Worlds’ Finest 2

Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Worlds’ Finest 2, originally released June 6th, 2012.

Patrick: Last month, I had a great time with the Earth-2 books. The giddy thrill of watching Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all eat it, coupled with a handful of details that were just different enough from the main world, really sold me on both Earth-2 #1 and Worlds’ Finest #1. But now that we’re settling into the actual stories that these series wish to tell, it becomes apparent that Worlds’ Finest is stuck on some dull details, even if there is a compelling narrative buried below the surface.

This issue is mostly a continuation of the fight sequence that closed the previous: Power Girl and Huntress tusslin’ with the radiation-powered Hakkou. Even though Power Girl should be invulnerable, Hakkou blasts her with a little radiation and knocks her out. Huntress comes to the rescue with a taser-arrow, sending Hakkou charging through a wall and giving our heroes a chance to recoup. But, it’s right back into the action – they take to the sky and trace Hakkou to another nuclear power plant and engage him in combat. Because basically nothing is different, the fight plays out much the same way: Power Girl knocked out cold and Huntress standing there like a chump.

Between fights, we’re treated to little flashbacks that fill in some of the gaps in these character’s lives over the last five years. Here’s what we learn: 1) Power Girl’s costume doesn’t burn; 2) neither does some strange belt-looking thing that came with them from the other universe (perhaps it’s from Apokolis?) 3) Helen was using the computer hacking skills her parents taught her to steal money from banks (she’s the real hero of this series) and 4) Kara uses her superpowers to scour the ocean floor for rare earth elements to sell for ridiculous amounts of money (no SHE’s the real hero of this series).

So, okay. What do we have here? Two characters actively mining the world they inhabit so they can ultimately leave it. It kinda makes it hard to wish them well when there’s nothing but the base “we want to go home” motivator – especially when it seems like Kara has made an excellent life for herself as the head (?) of Starr Enterprises. There’s a point in one of the flashbacks where they talk about the Justice League fighting off the Darkseid at around the same time they came through the gate. Kara is convinced that it’s the same Darkseid that they were battling (“duh” she asserts in not-so-many-words, “dude looked, like, exactly the same”). But do they reach out to the Justice League? Do they even fight crime using their abilities/skill sets? Definitely “no” to the first question, and — as far as I can tell — “no” to the second question.

This may be myopic of me, but I want to see my superheroes battle evil. Or fight crime. Or save someone. Within the pages of Worlds’ Finest, all they’ve really done is complain and fight Hakkou – and the only thing he’s trying to do is fuck up their shit. And even that could work if there was some sort of personal reason that Hakkou would want to do all this to them. They’re suggesting that he could be from their universe, meaning that our villain and our heroes have the single same goal. Oh, sure their goals my diverge once they’re on the other side, but it seems weird that they’re so singularly focused on fighting each other.

I have other problems with Hakkou. First, that design:

There’s nothing particularly engaging about this look. In fact (and Huntress points this out), he looks like one of Darkseid’s goons, but, you know, more human. So not only is he a rehash of someone else’s henchmen, he’s the human-lookin’ version of that. There’s also that name, which is awkward explained — again by Huntress — this way: “can’t ‘Hakkou’ even mean ‘radiation’ in Japanese?” Never mind that the syntax here doesn’t make sense, the Apokolipsian soldier who emits (possibly Kryptonian) radiation is named for the Japanese word for radiation? And the characters point that out? Tell ya what, Paul Levitz, if you wouldn’t have told me that, I wouldn’t have known, and then the character would have been more mysterious. Instead of, you know, sorta lame.

No discussion of Power Girl would be complete without talking about the way she’s drawn. Gratuitous bikini shot? You got it! Mildly slashy posing of the characters when they’re together? Eh, we’ll let this image speak for itself:

But I will offer the following: George Perez does a really nice job of drawing these women in respectable, realistic poses and proportions. It seems like a silly thing to congratulate someone on, but, well, that’s the world we live in.

I don’t know man: this feels less like a spin-off of the adventures in Earth-2 and more like the story of some third-tier characters trying to escape our universe. Is that fun? I’m sure there’s a story to be told here, but if it’s all going to be variations this same fight over and over again, I may opt out. How are you feelin’?

Peter: As much as I want to like this title, issue 2 is a huge step down from issue 1. I think one of things I liked about issue 1 was that it was very well connected and intertwined with Earth-2. But really here, nothing new gets introduced. We pretty much just get more of the same stuff. More whining about being stuck on Earth-1, more whining about trying to get home, more whining about Hakkou breaking their thing-y.

This issue does have a few nice points. I did like that Karen pretty much doesn’t care who knows about her superpowers.

I also like that most of this issue is about is spent detailing the time between when Helena and Karen arrived up until now. It’s still a little vague, but at least it’s not a total throw away. However, the jumps between scenes make it feel pretty disjointed and chaotic.

I really want this want this issue to stand on it own. But right now, it doesn’t. Hell, I might even like this issue better if it couldn’t stand on it’s own, and spent more time connected to Earth-2, like it did with issue 1. This could still work, especially since Karen was in Mr. Terrific and now he’s in Earth-2.

This issue focuses too much on the battle scenes. That’s all this book really is, and apart from George Perez’s fine art, they really aren’t much of anything anyway. While it obvious that the creative team wants there to be some emotion in this issue, it really just falls flat all around. The first issue really played to the differences between Helena and Karen, and this issue doesn’t really continue that. This book could easily use that to a great device, and make it a great book, but right now there a lot of things at DC’s disposal for this book, but it just doesn’t follow through in this issue.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page.  Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore.  If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there.  There’s no need to pirate, right?

