Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Worlds' Finest #23

Worlds' Finest #23 came out last week and, I have to admit, was a decent issue. I have been less than complimentary over the last year or so. My main complaint with the book has been the lack of progression in any sense. The characters of Huntress and Power Girl have been stagnant. There has been little to no growth in these characters as written by Paul Levitz. And there has been ample opportunity for growth. The First Contact storyline should have been a goldmine to really delve deep into Helena and Karen. But instead it simply ended.

The growing ennui I have with this title was increased when I heard about the weekly 'Earth 2 war' or whatever that book is. I'm not going to get that weekly as I have very little interest in the goings-on in the Earth 2 book. If these Power Girl and Huntress, two characters I have cared for, get enmeshed in that nonsense I might be out completely.

Ironically, I do think that this book is heading away from Earth 1 and finally back to Earth 2. And it is this presumed change in the book that made this one of the better issues for this title. Because, for once, it felt like the book was moving somewhere. This isn't a great issue by any means. But it is better. And that is a good thing.

The art here is split between usual artist RB Silva, whose work is slightly more refined than usual and Yildiray Cinar who continues to put out great work. And the cover by Barry Kitson is fantastic.

That progress, that momentum is evident immediately from the opening page. Here is Karen, at Starr Labs one remaining, using her super-strength in front of all of her workers. It is going to be hard to reverse course from this. In fact, Karen almost challenges the group. She needs there brains to create a portal to Earth 2, maybe recreate the one Gamorra made last month. If they want to sell the story to the media, they should go ahead.

I have to say that this was something of a shock to the system. I was actually excited, intrigued by this. I also like that after years of trying to get back home, Karen is going to take the bull by the horns. It fits her more impetuous personality. And given she now knows it can be done, I can understand her throwing caution a bit to the wind.

One thing that Levitz has done throughout is play up the sexy nature of Karen, having her costume get shredded repeatedly and letting her devour men at a rapid pace. It became almost a one trick pony, the dominating aspect of the character being her 'boy crazy'. As I have said, I don't mind Power Girl being something of a free spirit and in control of her sexuality. But I don't think it should be the only thing we see of her.

Nor do I think she would tolerate lecherous behavior such as we see here by her underling Gerhard.

She asks him to 'check her out', meaning how she has hooked up the components of her gateway device. Of course, 'check her out' can be construed differently, and RB Silva plays that up with Karen thrusting her chest out. And yes, Gerhard is practically drooling as stares at her miniskirt.

I don't know ... I just think Power Girl would call him out on it. For a character meant to be a liberated hero from her very first appearance, I can't believe she would let this happen.

In case you forgot ... which I had ... Desaad is actually a major villain in this book. He is trapped on Earth 1 too.

He somehow senses that Power Girl is setting something up in Boston and so decides to add some chaos to the mix. Nothing like a city-wide blackout to stir up trouble.

There isn't much explanation as to how he knows what she is doing but I guess I have to roll with it.

At least he times the blackout with Karen hitting the on switch making her think this is her doing. Realizing the city is tearing itself apart during the blackout, she dons her Power Girl togs and heads out to do some heroing! At least we have that!

As for Huntress, she is breaking into MIT to 'borrow' some download codes. I have to figure that 'borrowing' means stealing here.

I am so conflicted about this. If I complain about Superboy robbing banks, shouldn't I be as upset with Helena skimming millions of Bruce Wayne and grabbing technology from MIT? Where is the line between info-gathering and stealing drawn?

As luck would have it, she also happens to be at MIT when the blackout happens. And as she starts to leave, she finds evidence that maybe some more wrong doing is happening.

And she finds it. Three would-be terrorists trying to steal radioactive material from an experimental reactor to create dirty bombs.

But here is something interesting. Despite the blackness in the building, Helena is able to see clearly. And she thanks her mother for her 'cat's eyes'. Does this Huntress have some type of vision powers? Did the Earth 2 Catwoman have powers?

And earlier in this series we heard Helena thank her mother for her 'claws'. I those were modified gloves. But does Helena have retractable claws too?

Of course, this being the New 52, Power Girl gets immediately fired upon by the military who have been called in to stabilize the city. Sort of sad that heroes aren't recognized as heroes anymore. And Karen isn't helping matters by smashing army vehicle.

A couple of things to notice in this scene.

One, once again we get a shredded Power Girl uniform.

Two, I was glad to see Power Girl tell the Army to call Amanda Waller to vouch for her. Remember, Power Girl was recently in Suicide Squad working for Waller. So this nod to continuity was appreciated.

But the biggest thing to notice was that the soldier who blasted Power Girl with an RPG is named Krull. This can't be happenstance. Benjamin Krull is the name of Reactron! An army infantryman in a city with an experimental radioactive reactor named Krull?! We are going to see a new Reactron.

You heard it here first!

And in another interesting wrinkle, Desaad manifests himself on the streets of Boston and seems to possess Tanya Sharp, a scientist working for Power Girl.

Why she would hit the streets in the middle of a riot I can't fathom. But she at least has the courage to seemingly confront Desaad. But there seems to be something more here. I think he has somehow taken her.

Having an embedded Desaad in Starr Labs would be a nice subplot.

And things get interesting with the Huntress. She is able to take down 2 of the 3 terrorists. But the last one isn't going to go down easily. And in another bit of comic serendipity, Huntress forces him off the road right where Tanya is standing. (Why would she be out in a riot anyways?? Sorry.)

It sets up a semi-cliffhanger.

But the most interesting thing in this panel is the next issue blurb. 'Open Sesame'? Sounds like a door will be opened ... maybe back to Earth 2.

So this book seems to be moving towards some sort of major flux. With the sudden inclusion of 'Helena Bertinelli' in the Nightwing/Grayson book, that might be one Helena too many for this world. I have to think that the Worlds' Finest pair are heading back to Earth 2. I wonder if this shakeup will also include a new creative team.

Still, for the first time in a while, I felt like there was some momentum here. We are moving towards something. Now I felt this way at the beginning of First Contact ... so I guess we'll have to see how all this ends.

But as a Supergirl fan, the idea of a new Reactron may have pushed this book up half a grade.

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Supertorresmo said...

When I read i I understood the 'cat's eyes' as being some night vision goggles.

About the ripping uniform, that shouldn't happen anymore, this one was made of kryptonian fabric in Supergirl's aquatic fortress.