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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Subj: A Look at World's Finest #8
Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:40:11 pm EST (Viewed 524 times)

World's Finest comes in for a fair bit of criticism online largely due to the lack of depth and urgency in writer Paul Levitz' plotting, this is a valid point to make as it afflicts his other book (Legion of Super-Heroes) as well.
Where Levitz does excel though is in his ability to craft plausible three dimensional ensemble characters you'd actually like to be around, in my experience this storytelling ability is actually a relatively scarce thing to find in modern superhero comics but like other team-book veterans such as Roger Stern, Chris Claremont and Marv Wolfman Levitz comes from a different generation of scriptwriters. More concerned with character and dialogue than conjuring big events and set pieces to satisfy the publishers marketing department. Levitz' focus on inter-relations and honest friendship makes this book a compulsive purchase.

So Issue #8 of World's Finest is another typical Paul Levitz excercise in scripting, The Huntress is attacked and wounded in her New York safehouse, someone deduced her true identity and sent a pair of mercenaries to assasinate her. They fail but Helena is left seriously wounded and about to be taken to the hospital by paramedics when Power Girl whisks her away at superspeed. Recovering at Power Girl's private Island complex Helena speculates that the attempt was down to a bounty put on her head by the people traffickers she crossed with in her mini series that lead into this World's Finest series - the main culprit being a man called Hassan. Power Girl sets off to follow Hassan's trail and ends up in the Middle East where she effortlessly breaches the defences of the building she believes Hassan is bunkered down in and spots the man himself entering a reinforced saferoom. Not a problem, she rips the room from the building and takes her new prisoner away for a chat. Elsewhere in Gotham Alfred lamants the state of Damien Wayne's boots and Batman concurs that Damien has strayed a little to far this time... To Be Continued.

I do find it interesting how much this book mirrors James Robinson's Earth-2 in many ways, both books have a major running subplot about a stranded and hidden Apokolitian mastermind out to take over the world, and on top of it both books are heavily into exposition and filling in gaps concerning their characters and the world they come from.
Earth-2 as a book has the easier job as it inhabits entirely its own universe and can make the rules up as it goes along, World's Finest is a more difficult project as both of their main characters are alien to the this world and have some complex reasons to avoid mingling with the superhero scene. They're not fugitives, and yet due to their unique situation they are forced to act as illegal immigrants... So where is the narrative drive and where do the chosen threats come from in this books scenario?
Another flaw in the concept is perhaps with the characters themselves. World's Finest has traditionally been Superman & Batman's friendship, both are high profile and public superheroes who lead the way for others to follow. With Huntress and Power Girl while you get the same two character dynamics and the focus on friendship the actual content of the book and their adventures can never be the same as those two aforementioned Icons as they don't belong in this universe and don't particularly want to either. They don't really know anyone, Next to no one knows them, They want to stay out of sight and not invite publicity... And as a result of all these isolationist factors the options for plots are not all that great, putting it politely. If this book is to move forward a new format is going to have to be found.

But back to the issue itself - So far we know that the Apokolips agent Power Girl & Huntress are chasing is very clever and has established themselves on earth, ammassing resources, they also have Boom Tube technology, he or she also seems to have a penchant for leaving straps/belts and are now well aware of the duo's existence here on earth. This issue's assassin plot may or may not be another example of this masterminds work but for the sake of the books overall direction I do hope it is - this issue was okay on the whole but felt slight and lacking a clear direction. Like previous issues It's just an overlong chase-around and feels like a series marking time. Hassan, the suspected culprit for Helena's attack, is a leftover from her mini-series coming out of Flashpoint, an odd, minor and frankly irrelevant plotpoint to bring up eight issues into this particular series.
The issue isn't helped by some very uneven art from a remarkable mishmash of two colorists and THREE pencillers! Cliff Richards, Cafu and George Perez.
Where Kevin MaGuire is I don't know...

All in all it was a very average issue, the plot felt slight and Power Girl's crusade to find the source of Helena's attackers took up too much in terms of pages. On the other hand it was sweet watching her determination to protect her best friend Helena and while a lengthy trail to follow it may be this will all pay off in the next issue - if this furthers the big bad mastermind from Apokolips plot then fair enough. If it's just Hassan after all then no, it's wasting time. \(wilt\)

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