BatWatch Review: Worlds' Finest #15

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Several months ago, I predicted the basic outline of a Worlds' Finest comic before I read it and called it just about perfectly. That time, I actually thought about it before I wrote my prediction. This time, I'm going to do the same thing in two minutes without giving it any thought. Let's see how well I do. My predictions are as follows: Power Girl will rescue Helena, Desaad will say things generally evil and torture some people, a threat will pop up from nowhere, Helena will do almost nothing of value Power Girl will not be in danger at any point, the duo will learn almost nothing of importance. and there will be a flashback at some point and it will be irrelevant.

Is Worlds' Finest so bad that I can predict it accurately without giving it any more thought than the time it takes me to type out a few sentences or has it actually changed up the formula just a tad?  

In this issue, Kara Smashes and Huntress escapes. 

How'd I Do?

Power Girl will rescue Helena? Only partially true. Power Girl made a distraction and Helena rescued herself.  

Desaad will be generically evil and torture someone? Yes and yes.  

A threat will pop up from nowhere? Well, a parademon did hit Power Girl on the way out of the Boom tube without warning, but that wasn't the kind of out of nothing threat I meant, so not really.  

Power Girl will not be in danger? Mostly true. She is stunned at one point, but we've seen characters like Supes and Power Girl go down briefly and rise again a million times, so it's hard to take this as a real danger.

Helena will do almost nothing of value? In addition to rescuing herself (which is only breaking even at best since she also allowed herself to be captured) she beat up one thug and distracted Desaad at a crucial moment, so...I guess she was useful.

The duo will learn nothing?  Even on a trip to Desaad's base when the solicit says that the girls will learn Desaad is trapped on Earth Prime, the girls still learn nothing including the thing solicited for them to learn.

There will be a flashback? Nope.  

I suppose I failed at predicting this one. For every one I got right, I got one wrong as well, so kudos to Levitz (former editor of Batman and Detective Comics and writer for Legion of Super-Heroes and current writer of Worlds' Finest and Legion of Super-Heroes) for making things a little different. Hopefully, he has dropped that flashback crap for good. It is still pathetic though that the girls can go from issue to issue with these violent encounters without Power Girl ever really being at risk or the Finest ever learning anything of importance.

Worlds' Sexiest

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A new artist, Emmanuela Lupacchino, (former cover artist for Ame-Comi Girls: Power Girl and penciler for X-Factor and current cover artist for Catwoman and Valiant's Archer and Armstrong) has come on board with this issue, and her pencils are far better than any of the previous artists. They are also dripping head to toe with sex. These are very sexy rendering of our two female leads, and I find it difficult to quantify what exactly has been changed in the art to heighten their sexuality in every panel, but Luppacchino has somehow managed it. It's kind of odd that a woman would be the one to bring out the sexiness of the female form and make their sexuality so overt and exploited for the basest of entertainment, but she is very, very good at it.  

Let me be clear though, I don't understand what Luacchino does in every panel to make the girls look sexier, but there are some specific things I do detect. For one thing, Helena has gone up several bra sizes in this one issue. She was relatively slight in many earlier issues, but not so anymore. There is also rather overt sexual messaging in Helena's bondage scene with Desaad where Desaad rips away part of her shirt and then waves his large cable in front of her horrified face. Not subtle.

Bat Droppings

1. Someone misspelled pheromones as "fheremones" in this issue. I've noticed a lot of lettering mistakes in recent comics though I usually don't bother mentioning them.   

2. Some thoughts on Helena's Catwoman claws. They pop up about an inch from her form fitting gloves. Is she Wolverine? Where do these go when not out for battle? What are these razor blades made out of if they can cut through steel? Why does Helena pick the second two locks when she can cut through them with more quickly?

(Spoilers) 

3. By electrocuting Power Girl, Desaad both psychically read information from her mind and took away her powers?

Conclusion 5/10

This issue still sucks, but it sucks less than some of the others. Making the stupidity pretty is a big improvement, but it's still not enough to earn a recommendation. Save your pennies.  

Recent Reviews:

Batman #23 - Secret City

Nightwing #23 - World Turned Upside Down

Batgirl #23 - Manhunt

Worlds' Finest #15 - Down the Rabbit Hole

Batman '66 #1 - #3 - The Riddler's Ruse

 Batman Beyond #27 - #29 - Batgirl Beyond

Batman  '66 #4 - #5 - Emperor Penguin

Batman '66 #6 - Chandell's Chanteuse

Batman Beyond #24 - #26 - Undercloud

Legends of the Dark Knight #56 - #58 - The Beautiful Ugly

Legends of the Dark Knight  #59 - Arm Candy

Legends of the Dark Knight #60 - Reporter's Notebook

Legends of the Dark Knight #61 - #62 - Break the Mold

Li'l Gotham #14 - Independence Day

Li'l Gotahm #15 - Gotham Comiccon!

BatWatch Review: Worlds' Finest #14

Losses

Here is my theory. Worlds' Finest was written by somebody who had never actually read any comics with either Batman or Superman in them, but the writer had heard a very broad stroke summary of the relationship between these two and decided that, rather than tell the story of the true World's Finest, he would give the characters a gender swap and make them dimensional exiles. This concept could have worked, but the problem is that  this poor misguided writer only had the vaguest concept of what truly made Batman and Superman tick, so these two characters may have the same powers, but they have little of the same chemistry.

At least this is my theory.

However, my theory is bogus because Paul Levitz (former editor of Batman and Detective Comics and writer for Legion of Super-Heroes and current writer of Worlds' Finest and Legion of Super-Heroes) is a very accomplished and established writer, yet that makes it all the more perplexing that he writes these characters in such a flat manner. Sure, the girls interact in occasionally entertaining ways together which is reminiscent of real friends, but when you really think about it, what have we seen in this series to separate Helena and Kara in terms of personality. Helena is more of an introvert while Kara is more of an extrovert, and Kara really like sex whereas Helena is apparently asexual. That about sums up fourteen issues of character development in Worlds' Finest. The blonde is chatty and horny. I want to make a joke out of this, but honestly, it's insultingly pathetic.

