of the month book.

ealperin said...

The art, here, is just GORGEOUS!
I love the picture of Karen flying with Helena!