Worlds' Finest #1

"Worlds' Finest" #1, in addition to having legendary creative talent filling the pages and incredibly popular characters running through said pages is also, inexplicably, saddled with the worst, most unimaginative cover logo in comics today. Just as unexplainable is the fact that Huntress' creators are acknowledged in the credits for this issue, but there is no reference to Power Girl's progenitors anywhere.

The story opens with the two ladies plotting out the next chapters in their respective lives. They happen to be in a restaurant in Japan and their conversation warrants the attention of some of the folks around them before Karen Starr receives a call about one of her local investments. Paul Levitz uses the first three pages of "Worlds' Finest" #1 to deftly identify the main characters and clearly define their voices and motivation. Rather an odd location to set a passport aflame, but it gets the story rolling forward.

George Perez draws thirteen pages, all set in the "current" timeline. The artwork is the superior, hyper-detailed, realistically-illustrated work we've all come to expect from Perez. It works wonderfully to set the background and visually define Karen Starr and the woman formerly known as Helena Bertinelli while making the world around them believable and nearly real. Huntress and Power Girl appear on the scene of a fire at a hi-tech research and development laboratory and it truly looks like a hi-tech lab. Granted, it's the over-the-top sort of tech that is currently only feasible in comic books, but that's what this is, right? Hi-Fi colors the details with utter brilliance and leaves nothing undone.

Kevin Maguire's seven pages of flashback span two worlds and roughly deliver the method of transport the two ladies experienced to become displaced from Earth 2. Maguire teams with Levitz to begin defining the ladies' adaptations to their new homeworld and draws up the made-to-order Kevin Maguire expressions. From heart-breaking despair to satisfied relief, Maguire is able to draw it all on the faces of the leading ladies, even throwing in some fast-paced action scenes. Rosemary Cheetham's colors add an emotional resonance to Maguire expressive figures. The purple hues of twilight and the heavy glare of explosions come into play over those pages thanks to Cheetham. There's a slight shift between the tones Hi-Fi uses and those Cheetham works with, but it is ever so slight and actually plays to the shift in time and memory.

There's a heavy borrowing and lending of storybeats, plots and character development presumed to follow between this title and "Earth 2." That's not all bad, mind you, as it weaves the fabric of the "new" DC Universe tighter, but it does leave me with the feeling that the story I'm reading here is incomplete. Yes, it is the first issue, I realize that. No, I don't expect it all to be played out in the first twenty pages of "Worlds' Finest," but reading across two references to "Earth 2" (issues #1 and #2) over that twenty-page span just leaves the overall story less than full.

That said, the story itself is wildly enjoyable and this book definitely moves up in my must-read list. Levitz writes to the strengths of both of his artists, who certainly deliver. Maguire and Perez draw beautiful, vibrant characters that are feminine and attractive, but not cheesecakey or anatomically malproportioned. Power Girl and Huntress are the characters this comic focuses on, but the rest of the world around them is well constructed and solid. Quite simply, this book is worth the money for the imagery alone. The actual words for the story are simply an added bonus.

Huntress and Power Girl might not be my favorite characters, but the creative team for this book sure doesn't care, they're doing more than enough to open up an enjoyable adventure of a pair of friends who only want to make things better. I'm all in for that.

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