Graphic Novel Reviews: Worlds’ Finest 012

The Story
Power Girl and Huntress fight Desaad, but discover that he has only revealed his true form to them. To everyone else it looks like two women randomly attacked Michael Holt. The two make their escape, and the scene shifts to Huntress fighting Yakuza a few months prior. Back in the present, things have not been going well for Starr Industries, and the problem escalates as Karen’s aid reports that the Cambridge Lab has exploded. While Power Girl and Huntress deal with the catastrophe, Desaad attacks Karen’s facility, leaving none alive. When they return to the scene, Karen laments how she made them all targets, and she and Helena decide to go under cover and finish Desaad on their own.

The Review
Yay Power Girl has her old costume back. Now could we please give her old personality back? Since the last issue came out I’ve reread some old stories with her in them, and I’m getting really, really annoyed with her characterization. In my research into her character I came across entire lists and blog posts dedicated to figuring out who she has actually had a romantic relationship with. On average the lists had to do some digging, but the overall consensus was that she was one of the few characters that spent most of her time without a romantic interest. And suddenly in the New 52 her character is focused around how extensive her amorous exploits have been. Again, nothing against a woman wanting to have many varied lovers, but I take issue with someone apparently saying, “Oh, Power Girl? She has big breasts right? So she’s a total sex nut right?” I doubt that’s what actually happened in the DC offices, but if it did I will be nowhere near surprised. What I will be is enraged, or at least more so than I already am.

Is it really that hard to comprehend a character with a voluptuous body not being an entirely sensual character? What’s wrong with a busty character that isn’t constantly bragging about sex? Why was her character changed so drastically? Is it because of some kind of inherent misogyny in the industry? If yes, then how did she manage to remain true to character for so many years, and suddenly now she’s become the basest of female stereotypes. After all, how much more ubiquitous can you get than a busty, blonde bombshell that likes to have a lot of sex?

I keep telling myself that I won’t complain about this again. That I’ll try to let my reviews focus on the story of the issue itself, not the abjectly atrocious characterization. But all it takes is one stupid line about Karen’s dating life and suddenly I have to put the issue down and write three paragraphs complaining about said line. Sigh. I’ll get through this review somehow.

If they want to give her a romantic interest that’s all good and fine, I’d have to be some kind of obsessed creeper to go that far in my complaints. Though, as with many pairing decisions made in the New 52, I can’t help but wonder, “What exactly is the connection between Mr Terrific and Power Girl?” Did they have a connection before the reboot? If yes I can’t seem to find it. For all I can tell the two never interacted. So why one earth are they suddenly being paired off? With Superman/Wonder Woman—as superficial and shallow as that pairing is—at least there is some semblance of reasoning. They’re both powerful, and they’ve shared a long history together. It’s rabid shipper reasoning to be certain, but at least there’s a reason. Here it feels like Karen and Michael were two names randomly picked from a hat.

On the art side of things, I kind of like this new direction—on the pages that bother to have the same artist that is. The lines and colors somewhat remind me of the Amanda Conner run, though any comparisons between that series and this one will inevitable lead to more complaining on my part. So let’s move on.

Power Girl switching to her old costume, while raising yet more continuity conundrums—this time with the Super Girl series, is more welcome than I realized. Not sure why she wouldn’t switch back to her less revealing costume, nor am I sure why the relatively celibate pre-New 52 version would start off with the more revealing costume, while the New 52 promiscuity queen would cover up so much before switching over to her more revealing costume. Still, it is comforting that at least now she bears a superficial resemblance to the character I liked.

At least there is an attempt at giving Karen a reason for acting so counter character. Too bad it holds as much water as the explanation for why she shows so much cleavage.

Despite all my complaining this issue is actually one of the better ones. There really isn’t actually much focus on Karen’s…social life…and overall the story moves at a brisk pace with no filler—with the exception of the flashback to Huntress fighting Yakuza. Were it not for my obsessive nature this review would have been a lot shorter. The introduction of Desaad has shaken things up, and will give this series a new direction. Hopefully that direction will be in towards the old characterization of Power Girl, but we’ll have to wait and see. Like I’ve said before, I can’t grade based on potential, but the ending of this book gave me enough hope that I can’t help but feel more pleasant to the issue as a whole. I really do hope Worlds’ Finest continues to improve, and really the only major issues with this series is the mis-characterization of Power Girl. If that gets fixed the series as a whole would only benefit. This issue is enjoyable enough, inoffensive in the long run, and marks a possible changing point for the series as a whole. It’s certainly less offensive than other books have been, and with the quality I’ve seen the past few months that’s about the nicest thing I can say about this series.

The Grade

3/5

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