Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Worlds' Finest #16

Worlds' Finest #16 came out last week starting a new story arc and moving away from the Desaad/Earth 2 theme which had been the focus of the book for a while. In some ways I am sad to see this story line go away. Battling Desaad and getting home is the central theme of the book and I was hoping we were getting some traction there.

And yet, in some ways, I am happy to see the book move beyond this. It is clear that Huntress and Power Girl are going to be on Earth One for some time. So churning through arc after arc where they don't get home might become repetitious.

So to see the two heroes out there, fighting crime, and barely talking about leaving Earth One, and accepting things was actually refreshing. And the new criminal with a variety of odd powers is intriguing.

RB Silva takes over on art in the book and his art seems uneven. After Perez and Maguire, and given the characters, I think a clean slick style would best serve the book. Someone like Francis Portela would shine here. Silva's murkier look seems just a tad off, mostly in the quiet scenes.

Emanuela Lupacchino continues to shine on covers. But I thought this might be a gatefold! What are the yelling at?

The book opens during fashion week in NYC. And the Huntress investigates a fire at one of the shows.

As usual, I like Helena's attitude as she dives right into the conflagration hoping to save people and help the fire fighters as much as possible.She really is fearless.

But I also like how Levitz always has her harkening back to the training she got from her parents. Here she smells the scent of accelerants. This was no accident.

As I said before, the Earth 2/Desaad storyline is sort of swept under the rug this issue. And that means some of the ancillary parts of that plot is also going away ... almost too quickly. You might recall that Desaad in the guise of Michael Holt had destroyed Starr Industries factories, tech sites, and had even started to buy the company out. Power Girl was on the run and Karen Starr was too.

Just like that, the 'bankrupt' storyline is erased. When Desaad disappeared, 'Holt' did as well. Without someone to coordinate a takeover, Starr Industries immediately shifts back to Karen. We even see magazine covers touting her comeback.

One thing I don't like here is Karen sort of flaunting her powers. I don't think these co-workers know she has powers. But hoisting this guy up one-handed is a bit over the top. I do like the art here, outside the panel, looking down at Karen, as if from the lawyer's viewpoint, is nice.

Meanwhile, Huntress follows her arsonist into a subway station.

She finds this odd-looking girl, who clearly has telekinetic powers but also has some sort of black inky aura which she can use as a shield or use as a range weapon. She forms mental shuriken from this aura and fires them back. In the skirmish, she escapes leaving Huntress to have to regroup.

Silva's current style works very well with this villain and her mental powers.

Now on to the big news of the book.

Last issue ended with Power Girl questioning her powers. Here we get a little more explanation.

Power Girl's powers aren't consistent, turning on and off at random.

You know what this reminds me of? And I wouldn't be surprised if Levitz, a known Supergirl fan, is riffing on this ...

Remember way back in the early 1970's, in the Mike Sekowsky Adventure Comics run when Supergirl's powers also were sporadic? Could Levitz be doing an homage?

Regardless, I am never a fan of these stories (James Robinson did it with Mon-El a while back.) It never is written convincingly. The hero never loses their powers in a predicament that would mean certain death (flying high above the city, holding up something incredibly heavy). Instead it seems to happen when it would be dramatic.

The two heroes catching up doesn't last long as another explosion/fire at another fashion show spurs them into action. We see Power Girl carrying Huntress high above the city, flying to the scene. Would she do that knowing at any point her powers could go kaput sending her and her friend hurtling to the street below?

I do like how Levitz has her use her powers when she has them in this issue. She has been a basher in prior issues. Here she uses her powers to create a water funnel to put out the fire.

Two fashion sites attacked at the same time. Now models tied up, presumably to die in the fire. There is a pattern.

But is it a pattern that makes sense? Wouldn't a villain who can fling aura shuriken just kill the models rather than tie them up and hope they are burned to death?

Huntress has the best lines in the book. Her she says that the fire-villain has broken two laws of physics (as well as other laws) and so she won't let the arsonist escape. Huntress, while outgunned, is completely dogged in her pursuit.

But why attack fashion shows? Is this villain a failed model (groan)? I hope it is something more profound.

I will point out this 'circle' panel motif Silva uses which made me feel like I was watching live, from afar, with a telescope. It sort of brought me into the story.

Whoever this villain is, she is pretty powerful, mobilizing her aura into a huge dragon which squares off with Karen. She is almost like the Raven from the Titans cartoon! Really nice panel here of Power Girl battling.

But the description that her aura is like an oil slick grabbed me. Maybe the accelerant is her aura, adding fuel to the fire. 

I wish I could explain why I have a warm feeling for this book which certainly hasn't rocked me with its stories. Perhaps it is my lifelong fondness for Huntress in all her incarnations. Perhaps it is that this Power Girl was Supergirl and has some qualities I like in Supergirl. But I never am truly let down by the issues which are consumed and enjoyed as simple fare on the comics market.

I hope that we seem more straightforward adventures in the book, moving away from the 'search home' angle.

Overall grade: B


Martin Gray said...

Yeah, I thought on-off super powers too. Someone give Peege a bracelet! She should definitely have been flying close to the ground, close to bushes.

What I really want is Desaad defeated and the heroines accepting Earth Whatever will be their home indefinitely, rather than have the main arc unresolved.

That said, I liked this too. Perhaps the art didn't quite work because Silva was working over Scott McDaniel's breakdowns. I've not a fan, but good on McDaniel for helping out in an apparent crunch.

Anj said...

I agree.

We need some resolution to the 'get home' story. And I hope it comes soon.

This non-'get home' arc might be the first step.