First Impressions – WORLDS’ FINEST #1

Because if Crisis on Infinite Earths couldn’t kill Power Girl and the Huntress, Flashpoint and the New 52 weren’t about to.

Up until the Bronze Age of comics, DC mostly used the Earth 2 conceit as a way to make the old JSA team up with the modern JLA. But then they realized that they had an entire other world to work with, and they could tell stories not otherwise possible in the main DC Earth. New characters could be introduced, and old characters reimagined. Kind of like what Marvel did with its Ultimate imprint.

Power Girl was introduced in 1976, during the JSA’s occupation of All-Star Comics (a great run that’s collected in two trades). She was Earth 2’s version of Supergirl, reimagined as a busty amazonian ultra-feminist named Kara Zor-L. Since the Superman of that universe remained largely retired, she was one of the only Kryptonian powerhouses around.

Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman, took on the identity of the Huntress in 1977. She would also appear in the JSA run of All-Star Comics, where she and Power Girl became frequent partners in crime fighting. In essence the two were Earth 2’s successors to Superman and Batman, since both were growing old and retired from the business.

This combined with being very attractive female characters made the pair very popular. What can I say? Sex sells. Why do you think female superheroes dress as they do? But that’s for an entirely different blog.

So popular were the pair that they were among those to survive Crisis on Infinite Earths and make it into the new continuity. Except not without a little work to make them fit. See, unlike most of the JSA, these two didn’t have histories or backstories that could just be folded into New Earth’s. Power Girl was Earth 2’s Supergirl (who was dead, but no one was going to casually substitute them, least of all DC), and Helena Wayne was Bruce Wayne’s daughter. One was the alternate universe version of an existing character (dead though she may be), and the other the child of a character that couldn’t be a father at present.

A lot of people say Crisis caused more problems than it solved, and it’s easy to see why. Since the origins of these two popular characters couldn’t be used, DC had to alter them in order to force compliance. In Power Girl’s case, they made her the granddaughter of an Atlantean sorcerer from the distant past. Part of this was because DC wanted Superman of New Earth to be the last Kryptonian, so Power Girl couldn’t be one anymore. Eventually though DC realized how terribly that plan turned out, and retconned it so she was the lost remnant of the Earth 2 that got destroyed. Basically they gave her original origin back to her, and much of her remaining pre-Flashpoint character revolved around finding her place in the world.

As for the Huntress, she got a new origin as the daughter of some random guy, and she started fighting the mafia to avenge his death. I don’t know so much about that.

In between Crisis and Flashpoint, Power Girl and the Huntress ran around, hanging out with the JSA and the Bat crew, respectively. And when it came time to once again reboot the entire DC universe, of course these two would be in the new order. And maybe DC has learned something, because instead of erasing the transdimensional nature of these two characters, WORLDS’ FINEST embraces it.

WORLDS’ FINEST #1 ties directly into three things at once. First into the now canceled Mister Terrific ongoing (Karen Starr, a supporting character, is the alter ego of Kara Zor-L). Second into the Huntress six-issue miniseries. And third, into EARTH 2 #1, where we see the two in their new old personas. In this continuity, Power Girl and the Huntress basically had the same origins as their pre-crisis selves, though in this case as that world’s versions of Supergirl and Robin, respectively.

Now I actually like this detail, for two reasons. One, because it makes as much sense for them to have developed the same identities in Earth 2 as came about in Earth A (my name for the main DC Earth of the New 52), as to just develop these different personas on their own. At least now, it makes their different personas a product of having be banished to Earth A, and seeing this world already had a Robin or four, and a Supergirl. And two, because as DC probably realized, it would confuse people less than just presenting these apparently new characters. New readers won’t know who Power Girl or the Huntress are in the old continuity, but they’ll surely know who Supergirl and Robin are.

This is part of why I like the cover to this issue. It shows both the current identities of these two ladies, and shows who they were before. If nothing else, a new reader might wonder about the female Robin on the cover, and take a look.

So the point of this book before I get too far ahead is that during the events of the Apokolips war in EARTH 2, their version of Supergirl and Robin fall into a wormhole, and end up in Earth A. Without a way back and with little to return to (since their Big Three are dead), the two make the best of their situation and set up shop in the main DC universe. That was five years before by the start of this issue. While Helena Wayne has worked to create her own persona as a threat to criminals, Kara uses her knowledge (and powers) to gather resources and tech. All in an attempt to find a way back to their universe. She even made her own costume, and the name Power Girl.

Let’s talk about these costumes. I’ll admit I didn’t read more than a single issue of both Mister Terrific or The Huntress, but I always found the Huntress costume to be just fine. Nothing much beyond fine. It’s a decent costume, and not much else comes to mind. Power Girl’s costume though is one that I both like, yet also dislike. It suffers from the same compulsive redesigns as the rest of the New 52, though at least this one is redesigned in a different way. No arbitrary lines everywhere. It’s more like a iPod than anything else. Smooth lines and round shapes. It’s not really my taste all things considered, though I will applaud the designers for covering the oft-added boob-hole her costumes frequently have. Which is not to say the suit doesn’t outline her figure, but it’s just nice to have a practical suit.

Although Power Girl doesn’t seem all that concerned with being seen nude, if her dialogue is to be believed.

Anyway, the conflict of this issue comes from Power Girl’s lab being set fire to, damaging the Quantum Tunneler she developed in an attempt to get home. At the very end of the issue, the two are confronted by the villain of this initial story arc: Hakkou, the Irradiated Man. We get one good panel of him, and then we’re done. And I have to say, I’m not too excited to see where this goes. Don’t get me wrong, this seemed like a fine start to a new series. But maybe it’s the art or the story, but I think I’ll stop here. It’s just not for me. By all means check this one out, but I’ll be sticking with EARTH 2 for now.

It and DIAL H will give me enough new material to read, thank you very much. But I’ll get to DIAL H #1 next time.

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