Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: Worlds' Finest #24

Worlds' Finest #24 came out last week and I sighed and bought it.

In my mind, I will stop collecting this book as soon as the Worlds' End weekly comes out. I don't think I will need to read a crossover with Earth 2 and certainly not on a weekly basis.

But as a result, there is a sort of fatalism with this book. There has always been a sort of lack of energy with this book, with writer Paul Levitz struggling putting together any momentum or growth with the characters. And now that I am pretty sure I am dropping the book, there is even less energy in me to read the book. And those two things together make the faults of the book stand out even more.

One thing that Levitz has struggled with all along has been putting the two heroes together in an adventure. I am sure it isn't easy to write a story where a Kryptonian and a well-trained human can face one enemy. But ... people have written Batman and Superman stories for decades. In this issue, Levitz again keeps the two heroes apart ... in any way possible.

The art here is done by Scott McDaniel alone. McDaniel had been doing breakdowns for RB Silva the last several issues. Here he gets to do it all. And I have to say, McDaniel on his own is much better than Silva working with his setups.

But the real winner here is the cover by Barry Kitson. Trust me, this representation of Power Girl working in a Kirby-krackled reactor is way way more interesting than the actual story behind it. I love Kitson's style and wonder why he isn't on a monthly right now.

Last issue, Desaad plunged Boston into a blackout giving some low-level terrorists the opportunity to steal some radioactive material from MIT. After taking a hostage, one terrorist is able to escape the Huntress' wrath.

But, in a 1960's Spiderman move, Huntress throws a tracer on the car the terrorist has hijacked. This doesn't seem old school. This feels archaic.

And it felt sad that a thug with a gun and a hostage is able to outwit and escape The Huntress. Isn't she tougher than this? And remember, he is carrying a couple of jars of plutonium (or something like that)! Shouldn't she really be on the top of her game and simply take this guy out?

Huntress does have the good sense to call Power Girl to see if she can help. Remember, this guy is running around with the stuff to get a dirty bomb built. We should call in the big guns.

But, again, Levitz keeps the heroes apart. Because Power Girl would be able to too easily apprehend and stop this guy. So to keep her away, Levitz has her acting as a turbine to restart the Seabrook Nuclear plant which stopped working because of Desaad. If Boston is going to get power again, this needs to be restarted.

I don't know exactly how nuclear plants work but this also felt a bit off. Do we really need to crank something to get fission going?

And lastly, to have her singing a song about boys buying her drinks (to the tune of '100 bottles of beer on the wall') is groan-worthy. Doesn't Karen deserve better than this?

Undaunted by needing to work solo, Huntress tracks the terrorist. He drives into a tunnel, abandons the car, and heads to ground. He also dumps his hostage, Tanya Sharp the scientist from STARR Ware that I think is possessed by Desaad.

Sharp has been shot in the shoulder but continues to want to help. The Huntress wants Sharp to stay put and out of danger.

Now I don't know just how long this chase has happened. The beginning of the issue, with the terrorist on the bridge, is clearly nighttime. The blackout occurred in the night. Now Huntress comes out of the tunnel and it is clearly morning. And morning enough that the park she enters is pretty well populated by joggers. That also felt off.

And then, the Huntress is forced to use rocks she has picked up to use as weapons. She disarms the man by throwing a rock at his gun hand. While it is fine to hear that part of Huntress' training from the E2 Batman was to use anything on hand. But ... rocks? Are you telling me she doesn't have darts, shurikens, ANYTHING hidden in the pouches, gloves, and boots of her costume?

Meanwhile, Power Girl has restarted the turbine!

But we can't have her join the fight in the park because she would put an end to it. So now she has to slowly replace the control rods in another section of the reactor. So let's keep the pair of heroes apart even longer! This whole plot seemed a little forced as if it only seems to happen to keep Power Girl here.

To add to matters, the head scientist worries that Power Girl won't be gentle enough in her repair. And Power Girl worries she might not be truly invulnerable against this radiation.

Is this some way to depower her for the return to E2?

Finally, Huntress is able to get an upper hand on this bozo.

Of course, in the brawl, he lets the nuclear material slip out of his hand. And he had loosened the cap too!

I just don't know. This is a guy with no training at all! Just some creep. And he has kept Huntress at bay for an issue. And she is sloppy enough in her fight that she let's deadly radioactive material slip from his hand! And she is more intent on giving him a right cross to the jaw than to stop a deadly spill.

Shouldn't she have taken this guy out in one panel? Would Batman be stymied by this guy this long?

Thankfully, Sharp has followed along and was able to cap the jar after only a drop hit the ground.

So was she exposed to this stuff when she put the lid on? I suppose seeing a 'normal' person acting the hero and being selfless is a nice lesson to put in the book. But if it needs to happen because Huntress wasn't paying attention ... that isn't good.

And just in time, Power Girl shows up and is able to fly the two where they need to go. Because Power Girl can't show up earlier without throwing a wrench into the story.

The time has come for a shake-up in this book. It just seems that Levitz is having a hard time with this cast and putting together a story for both Power Girl and Huntress. I find it surprising given he was able to juggle a huge cast with a wide array of powers for so long in the Legion.

McDaniel's art is a bit rough but not as distorted as the recent fare by Silva. I do know Tyler Kirkham is coming on the book soon. And judging by some previews he has put up on Twitter the book will look slick.

But I am counting down here ... unless something dramatically changes.

Overall grade: C+


Thomas Hayes said...

This sounds like a real letdown. I'm glad I didn't start reading this again.

As for Kitson, I read that he's working with Mark Waid again on their creator-owned 'Empire' series. http://comicsalliance.com/empire-comic-barry-kitson-interview-mark-waid-thrillbent/

Anonymous said...

Yep, this series seems to be winding down to a conceptual finish. Karen and Helen will finally return to Earth 2 and then the series focus will shift to other Earth 2 characters. About time for me to stop.

Martin Gray said...

Dead on review, Anj.

Mind, Helena did at least TRY to call in Kara.

One thing that confused me was that the scientist seemed to be getting set up to die a heroic, or tragic death, then didn't. Or was that just me misreading?

Anj said...

Thanks for comments.

Mart, I think that scientist is somehow Desaad-ed up.

But I was wondering if she would survive given how tenacious she was to join the action.