This lack of character development would be partially pardoned if we were seeing great action sequences and plot points instead of character development, but rather than cool mysteries to unravel or epic battles, we get plot lines which deserve about as much investment as an episode of Gilligan's Island and fights that usually end up as little more than "Kara Smash!"  Again, it's pathetic.

Does Worlds' Finest #14 show that these girls have some substance in their stories or is this another fail in a long list of disappointments? 

In this issue, the Finest...walk around...after Helena is almost fried and Desaad is...evil.  

Bat Droppings

Nothing here is worth discussing in detail. It's the same old crap just a different day, so I'll just speed through some quick thoughts.

1. I know Parademons have enhanced strength and durability, but I never thought they were remotely close to giving Power Girl a decent fight. I wouldn't even think they would be much of a challenge for Huntress.  

2. The intro scene with Helena in the house fire was okay I guess though it still makes no sense that Desaad would even know the location of the Finest or who they are or anything, so...it's kind of difficult to take any of it seriously. I suppose this could be revealed, but I do not think it will be because it seems this story is being pulled out of someone's butt every month.

3. Again, it was nice to see a consistent artist throughout the book. Robson Rocha (former penciler of DC Universe Presents and current penciler of Worlds' Finest) is not my favorite, but he is acceptable. His faces often look strange to my eyes.

4. The scene where Kara and Helena were walking was rather pointless though I did find it interesting about Helena, "discovering new worlds."  

5. Adding to the list of important questions that will probably never be answered, who are Desaad's troops? I mean, most thugs presumably get paid or work to get their shot at being part of the elite, but Desaad is not interested in money or sharing power, so what gives? Perhaps Desaad is just financing them through Michael Holt's resources.

(Spoilers until End) 

6. It's good to know for my future crime sprees that I can blow a hole in the side of a building while waving futuristic firearms all over the place, and the police will still not point their guns at me. I mean, they want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, right? It's only reasonable.  

7. This issue actually had about three seconds where I was interested when I thought Helena was going to get separated from Kara and we were going to see her stand on her own. Thankfully, this issue rescued me from the trauma of something interesting happening.  

8. As usual, this issue had so much fighting and so little substance that it felt like it was over in no time.  

Conclusion 4/10

Same old crap, different day.

BatWatch Review: Worlds' Finest #13

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Hide and Seek

Worlds' Finest has almost always been bad, but every once in a while, you can see the light of promise shining through around the edges. Last issue was not an example of Worlds' Finest living up to it's promise as the whole issue was entirely too predictable. Power Girl and Huntress actually worked together, but it was not in a particularly impressive fashion. Desaad is clearly a powerful villain, but his motivation for messing with the Finest seems completely nonexistent which makes the conflict seem rather heartless. Power Girl lost her company and employees, but we never really knew them anyway, so I'd be lying I said I cared. The whole thing is simply not very good.

Does this issue continue with World's Finest's typical crap or is this  a story that elevates this series to the next level.

In this issue, Huntress and Power Girl take down the Securities and Exchange Commission and Desaad  continues to be generically evil.

Maniacal Laugh!

Every time I read an issue of Worlds' Finest, I get the impression that I've just read someone's first drat for an issue. It's like Paul Levitz (former editor of Batman and Detective Comics and writer for Legion of Super-Heroes and current writer of Worlds' Finest and Legion of Super-Heroes) sat down, wrote the first thing that came to mind, and then sent it off to print. Alternatively, I picture two guys just spitballing off each other and writing everything that comes to mind. “And then, the giant dog comes crashing through the wall again!” Everything just seems so slipshod and unnecessary.

To get a little more into the nitty gritty, this issue suffers from all the problems that have usually plagued the series. Because the SEC approved a hostile takeover of Karen's company, Huntress and Power Girl the SEC, destroy large portions of the building, beat up people and threaten to kill civilians just so they can hopefully get new intel on Desaad. Any reasonable story would make this a covert op, but not Worlds' Finest. Then, we have a giant Hell Hound who fights with Power Girl and Huntress, and though the fight ends acceptably, everything leading up to it was no more than Huntress using explosives and Power Girl wailing on the canine. Desaad, or his part, has absolutley no character development unless you count sadism. It's just kind of sad.

The usual strengths are here too, or perhaps I should say the usual strength (singular) because I can only think of one. The relationship between Helena and Karen is solid. It is far from being one of the all time greatest heroic partnerships, but at least they have some chemistry.

Bat Droppings

1. In addition to the series regular problems, the art was also problematic. I will give major, major props to DC for finally getting one artist to do the entire story; having two artists or more for one issue was old the first time I ever saw it, and seeing it carry on for an entire year was agonizing as the shifts between artists were never smooth. However, I'm not crazy about the work of this new artist, Robson Rocha. (former penciler of DC Universe Presents and current penciler of Worlds' Finest) Things were just not drawn well much of the time. On the first page, Huntress's mask looks like it is trying to slide off her face. On page 2, Power Girl has a giant dent in her hip for no apparent reason. It was okay in parts, but it had a lot of ugly blemishes.

2. I will admit that the casual way in which Power dispensed with the guards did make me chuckle a little.

3. The guy who Desaad kills has bugs appear on his face almost immediately. Is this supposed to be significant or was this another artistic fluke?

4. Perhaps it would be wise for Huntress and Power Girl to avoid sitting in their safe house with big bay windows while in costume.

5. I did enjoy PG and Helena's exchange over the furniture.

Spoilers until Conclusion

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6. The idea that Power Girl might be losing juice being away from Earth 2 is interesting. Perhaps she only fully charges under Earth 2's sun. It seems like I've heard that story at some point. However, it does seem like Karen should be able to test her strength. Surely, even if Karen never caredd, Helena has tested Power Girl's strength at some point, so they should be able to compare her current abilities with previous stats, right?.

7. It was nice to see Huntress pull her own weight in a fight for once.

8. This entire issue is over in a snap because there is so much fighting.

Conclusion 4/10

This issue is pretty much the same as usual. If you've liked the series up until now, (what's wrong with you?) then you will probably enjoy this issue as well. If you prefer a little more quality with your reading, then you will want to skip.