16 comments on “Worlds’ Finest 2

    • Ultimately, I guess these are no more on-the-nose than, say, Joker or Mr. Freeze, but something about how something so lame and pedantic has to be explained to us makes it way dumber. Like if someone felt compelled to explain that “Riddler” means someone who asks riddles.

      • I think it just stems from the fact that these are some rather lame villains, who also have lame names. Whereas Mr. Freeze, Joker, Riddler, etc, are all more compelling and interesting characters.

      • It is the explanation offered within the story by characters that totally kills it. In either example, if the characters simply had their names and no one was like “oh shit, I get it, but I’m not sure everyone else (whoever the hell that might be) gets it. I better say something just in case” it’d be so much more natural.

  1. Patrick, we totally saw Helena fighting crime last month, and they made it clear that she’d spent much of her time on Earth-1 doing just that. It is weird that they haven’t reached out to the Justice League — who would be better suited to help them, or at least understand their predicament? — but I don’t see their goals as totally selfish. Sure, Kara wants to get home, but I can’t really blame her for that. Helena, on the other hand, is entirely uninterested in going home, and just wants to do what she does well: fight crime in a goofy costume. This issue is more interested in a big fight scene than actually exploring any of that, but I’m not ready to say their motivations are boring just yet.

    • Without going back to look at issue one, I mostly remember her being on the run and burning through false and/or stolen identities. I’m fully prepared to admit that we saw her fighting crime and I don’t remember it.

      It’s just strange to me that they’ve been in the universe for five years and Kara still seems more hell-bent on leaving it than developing relationship and goals within int he universe. And that friction between what she’s built and what she wants to go back to could be really interesting. I know – this is me trying to impose my own story ideas on a comic book, and that’s bound to lead to disappointment.

      • I haven’t read Mr. Terrific, but my impression is that we do see some of that from Kara in that title. Ultimately, I can’t blame Kara for wanting to go home, or for even being kind of single-minded about it. She lost everything when she was brought to Earth-1. WOULD YOU FORGIVE HER MORE IF SHE GREW A BEARD AND DEVELOPED A PILL ADDICTION? #WeHaveToGoBack

        • But that’s the real tragedy – poor Jack needs help. And I don’t mean getting back to the island. He needs to let go the island because his obsession with getting back there to see his dead father is chipping away at his relationships in the world he’s actually in. THAT BEING SAID, I’d love it if Kara grew a beard. #WeAreDoneGoingBack

        • But they DID need to go back. Every one of them. Sure, their arrival almost destroyed the Earth, but they ultimately saved it. In that way, this is probably really apples and oranges, since there don’t seem to be any undercurrents of destiny, or even a larger plan at play here. BUT I still think just accepting that you’re trapped in a parallel universe forever is harder than you’re giving credit for. As far as Kara is concerned, Earth-1 isn’t reality, or at least, it isn’t the Earth she knows.

          If you or I want (or otherwise feel compelled) to go home, we just book a flight. We can always figure out a way, come hell or high water, to get home for Christmas. It’s easy to underestimate how much security that thought offers, but we can also call home whenever we want/stay connected to everyone we’ve ever met. For Kara, it’s more like everyone she’s ever met has died, only she knows they haven’t, and she can see them again if only she can figure out a way to get home. I think her reactions are not only understandable, but downright relateable.

        • I do like that between Karen and Helena we see completely different thought processes in terms of their current living situation. Helena has excepted her new life, while Karen is using her powers to eventually figure out a way back. If this book played off of that more, it could be very interesting. Also, now that Karen is in Earth-1, will she meet her Earth-1 counterpart, Supergirl? Because, that is a thing.

        • The motivations may be more understandable than I’m giving them credit for. The text does support that Kara hates being on Earth 1 when she refers to it as their “hell.” It doesn’t change the fact that I’m not all that compelled by it. I’ve been watching Fringe lately (like halfway through season 3) and I just watched a pretty awesome arc about a character escaping a parallel universe and it was fucking awesome, playing to a lot of emotional sticking points that were way more interesting that “I wanna go home.”

          Also, they did NOT have to go back. In going back, they were only playing into the plan of the bad guy. I suppose, in the strictest sense they literally had to go back because it had already happened in the 1970s. HOLY SHIT I LOVE THAT SHOW.

        • But blackie’s plan was essentially inevitable. Jacob said it would end the same way, but even he new this time was different, so he brought all of these candidates to the island just in case he got killed while they were there. It’s weird, then, that they only got stuck there because Desmond didn’t press the button, but this was clearly a big, big plan. They had to go back as much as they had to be there in the first place; not so much because they actually had to, but because they were being manipulated by forces much more powerful then themselves. Nobody else really wanted to go back, but destiny (or those powerful forces) dictated that they did, anyway.

      • Huntress has been fighting crime–we just had a six issue “Huntress” mini-series all about it that lead directly into this series.

        • Ah, good man. There’s always some kind of mini-series or something that makes me totally eat my words. Did you read the Huntress series? Grabbed both Huntress #1 and The Ray #1, but got bummed out on the idea of reading them after finishing Ray (did not care for it). Of these two characters, I definitely find Helena more compelling, so maybe I should loop back around and pick those up.

        • Yeah, I read the Huntress series. I really liked it. The story was solid, the action great, and the art phenomenal (as always from Marcus To).

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