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.