BatWatch Review: Worlds' Finest #12

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The Price of Fame

It's incredibly hard for me to try to take this series seriously. It's right up there with Catwoman in that it is just absolutely dreadful in most issues. It does not feel as if the creative team is even trying. My one point of hope for this issue is in the fight between Power Girl and Desaad for I hope that Power Girl, after twelve issues of being basically unchallenged, will finally have a decent fight on her hands. Beyond that, I'm limited to talking about the return of the boob window as a noteworthy event, and that just exposes how lacking in substance this series is since I can think of nothing more interesting to mention.

Does this issue surprise me by being a delightfully fun filled and intelligent action adventure or is this just one more nail in the coffin of my almost completely extinct hopes for this series?

In this issue, Huntress and Power Girl do battle with Desaad and we get a flashback to the Worlds' Finest taking on the Yakuza.

How Predictable Is Worlds' Finest?

Tuesday in my On Deck article, I posted an outline for this issue of what would happen if the series remained as stale and predictable as usual. Let's see how well I predicted things.

Did Power Girl fight Desaad without difficulty? Yep, Desaad did not so much as land a blow.

Did Power Girl make a forced sex joke? No. Surprisingly, this issue was sex pun free.

Does this issue interrupt an intense scene to show a meaningless and trivial flashback? Of course! You can't have an issue of Worlds' Finest without a flashback which serves no purpose!

Did Power Girl end up thrashing Desaad? No. That will no doubt be reserved for next issue. After their initial conflict and the flashback, the story decided to stretch three pages worth of information into eight pages.

Did Power Girl let Desaad escape to save Huntress? Power Girl saved Huntress twice from fights in which she got in over her head in this issue, and one of those times resulted in the Finest fleeing from Desaad.

Did Power Girl and Huntress learn nothing from this encounter? Arguably, they did learn something. The girls decided at the end of the issue to go underground with their operations. However, I was under the impression that their identities were already secret to everybody except the inner circle of Karen's company, so what gives?

In short, this series is horribly predictable.

Bat Droppings

1. The fight never really felt significant because Desaad never landed a blow and Power Girl never let loose.

2. If everybody is seeing Desaad as Michael Holt, why did everyone look upon Desaad with panic and run away?

3. Also, how can Power Girl's vision see through his illusion. Isn't Desaad's power based in magic against which Kryptonians have no immunity ?

4. I did miss the first...three issues of this series, so if anybody can explain how Desaad knows who and where the Finest are, please drop me a line.

5. The art is okay this issue. We have some exaggerated expressions, but they did not really detract from the story. As always though, the shift between artists is extremely rough.

6. The story seems to be trying to make some kind of point about popularity, but I'm not sure what the point is.

7. Again, we see an apparently important figure at Starr industries, and we are given the impression we should care about her, but who the crap is this lady?

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8. You might think the unveiling of the new (old) costume would have some sort of fanfare or explanation. Nope, it's just a new suit. However, I will admit that I got a little bit of a sentimental glow at seeing her back in her classic costume even though I've never been a big Power Girl fan. I also have to admit it looks better aesthetically even if it looks better for all the wrong reasons.

Conclusion 3/10

This series sucks!

More Recent Reviews:

Detective Comics #20

Worlds' Finest #12

Batwing #20

Legends of the Dark Knight #45 - #47

Li'l Gotham #9


Review: Worlds' Finest #11

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Putting It Together

I'm not sure what to expect from this issue. I've found Worlds' Finest to be horrible in general, but...I actually liked the last issue. Power Girl's actions were stupid, but she realized her stupidity and corrected it which made it a kind of fun, brief story about the misuse of power. For Helena's part, her breakdown over the death of Damian was so sudden and complete that it actually landed emotionally with me despite the shipshod construction of Helena and Damian's friendship a couple of issues prior.

Does this issue convince me that Worlds' Finest actually has potential under the current writer, or is this just a case of a broken clock telling the correct time twice a day?

In this issue, Huntress breaks back into the Holt Mansion to uncover his secrets.

Bat Droppings

Seeing as how I am getting this review done nearly a week late, I'm going to do this Bat Droppings style.

1. Kudos to Barry Kitson (writer and artist for L.E.G.I.O.N., artist for Azrael, and penciler for Titans and current artist for Worlds' Finest and Vertigo's Fairest) for a cool cover design which worked especially well with the gatefold design.

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2. Ken Lashley (former artist of Excalibur and current cover artist for The Ravagers, Team 7, Stormwatch, Suicide Squad and Superboy and artist for Worlds' Finest) does the Huntress part of this story, and his style fits quite nicely with Helena. Something about the rough edges really works well for her personality in my opinion.

3. As per usual, Huntress and Power Girl do not operate together. This is one of many factors which have served to make this “team” book nearly laughable.

4. When Huntress grabs the bad guy at the top of page three, she is not wearing a glove even though she is shown to be wearing a glove before and after this scene. This is a pretty huge oversight by the colorist and editors.

5. Huntress finds a weapons dealer, ties him up, and leaves him half naked on the bed. Doesn't she have something more useful to do with her time? She does not find any incriminating evidence on him or even beat him up. Is she trying to embarrass him out of crime?

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6. In addition to the cover, Kitson also does some art in this issue, and his style blends with Lashley's about as well as peanut butter blends with motor oil. His style is fine. Again, his cover looks really good, but I hate how this series is determined to keep switching things up with multiple artists on the same book. It's jarring. If you cannot find one single person to handle the book, then at least find people who blend.

7. Power Girl says, “I love to play 'You show me yours...'” I think I would prefer if she stopped saying stuff like this and just went back to losing her clothes every issue. Power Girl likes sex. We get it. It's not even clever at this point; it's just inappropriate. I mean, Kara doesn't just say these sorts of things to Helena as would make sense. She says them to her employees, people she just met, and even herself. This girl must think about sex constantly.

8. I know last issue, Huntress was interrupted in raiding Holt's files because of the news that Damian died, but couldn't she have finished the job before she left. If she was so broken up she could not, how did she get out of Holt's building?

9. Once again, the issue rips us out of the present to show us the past of the Worlds' Finest, and in this past section, nothing important happens. It is literally five pages that could be cut from the issue with no significant information being lost.

