After a year of delivering consistently stunning art for this title, Sami Basri's presence is definitely missed in this issue of "Power Girl," as Karen Starr and Bruce Wayne begin to collaborate in their philanthropical efforts. While Basri does deliver the cover artwork, the interiors drawn by Hendry Prasetya don't have the same visual pop and polish as Basri's. Prasetya does a good job with the storytelling and the detail of this story, and even appears to be trying to maintain many of Basri's style choices and sensibilities, but the overall look is just a little bit flatter than Basri. Prasetya's a good fill-in from the bench, but I certainly hope we get our starter back.
After all, Basri has been working hand-in-hand with Judd Winick to make Power Girl's world more evolved, more full, and more, well, real. This issue, like many of Winick's to this point, continues to build - and develop - the world around Power Girl. No longer just a second-stringer on the JSA, Power Girl is undoubtedly her own character and her stature in this book is continuously elevated. The supporting cast building around her, the foes she is gathering as a loose rogues gallery, and the avenues her business are growing into help make her unique and identifiable beyond her physical attributes.
This issue sees the expansion of Starrware from research into other venues. The aforementioned research has mandated the assignment of a National Security Agent in the form of Marcus Teman. This assignment, naturally, infuriates Power Girl and allows Winick to put us in the Batcave as Kara vents her spleen to Batman in a scene that illustrates just how human this Kryptonian truly is.
Winick doesn't simply drive this book with a simple plot for the entire issue. While this issue does have a strong focus on the professional life of Karen Starr, there are other threads weaving through this book. One of those threads comes in the shape of Rayhan Mazin, a Quraci-born American citizen who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets slapped with a racial profile, and desperately tries to use reason to appeal to his oppressors. I found this segment to be quite strong, despite the clicheness of its set-up. Mazin seems like a character that has some degree of potential in the DCU, I just hope Winick is given the chance to explore it a little bit.
"Power Girl" continues to deliver comic book goodness month in and month out. Even when the art isn't to the high standard that I've come to expect from this book, the book still succeeds. I review a few books month in and month out, almost to the point of losing my way between what I like, what I want to read, and what really should be reviewed for the greater good. I can with utmost confidence say that "Power Girl" is one of a very select handful of books that I would still be reading independent of my review work.