Thursday, May 10, 2012

Huntress & Power Girl: World's Finest #1


Five years ago and another world away, they were the next generation of heroes - The Maiden of Might and The Girl Wonder.  But an alien invasion claimed the lives of their mentors and left them stranded on an Earth that was similar to their own but where the Age Of Heroes was just beginning.  Assuming new identities, the two friends began to make their way in this strange new world.  One became a captain of industry and a power in the tech sectorr.  The other became an urban legend, who preyed upon the predators in the darkest corners of their new home.
Today, the woman known as Karen Starr is despondent.  The technology she had hoped to used to find a way home has been destroyed, along with her new lab.  The one thing that survived intact?  A new costume she had made for herself, deciding her best friend was right about getting back in the saddle and being a hero again.  Karen Starr is now Power Girl.  The woman born Helena Wayne, the former Robin of another world, is now The Huntress.  Together, they are the World's Finest Heroes!

Following up on the heels of Earth 2 and spinning-off somewhat from the short-lived Mister Terrific series and Huntress mini-series, World's Finest - much like it's main characters - manages to stand on its' own, despite where it came from.  A neat flashback explains away the duo's origins and connection to the Earth 2 book while the opening interlude explains Karen Starr's status as a billionaire playgirl and her connection to the inventor Michael Holt, whose technology just went "boom" at one of her labs.  It would be easy for this series to get caught up in minutia but Paul Levitz  prevents the story from getting bogged down in its' concept or set-up. 

What really sells the book is the relationship between Helena and Karen.  The friendship between the two is established quickly and while it is made clear that the two disagree on a number of things, they still have a great deal of mutual respect for one another.  Both Karen and Helena are presented as distinct personalities, with Karen being the more adventurous of the two and Helena being more reserved.  Levitz, who also wrote the recent mini-series that introduced this new take on The Huntress, deserves a lot of credit for what he has done here. 

The artwork is, in a word, amazing.  Not content to put one top-notch artist on this title, DC Comics gave us two - George Perez and Kevin "I Can't Believe I'm Not Working With DeMatties and Giffen Again!" Maguire.  Perez handles all the scenes set in the present.  Maguire handles everything in the flashbacks.  Both artists have distinct but complementary styles so while the division in the artwork is obvious, it is not jarring nor contradictory.  Admittedly, I am a bit biased as a fan of both artists but I think this is one of the best-looking books DC Comics has put out all year.

In short, World's Finest lives up to its' name!  It is a must-read title for anyone who likes strong female protagonists and good artwork.  Highly recommended. 

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