10. Also, this section has yet another artist who does an okay job but blends poorly with the other two.

11. Helena mentions that Power Girl hides in plain sight. No, she doesn't hide at all, actually. Is there some explanation of how she is not exposed as a superhero? She makes Clark look like he is cleverly disguised. Kara doesn't even change her demeanor in her civilian identity.

12. Huntress treats a guy very poorly who made the mistake of flirting with her.

13. Michael Holt is revealed to be none other than Desaad which makes no sense on several levels. The first and most obvious being, “When did Desaad become a skull faced person?” He was always just a human looking guy, more or less. It is yet another needless change of the reboot, I suppose.

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14. Another reason it does not make sense is that it seems to gain Desaad nothing. He had control over a powerful industry with many scientific technologies, so that might be useful to Darkseid, but he just blew his cover to a whole room full of people, so that does not track. We could say this is meant as an attack on Kara and Helena, but Desaad could just have come up to them and attacked at anytime since he can apparently change appearance. Also, how did he even know who Kara and Helena were, and for that matter, why would he care? Some of these things might be explained in the early issues I missed, or they might be explained in future issues, but considering the writing quality of the series thus far, I doubt it.

15. Desaad should be fairly powerful, so perhaps in the next issue, we will finally see Power Girl actually get into a decent fight.

Conclusion 5/10

I actually thought this issue was okay right after I first read it, but after stewing on it for a little while, I've decided it's still fairly bad. There are not as many moments in the story that are clearly stupid as there were in previous issues, but still, there is a lot of stuff that doesn't make sense and basically boils down to nothing more than sloppy writing. I thought I might be able to recommend it to those really needing a Huntress or Power Girl fix, but no, I can't even do that.

More Recent Reviews:

Detective Comics #19 (#900)

Review: Worlds' Finest #10

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Some Things You Can Change, Some Things You Can't...

Worlds' Finest is upon us once more, and this issue is using the death of Damian to give itself a sales boost. I dislike this series as you will well know, but I did read the preview, and it shows a close encounter between Batman and Huntress, and I have to admit that the idea of these two meeting does hold some intrigue. How odd would it be to meet your potential father or daughter from another dimension? Still, I have very mild hopes for this issue since Worlds' Finest seems to squander everything that threatens to make it interesting. There is also the whole “Michael Holt” returning thing which makes no sense but surely must be explored in this issue. Will this issue be the point at which Worlds' Finest turns things around to become one of DC's best series, or is this just one more comic to go in the stack of disastrous issues that the creative team has thus far produced?

In this issue, Power Girl starts taking apart Michael Holt's business one natural disaster at a time while Huntress investigates his motivations by breaking into his personal files.

What Is This? Quality?

I am just going to come right out and say it. This was by far the best issue of Worlds' Finest I have ever read.

This issue actually had genuine humor, emotion, and chemistry, and it even had a plot that did not suck to boot. Power Girl's plan to make her attacks on Holt Industries look like natural disasters was clever, amusing, and gave us some insight into Power Girl's personality. Sure, the way she screwed things up is rather embarrassing, but it was a mistake that both she and the writer realized. This is a million times better than the awful Worlds' Finest #4 where Power Girl repeatedly made decisions that would have killed dozens if not hundreds of people in the name of protecting the environment. When Huntress learns about Damian, the emotional blow actually lands despite their admittedly forced bond established for no other reason than to lead to this scene, but despite the half-hearted set up in issues six and seven, a good scene is still a good scene, and this one worked. The chemistry between the leading ladies which has always been the series' strongest suit is better here than it is in most of the series, and both Power Girl and Huntress actually play important roles in the story instead of Helena getting in over her head only to be rescued by Kara. Finally, the story, while simple and short, is entertaining and has no obvious flaws.

I am still a long, long way from being sold on this series, but if stories of this caliber would continue, I at least would not feel so foolish for shelling out the money for it every month.

Bat Droppings

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1. Finally after nine agonizing issues, Worlds' Finest has an artist who actually stays on the issue from start to finish. While reading the issue, I kept waiting for a jarring art style change, and when it never came, I had to look it up, and sure enough, one guy is handling the whole thing at least for this issue, Kevin Maguire (former cover artist for L.E.G.I.O.N and current artist for Worlds' Finest) I have no idea if Maguire will be doing the series by himself from now on, but I certainly hope that they stop switching artists in the midst of issues.

2. Power Girl almost makes it through the issue without showing off her boobs. Her outfit remains undamaged, but she does were lingerie in one panel, so...baby steps I guess.

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3. I am ready for something to challenge Kara physically. Though I enjoyed her part in the comic this time, it was from a comedy and character perspective and not an edge of your seat excitement perspective.

4. I still find it odd that this team book never shows the duo acting as a team...at least in combat.

5. I love Power Girl's self deprecating grimace at the top of page six. It's quite endearing.

6. At the top of page seven, Huntress' mask makes her shadow appear like that of Batman. I am sure Maguire is not the first artist to have portrayed that, but this is the first time I have noticed. Interesting.

(Spoilers until Conclusion)

7. Helena thinks, “If there is an afterlife, may we go hunting there some day...” It's a nice sentiment if perhaps a bit campy, but I can't help but wonder at this scenario. Is Huntress an actual hunter because I cannot see Batman raising her to shoot deer. I mean, she hunts criminals, and no doubt, Damian and Helena would both love to do that type of hunting in paradise, but are we picturing a Heaven full of criminals to beat into submission? That's an odd vision of the afterlife.

8. I cannot imagine Holt Industries even reporting this crime much less leaving Mr. Terrific's T-Spheres behind. (I almost said T-Balls and then I realized why DC decided they should call them T-Spheres)

Conclusion 8/10

I am not holding my breath on the next issue being any good, but I've got to give credit where credit is due. This is a solid issue, and anybody who has been wanting to give this series a try could not possibly find a better issue than this. If you are interested in Worlds' Finest and have some spare change, pick this issue up and check it out.

