Worlds’ Finest: Huntress/Power Girl #19 review

Power Girl has two big problems: her powers are switching off at random times, and her tech company’s been stolen from her. As this issue opens, Karen is tackling the second of those issues by diamond hunting at the bottom of the ocean, getting the funds to pay lawyers to win Starr Industries back. 
As for the power issue, a week without problems has her feeling complacent, so why not fly pal Helena Wayne around Central Park on her arrival back in New York? Whether Hel wants it or not …
… and it’s very much ‘not’ as Karen’s flight cuts out, leaving a PJ-ed Helena bruised and grumpy. But still Karen doesn’t accept that she should ask for help from some other hero, perhaps a fellow Kryptonian, and the pair part. While Huntress grabs some clothes and breakfast, Karen grabs a lawyer who is less than 100 per cent optimistic that Starr will soon be back in her hands. And then she nearly fries the entire legal team, when her heat vision goes awry. Her secret identity survives, as lawyer Irv suggests there’s been an explosion, leaving Karen to get herself under control on the roof. 
Casually foiling a thief’s fun over breakfast, Helena decides she’s had enough of Karen refusing to seek help. It’s time to reach out to someone she’s been avoiding since the Worlds’ Finest heroines got stranded on a parallel Earth. Ironically, across town, Karen is having a similar thought …
… and the thought I’m having is that this is one delightful comic book. Anyone looking for slam-bang action might disagree, though there is superheroic incident here: the book opens with Karen showing a big squid who’s boss, there’s that heat vision flashpoint and Helen’s aforementioned mid-morning crimebusting. And all the time there’s superb characterisation – writer Paul Levitz knows his protagonists, and so we know them too. There’s Karen, whose self-assuredness stretches to stubbornness and whose pride continually leads to falls. And there’s Helena, strong of mind and body, stoic of character, able to put up with her best friend’s foibles, but for only so long. Helena wants Karen to face reality, Karen wants Helena to have some fun. Power Girl and Huntress are formidable as single heroines, entertaining as separate characters, but as a pairing they’re gold.  
This issue is a prelude to the coming crossover with the Batman and Superman series, as the Worlds’ Finest heroines confront the alternate world versions of the men who raised them – the World’s Finest heroes. We get a taster at the end of this instalment, and it bodes well for the main event. 
For now, we have a thoroughly enjoyable day-in-the-life tale of two women trying to fit into a world not their own. I’d like to see more of Helena’s daily life, see who she knows apart from Karen, and hopefully that’s upcoming. For now, though, I’m content seeing her hang out with Karen, help her through a sticky time; the sheer warmth of their relationship, bickering and all, is so refreshing amid the overall mean-spiritedness of the current DC Universe.  
And when Karen needs a new subplot, well, Irv the brief seems awfully understanding in how he protects her secret identity – there’s no way you can sit next to a woman as distinctive as Karen Starr, see her emit flash beams from her eyes and not realise she’s Power Girl. 
I don’t see him becoming a romantic interest, mind – not with that beard. Breakdowns artist Scott McDaniel really does like to draw unlikely facial hair on lawyers, with Irv looking like a beatnik and some guy across the table like an Abe Lincoln cosplayer. He does a good job, mind, providing clear layouts for penciller RB Silva. I do hope we get to see the talented Silva handling more of the workload soon, though, as I prefer a purer presence. I’ve not seen inker Joe Weems at DC previously, but he’s a welcome presence – his experience on Fathom serves him well in the undersea sequence, and the dry land scenes are similarly sharp. 
A favourite scene sees Karen change into costume at super-speed, with my only reservation being colourist Jason Wright’s decision to light her boobs to draw attention to them. Er, not necessary. Other than that, Wright’s colours are as good as anything he’s produced since his Secret Six days, with the background environments especially pretty. The letters by Carlos M Mangual are nice and breezy, and  finishing up the package, the cover by Emanuela Lupaccino and Wright is a beaut. 
With luck, the coming crossover – First Contact – will bring more people to this series, which has so much promise but hasn’t yet caught fire. Right now, I’m seeing sparks. 

13 thoughts on “Worlds’ Finest: Huntress/Power Girl #19 review

  1. I guess my biggest problem with the issue is that the big decision the main characters make .. to contact their legacy mentors on this world … is made separately, not together. I want Levitz to have these two together, especially for major decisions like this. Instead he keeps them apart.

    Also, the impromptu flight by Karen with Helena seemed almost juvenile and way too public. These two have kept their presence hidden so carefully.

    This book is fine. But I am damning with faint praise. I love the Huntress and Power Girl character archetypes. I want to love these versions. But this book has yet to wow me.

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  2. In this issue, Helena is the serious one and Karen is almost like Lucille Ball, with her mishaps. “I'm better now, no problems for one week,” she tells Helena, then they go on a impulsive flight and end up in a tree. Karen angrily tells her lawyers to get Starrware back to her then accidentally sets off the sprinklers with her heat vision? Another oops! What is this, Karen Starr, super-dumb blond?

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  3. This book continues to be a light-hearted read, tho I wish we had a more substantial plot to follow. Power Girl's power-cut-outs remind me of Supergirl's temporary on-off powers from her old Adventure Comics in the early 70s, lovely bit of retro-continuity there.
    I don't mind the lighting of Karen's tits – Jesus, even when shes drawn from the back you can hardly MISS 'em!
    Glad she and Hel are finally gonna connect with some other superhumans like Supes and Bats – seems sily they haven't made contact with anyone else in all this time.

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  4. I see your point, but I'm just happy to see some movement towards our heroines meeting their not-dad/cousin. Definitely, logic dictates Helena and Karen consult with one another, but Helena is frustrated and Karen sees sense. And sometimes mates don't do what they should as regards one another.

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  5. I'm feeling those sparks too, Martin. As always, a wonderful and insightful review. Here's an inquiry for your comic trivia brain…

    I'm sure Levitz, McDaniel, and Silva were having fun when they slid in what surely must be a reference to a tale of yesteryear—when Huntress enters the Batcave and runs her fingers across an aquarium tank containing a little turtle faced, squid alien creature. “Already has some cool stuff,” Huntress muses. Do you have any idea what the creators of this issue are referencing here? Who/what is this little guy? I'm always interested in cool Easter eggs, especially when someone with such a long history at DC (i.e. Levitz) is at the helm.

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  6. I'm loving this comic, as a fan of Helena and PG since the 80's. PG is done a little differently here to how she has been previously, in the flashbacks she's more like the pre-Crisis Supergirl, the sweet girl next door type with lots of crushes on boys, the way Kara was in her 70's comics, but now a more grown up version of that. So not the feminist PG we're used to, but far preferable to the current Supergirl and far closer to what we'd hope a Supergirl would be. Helena has a bit of extra history to her. In this version she was Robin before she was Huntress and got to train with her parents and go on patrol with them, something the pre-Crisis version didn't get to do. This gives an added sense of closeness and a bond with her parents the original perhaps didn't quite have, which just makes the story more heart warming in all. But anyway I am glad to see you enjoying this title, I feel it doesn't get the love it deserves at times. At present my only regular DC titles are this one, Earth 2 and Batgirl. As a life long Wonder Woman fan (since 1976) I think that says a lot for how I feel about the rest of the New 52!

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  7. Hello Basthotep, I love your likening of Karen to a Seventies Kara – a bit beyond crying over boyfriends, but still liking the chaps. And you raise an interesting point about Helena, I wonder what training the original Earth 2 version had.

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