Review: Worlds' Finest #9

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Raid

Worlds' Finest is a crappy comic. I hate it. I don't want to have to review it, but I'm doing it anyway because I said I would, but I'm tired, I feel like throwing up, and I do not feel like dressing up my disdain for this series in any sorts of fancy words. Crap is crap and this book sucks. Is this another issue that proves my hatred for Worlds' Finest to be fury well spent ,or is this one of those few issues that is actually okay and makes me question if this book has some potential?

In this issue, Huntress fights off an attacking force raiding Starr Island. We are also “treated” to a flashback of Helena getting her costume.

Insert Expletive Here

Given the fact I've been sick for the past few days, I considered rating all the comics this week based on how much they make me want to throw up, but that might not be a joke in this case. I let out a slew of vivid curses reading this issue, and I feel like slinging out some various body fluids too though it is possible that is a symptom of my illness rather than a symptom of reading Worlds' Finest, but I suspect it is probably the comic that is killing me.

Here's what happens in the whole comic. Stupid stuff, stuff that looks like it might be going somewhere but inevitably will not, and a cliffhanger for the next issue which will no doubt contain more of the same.

If God came to me and said I could send one person to Hell, and I knew who was most responsible for this atrocity of a comic book, then I would absolutely not send that creator to Hell because that would be horrible. I would probably choose a terrorist or something. Or whoever invented the term “swag.” However, if I could come face to face with the person most responsible for this travesty, I would tell him or her that I am not extremely fond of his or her work, and then they would cry, and I would feel guilty.

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Bat Droppings

I...don't even...I don't even know how to review this series properly anymore. I apologize for the rambling nature of this revie. I'm sure a lot of it is because I'm feeling so bad, but the other part is that this is just too stupid for words, so I'm going to sum it up Bat Dropping style so that I can avoid having to be coherent and organized in my thoughts.

1. Starting with the cover, we have a classic, “This will never happen in the comic” spread. Not even close to happening in the comic. Nope, not even a little bit.

2. Karen Starr has hired the most useless security staff in the world.

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3. I did like that Helena went into battle with a sling on her arm since she is still injured from last month. (though I thought she was shot in the chest, but I do not care near enough to check that) She looked pretty tough fighting despite her major injury.

4. Helena knocks a guy out by throwing a small brick even though he is wearing a helmet. That must be the worst helmet of all time.

5. Huntress takes a blast from a gun which can level large trees and stun Power Girl, yet Huntress is alive. Does writer Paul Levitz even try or does he just poop out the first thing that comes to mind?

6. Some random character shows up who we are apparently supposed to know and shoots a bad guy. Good for her, but...who is this woman?

7. In the midst of the fight scene, Levitz apparently felt things were on the verge of becoming exciting, so he decided to kill the vibe by flashing back to a completely irrelevant scene...44 months ago where we see Helena and Kara shopping. Yay?

8. Helena and Kara actually have okay chemistry.

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9. There is so much potential here. We see Huntress getting her costume and crossbow, we see Kara dreading the meeting of Superman, we see Kara's plans to buy her island, and we see this costume designer lady. There are lots of things here which could theoretically build to a larger story, but you know what will happen with these plot elements? Nothing! Because that is exactly what has been made of the past eight, nine...however many torturous issues.

10. The art changes between past and present, and it is jarring as always.

11. Huntress rescues some girls. This has no relevance to anything. I'm guessing it is supposed to be a random girl power moment? Yay, rapists and pimps are bad!

12. Huntress uses guns in this issue though non-lethally. Is it established whether or not this Huntress uses lethal force?

13. Keeping up with the trend of making Huntress look useless, Power Girl once more saves her life when she gets in over her head.

14. Mr. Terrific might be back in the DCNU. Who cares?

15. If this is the real Mr. Terrific, why would he send commandos instead of just give Kara a call?

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Conclusion 2/10

DC, I have no major attachment to Helena Wayne or Power Girl and I have no writing credentials of which to speak, but I swear to God I could write a better script in three hours than Levitz is giving you. Come on! What say you? I'll take a quarter what you pay him. Just give me a chance.

Review: Worlds' Finest #8

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Hunt and Be Hunted

I am amazed that this series is selling so well. It may not a breakaway hit, but its running towards the middle of the pack of DC's New 52, and it deserves to be at the bottom of the pile. I suppose there are a few misguided fans of Huntress and Power Girl that think they are supporting their favorite characters by buying this series, but they would do far better to pull their support and prompt the editorial staff to create better stories. Nonetheless, some enjoy this series, and I briefly counted myself among this number when the last issue delivered one of the few acceptable stories of this series. Does this month continue the positive trend, or does it once more turn into a gaudy display of Helena's angst and Karen's skin?

In this issue, Helena is attacked and seriously wounded by assassins. After driving off the attackers, Karen sweeps Helena off to heal.

The Two Advantages

As I see it, Worlds' Finest has two advantages over every other team book on the market. First, it's very small character list allows for a deep focus on character interactions and lots of good team up action. Superman and Batman, though not always well written, is a great example of that type of storytelling. Second, Worlds' Finest deals with the intriguing idea of two characters being trapped in a similar but alternate reality who are trying to get back home. Though this concept has certainly been done in various mediums, it is the only current book of its type at DC.

Worlds' Finest fails to use either of these advantages.

In earlier issues, I felt that the two heroines actually had good chemistry, but now, they spend so little time together that we barely get to see any interaction. Furthermore, they have not yet had a decent fight scene. The two characters have not even thrown down with the same enemy in the past five issues. What is the point of having a team book if they never act as a team? I can only think of two occasions where the two have even fought in the same general area, once with the giant monster and once with the fight in issue #0. In the former case, Power Girl took out the monster while Helena bullied a boat crew into picking up stranded survivors. In the second case, Huntress got in over her head and Power Girl took out all the bad guys. We almost never see the two main characters work together, and when we do, Power Girl does all the work.

In regards to the whole alternate dimension/Apokolips plotline, this seems to come and go at random. Last month the girls acquired some potentially useful tech and learned that Darkseid was arming African militias. This issue, both those developments are ignored. Furthermore, there is no feeling of them being strangers in a strange land which was one of the few things unique about this title. It is almost as if the girls don't really care about returning. At this point, I see more chance of Gilligan getting off his island than Huntress and Power Girl returning to their reality.

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The Imbalance of Power

This issue divides up the action into two separate sections, Huntress and Power Girl with just a little overlap in the middle. Both these sections give several examples of how poorly this script is written.

With the Helena section, it is difficult to take the threat seriously there are so many little inconsistencies and such incompetent bad guys. First, we see that Helena is being stalked by two guys, one of which is walking down the street holding a camera against his face pointed right at her. Really? Helena doesn't notice the guy fifteen feet behind her walking with a digital camera pressed to his head. To make it worse, we see that the camera has a cross hair viewer. Why would a camera have a cross hair? After missing the two assassins standing in plain view pointing a camera at her for what must have been ten minutes or longer, Helena goes into her apartment and changes into her costume. As soon as she gets out her skylight, she is shot by somebody using a scope which looks exactly like the cross hair previously mounted in the camera. I'm glad the assassin had time to take the site off the camera and mount it on the gun. Despite the excellent shot from a distance by one thug, the dipstick duo decide to follow up by sending the other thug out with a submachine gun. Despite shooting from only five feet away, the second thug thankfully misses, and our heroine manages to intelligently fight off the attackers before passing out from blood loss.

Enter Power Girl's role in the story. As the medical technicians start to load up Helena, the police talk about how she might not pull through. Power Girl chooses this moment to swoop up Helena and speed her off carrying her in a way sure to put maximum air pressure on Helena's dying body. Despite the near fatal wound, Helena survives and concludes that it must have been some third world dictator, Ibn Hassan, who sent the assassins. (how the assassins found her is never explained) Power Girl then goes into Kara smash mode and rips apart an entire third world country to take out Hassan. They shoot missiles; she catches them with her hands and crushes them.

Superman/Batman managed a consistently balanced story between two vastly imbalanced characters, yet we cannot get a single issue of Worlds' Finest where Power Girl is challenged in the slightest or Huntress plays a worthwhile role.

Let Your Speech Be Always with Grace

There were some positive elements to this story. The art was solid throughout though there were five different artists working on this one issue which is just bizarre. There is one cool scene, done by the artist “CAFU”, worth mentioning in particular. While Helena is injured, she hallucinates visions of her parents. These visions appear to also be memories. The neat part was that in the panel where Helena sees her mother, the setting is greatly exaggerated with the scale of the dressers, ceiling, and stuffed animals all scaled overly large. It invoked the feeling of childhood when everything feels much larger. Behind Selina in the scene loomed the image of Catwoman, much larger, which I assume was meant to convey the importance of the legacy of Catwoman to the young Helena. I think the looming Catwoman was a bit much, but it was still a striking image.

The only other thing I found particularly amusing was the way Power Girl threatened the dictator. She put him in an interesting position which made me chuckle a bit.

Conclusion 4/10

The few good elements of this hardly made up for the negative. The scripting is sloppy without a sensible flow to the action or any real sense of tension. The overall goal of the heroines, getting back to their own reality, seems to be something they forget about on a regular basis, and team book never features a team. Don't waste your money.

Review: Worlds' Finest #7

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Family Matters

Worlds’ Finest has been crap. The zero issue was okay, but beyond that, it’s crap. Helena and Karen do demonstrate good chemistry, and the basic premise of the story, two super heroines trapped in an alternate world, does hold some promise, the story has been trapped with boring nonsensical plot lines and inexplicable decisions by characters not to mention the often stilted dialogue between characters, questionable art, and the infamous gag of making Power Girl lose her clothes in every fight. Last issue featured the lovable brat Damian who interacted awkwardly with the Worlds’ Finest while encountering his sort of sister for the first time. Based on the cover, Worlds’ Finest apparently feels it has been taking itself too seriously, so it has decided to throw a werewolf into the mix. Does this make for a howling good time, or does this wolf lack teeth?

In this issue, Helena and Damian get attacked by a wolf pack while investigating a lead on Darkseid, Helena encounters some boy soldiers packing some serious armament while following her lead, and Helena and Damian revel in the thrill of lethal force.

A Quality Worlds’ Finest Comic?

Despite the werewolf on the cover which I was sure brought tiding of a terrible story to come, this is actually one of and possibly the best issue of Worlds’ Finest thus far. Admittedly, that is not saying much, but let’s thank the Lord for small favors.

Though Paul Levitz is the same guy who has been writing this series, this issue does not even feel like it is written by the same guy. It actually seems to have a point and take itself seriously. As opposed to previous issues where the actions of our heroines seem to have no real effect on getting back to Apokolips, Levitz actually moves the ball down the field this time. We get much of the same nonsense we have seen in previous issues where the nature of Darkseid’s deeds are mysterious, but both the leading ladies actually get some usable intel this time around.

Power Girl…Clothed!

There is also one aspect of this story which should cause Power Girl fans (or at least a certain faction of them) to rejoice. Power Girl does not lose her clothes in this issue. She is fully clothed the entire time. She is actually wearing clothes. She does not undress or get her clothes torn off in any way, shape or form. Her clothes stay on. Holy crap!

I know it is ridiculous to make a big deal about it, but this running gag which has happened in nearly every issue of this series (has it been every issue? Someone tell me if you know) has undermined any attempt to treat Karen as a serious character. Without the distraction and wasted panels of Power Girl undressing or trying to get some lucky guy into bed, I actually found her portion of the story to be extremely satisfying. The boy soldiers angle was interesting, and I find myself genuinely interested in Darkseid’s plan for the first time since this story began.

Helena also carried her end of the story with a little help from the worlds’ brattiest superhero, Damian. Whereas the relevance of Helena’s role in Worlds’ Finest usually seems undermines by Power Girl’s superpowers, the story actually gave Huntress a worthwhile role and reason to be acting independently. Two signals. Two recon teams. There was no real reason to expect trouble, so it makes sense.

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Damian Dialogue Deplorably Disappointing

I was very disappointed in the way Damian was utilized in the last issue. Helena and Damian fought because they were both heroes and that is what happens when two heroes meet in comics. There was really nothing more than the thinnest veneer of rationale to it.

The relationship between Helena and Damian was much better in this issue. The two manage to find themselves in a sort of sibling rivals sort of relationship which was an interesting and reasonable resolution to their conflict. The problem is that they reached that resolution much too quickly. In fact, if feels like they began this issue with a completely different dynamic than how they ended the last one. Granted, they could have bonded during their flight or during their fight together, but it felt a bit too quick. I buy the resolution, but I do not buy how they got to the resolution.

Also, Levitz does not seem to grasp Damian’s speech patterns at all. His actions in this issue were not too bad, but he talked as if he were a robot programmed to impersonate Damian Wayne rather than the genuine article. (crazy conspiracy theory time? Nope, just bad writing. “Helena recognized the call of blood, across the worlds.” Really? Is Damian a poetic philosopher now? I don’t think so.

Why the Werewolf?

It is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but I cannot help but wonder about the werewolf guy that Helena and Damian fought. The fight scenes in this issue were actually pretty good, but (Spoiler) the werewolf scene was by far the least interesting among them. The werewolf goes after Damian. Huntress shoots the werewolf. The end. Rather anticlimactic for being the focus of the cover. The Power Girl fight with the boy soldiers was much more interesting and central to the plot.

Conclusion 7/10

I’m surprised to find myself saying it, but this was actually a fairly good issue of Worlds’ Finest. If you have been itching for a chance to jump on board of this series, then this is the best point in recent memory, but the series still has a lot of ground to gain before it really gains a hearty recommendation from me. 

Worlds' Finest #6

Transient

Family Matters

Worlds’ Finest is so bad it is nearly laughable. It reminds me of many cult classic movie which manage to be so cheesy and poorly made that they loop back around the scale of awfulness and becomes charming in its ineptitude. Sadly, Worlds’ Finest generally falls short of this mark and remains simply stupid and uninspired. On the flipside, Worlds’ Finest did produce one worthwhile issue during zero month. It was still not good, but it was okay. In addition, the flirty and boisterous Karen does contrast nicely with the reserved and jaded Helena, so there is a tiny glimmer of promise in this series, but it has been mostly overshadowed by bad writing. Does the series finally manage to turn its glimmer into a brilliant gleam of light in issue six, or does the glimmer fade even further towards obscurity?

In this issue, Helena runs into conflict with her sort-of-almost-not-really brother, Damian and Karen installs a doohickey which scans for something on a satellite.

Robin Saves the Day?

When I first saw Damian on this issue’s cover, I allowed myself a foolish moment of hope. Damian has such a powerful and unique personality that he can bring an interesting dynamic to any team. However, this opportunity was squandered in a manner which really should not surprise me. Huntress and Robin spend the entire issue exchanging blows and snarky remarks, and when they finally come to a stop, the issue pulls out the, “To be continued,” sign. Sure, Huntress takes a couple jabs at how Damian is wearing her old costume and Damian notices that Helena has movements similar to Batman’s, but the lack of great art makes it difficult to care about their physical battle, and the lack of personality in Huntress makes the verbal back and forth seem hollow.

Transient

And Power Girl Is Doing What?

I assume that Power Girl was scanning for some sign of Apokolips technology on Earth, but the issue never really explained. Furthermore, a boom tube seems to fried it without particular reason. I found it even further confusing when Karen came back down to Earth at one of her research headquarters and went inside to work. Is her identity known? I do not know if this is poor writing or lack of knowledge on my part, but I find this rather confusing.

Karen, of course, continued to be extremely flirty which I am beginning to accept, but she also lost her costume once more which is just kind of comical at this point…especially when she mentioned that it cost millions of dollars. I did not realize a leotard cost so much.

Karl Marx Is Calling

I do not know much about writer Paul Levitz, but he seems to be way left on the political spectrum. He has already shown that Power Girl is more concerned about an oil spill than human lives in issue three, and in this issue, he demonstrates that both Helena and Karen have no problem stealing from people as long as they are rich.

Conclusion 4/10

There is really not a lot to analyze in this issue. It is straight forward, stupid, and pointless. The more I read this series, the less I care about the characters, and that is just a sad statement. Do yourself a favor, and hold on to your money.  

Review: Worlds' Finest #5

Midnights, Far From Home

I have only read the last two issues of Worlds' Finest, but that was more than enough for me to learn that this is far from the finest comic on the market. Does issue five improve this series quality, or does it build the case that this series should be called Worlds' Worst?

After Helena puts Power Girl's endurance to the test, Kara relates the story of her latest battle with a robot from another dimension.

Overestimating the Series

The creative team proves me a fool for suspecting that this issue would be bad. In actuality, it is horrible.

To put it succinctly, the story is pointless and the art is low-grade. No aspect of this story develops the characters or overarching plot. Both heroines are pitted against villains which are no challenge at all. The comic seems to try to create a poignant message in the end, but the message is trite.

Spoiler Warning: Rape is bad.

Kara once more loses all her clothes during battle so comic nerds can ogle her physique. Helena's face is drawn horribly and does not even look consistent from panel to panel. Even the interaction between Huntress and Power Girl, which was one of the few strong points of the series, feels forced in this issue.

Examining the Last Act

The entire last act of this issue rubbed me the wrong way, and I want to explain why. Because it is in the last act, I will spoiler block it, but honestly, you may as well read it because you should not waste your time reading this.

First, let me say that though Huntress's part in this issue is stupid, it is still infitely more entertaining than Power Girl's sequence which does not even bother to attempt to justify itself and has all the tension and drama of watching water boil. However, Huntress's story still felt off.

Protests Are Stupid

Regardless of which side of the aisle you prefer, you are an idiot if you think protests make a big difference. Protests biggest accomplishment is making the protesters feel accomplished for making a token gesture. Also, what exactly is this group protesting? Rape? Are they trying to intimidate the pro-rape lobby or get anti-rape legislation written into law? Is this an awareness campaign? Are we really pretending that women are not already aware of rape? Give me a break!

The Psychology of Rape

I am not an expert, but I have had some psychological training, and I have read some criminal profiling books. From my knowledge, rape is done by three kinds of people: 1. People who just want to have sex and do not care how they get it. (opportunists). 2. People who get off on inflicting pain. (sadists) 3. Insecure people who need to physically prove their dominance. (Losers)

In this issue, someone starts shooting the rape protesters. Now, who is this guy supposed to be? Presumably, he is someone who does not want women asserting themselves, but which of these three types would do this? The Opportunist does not care if the woman asserts herself. He just wants sex, and he can always find a victim. Protesting will not make the girls any safer. The Sadist gets his pleasure from directly inflicting the pain. A rifle is not an intimate means of inflicting torture. There is no visceral edge to it, and therefore I doubt a sadist would get much pleasure from it. Furthermore, a sadist could easily find ways of inflicting pain on others which would not be so risky. The Loser would be the most likely of the three to commit such a crime for he would feel threatened by the protest, and he would want to reassert control, but the Loser usually takes out all his dominance on one woman. The abusive husband does not usually abuse his female coworkers. For the insecure man to reclaim his masculinity, his abuse needs to be more personal then randomly shooting people with a rifle.

Conclusion 3/10

Regardless of my opinions about the final act, this issue fails to deliver anything worth your time or money.

World's Finest #4

Rebirth, Conclusion

This is the first issue of the new volume of World's Finest I've had the chance to read. I'm familiar with Power Girl and Huntress' pre-Flashpoint counterparts, and though I was not a fan of Helena at first, I came to like Huntress after seeing her grow as a character. As for Power Girl, I have rarely seen her in a comic, but I do know her back story. When I heard that Earth-2's Power Girl and Huntress would be crossing over to the main DC universe, I really did not care for the idea, and since then I've heard mixed reviews on the new run of World's Finest. The general consensus seems to be that the series is mediocre. Nonetheless, I opened the pages hoping for the best.

This issue continues the arc from the World's Finest #3. In this issue, Power Girl does battle with a giant monster known as the Irradiated Man just off the mainland of Tokyo while Huntress attempts to save the lives of the sailors thrown into the ocean through the chaos of the fight.

Stupidity to the Max

As I read this issue, I wanted to slap the writer repeatedly and ask him what he thought he was doing. The bad decisions Power Girl makes in this issue are asinine. Power Girl manages to throw the Irradiated Man into the harbor where he immediately begins to attack boats, but for some reason she does not think to throw the creature further into the water away from the boats. Instead, she is shocked when the monster cracks open an oil tanker. Power Girl does not fear on behalf of the sailors, but rather she is horrified that all the oil that will pollute the oceans.

Let's do a quick assessment, Power Girl. What is more important? Oil in the water or the big giant monster killing people and destroying things?

Apparently, the oil is the priority for Power Girl because she allows the monster to continue to kill people while she picks up the tanker. Why is she picking it up? I have no idea.

Hopefully all the crew made it into the water before Power Girl got involved because when Power Girl lifts the tanker several stories into the air,

it comes apart completely and plummets towards the water. Thinking quickly, Power Girl uses her heat vision to burn the oil presumably flash frying any sailors who did make it into the water. The sudden fire would most likely also suck all the oxygen from the nearby air possibly suffocating all those in the surrounding area.

The stupidity gets cranked up to eleven when after fighting the creature for a whole forty minutes or so, Huntress and Power Girl put their heads together and decide that since the creature seeks nuclear energy, they should set off a nuclear bomb RIGHT OFF THE COAST OF HONG KONG in the hopes that the creature will absorb the energy and simultaneously die. My head is literally hurting from the stupidity. Thanks to the magic of poor writing, this somehow works, but that is more than enough stupidity for a year's worth of writing mistakes. You are on my naughty list Mr. Levitz.

World's "Finest"

The entire issue is dripping with sex from Power Girl. Helena appears to be respectable, but though Power Girl's boob window is now gone, she apparently feels the need to act like a skank at all times. In every interaction with a male, she flirts shamelessly, and she makes several sexual comments in this issue all while using body language that implies that she expects a surprise pinup photo shoot to pop up at any given moment. The most ridiculous moment came when Power Girl

chased down a rocket (a large cylindrical rocket) while saying, "That's the problem with boys' toys, they don't always know where to put them." Real subtle, Levitz. In the explosion that follows, Power Girl's costume just happens to rip open across the top of her chest allowing her magnificent mammaries to be in on display once more.

Every Cloud...

The issue was not all bad. The art is adequate, and the two heroines did have good chemistry. Though the idea of being from an alternate universe did not immediately appeal to me, this issue did convince me that the concept at least has potential though it is certainly not living up to it at the moment.

Conclusion 4/10

Overall, this issue was crap. Do not read it.

Worlds’ Finest

Beginnings

The last issue of Worlds’ Finest left me scratching my head and wondering why anyone would be reading this crap, but one bad issue is understandable, and the earliest reviews of this zero issue led me to believe that the series might be improving. Does this issue show that the series has promise, or does it just give readers another reason to stay away?

This issue gives some insight into who Huntress and Power Girl were in their home universes. We see both of them train with their mentors to become formidable vigilantes.

A Step in the Right Direction

This issue was most definitely better than the last. The story was solid and contained none of the gaping plot holes which so beset the last issue. I can see that the writer, Levitz, does have a sense of these characters, and he is letting the readers get to know them little by little. Unlike last issue, Kara was not exploited by constantly making dirty jokes or posing in a sexual manner. Without her constant sexual references, I actually found Kara to be a likable character. I enjoyed all the costume designs of the characters, especially Helena’s Robin outfit.

And a Half a Step Back

Sadly, the comic still did not do a whole lot for me. The comic failed to deliver an emotional impact even though it clearly tried to make one. The chemistry between the two heroines is good,

but the dialogue felt a little off at times especially at the end when right after Helena lost her mother, she tells Kara that “We’re going to be friends forever.”

A fight between Bruce and Selina is equally awkward. The art is at times quite good and at times weak. It looks as if the artists spent a lot of time on some panels but then just rushed through others.

Conclusion 6/10

I have not completely given up on this series, but it has made one terrible and one weak showing. There are some good things going on here, but there are also problems which need to be fixed. If Levitz can start writing some more original scripts which place the characters in unique situations and if he can fix some of the dialogue issues, this series does have potential, but right now, I cannot recommend it.