One of the series I had really been looking forward to reading when it was first announced twelve issues ago was WORLDS' FINEST. The book, which launched following the conclusion of the six-issue HUNTRESS series, brought Helena Wayne and Karen Starr together in a single series, making them the new "dynamic duo," so-to-speak. Unfortunately for it, the series got out to a very slow start and felt very disconnected from the rest of DC's New 52 universe (something that didn't make a whole lot of sense). The series has since improved (at least the most recent issue of the series), so how can we ensure that the quality of the book remains the same, or better yet, improves? What needs to happen to keep readers coming back to this series?
If you tuned in to the Comic Vine podcast last Friday you might recall that at one point the discussion turned to the recent events of WORLDS' FINEST, the DC Comics series that focuses on the adventures of Power Girl and the Huntress. On the cover of the most recent issue (#12) readers are given a look at PG's new (old) costume: the classic white one piece, red cape and knee-high blue boots. The outfit is iconic, and it is one of the most recognizable costumes for comic fans, period, but why was Power Girl wearing it again? When the heck did this happen? Between the three of us, Tony, Corey and I completely missed the part where PG got a costume change in SUPERGIRL #19 (I blame the fact that I was in Europe the week of its release, not that that's an excuse) but still, shame on us for having missed that change. Then again, why would a change like that happen in SUPERGIRL and not in Power Girl's own series, WORLDS' FINEST?
You might recall that Power Girl's costume is among the many things that went out the window (no pun intended) with the relaunch of the New 52, and for fans of the character, that was something of a mistake on the part of editorial. Power Girl's classic costume is recognizable, and she had been wearing a version of that costume when she was first introduced to readers in ALL STAR COMICS #58 - ALL STAR SUPER SQUAD. However, when the character was re-introduced as Power Girl, she was given a completely different look: a full white body suit (that was gradually removed or burned away in nearly every issue --something that desperately needs to stop). A big change like the return of Power Girl's classic costume should have perhaps been something that happened in WORLDS' FINEST and not in SUPERGIRL. And although the character did don it in the latest issue of her series (issue #12), there did not seem to be any explanation for the change having taken place in the series. Will this alteration made to her costume be something that sticks? It might be for the best according to PG fans, but hopefully this costume won't burn away in every issue like the last one did.
One of the best issues of this series is one that we've previously praised, and that is WORLDS' FINEST #0. In it, the backstory of Helena is explored a bit and readers saw flashbacks of the relationship she had with both of her parents, something that could be explored even further if the creative team for this series really wanted to. And while we won't delve into the specifics of why this was a particularly good issue, I think what we can really take away from it is the fact that it explores in greater depth these characters that are both known and unknown to readers. In a sense, many of us have grown up with both Helena and Karen, but not with these versions of their characters and therefore we barely know them. This is why exploring their respective pasts is not only a good way to better acquaint readers with who they are now, but it is also something that connects these characters to the present DC Universe as a whole, something that this series had been seriously lacking for quite a while.
The relationship between Catwoman, Batman and Huntress isn't the only one that can be explored in greater depth, either. In issue #11 of WORLDS' FINEST we saw the reunion between Power Girl and Michael Holt, Mr. Terrific. The two characters were romantically linked prior to the launch of the WORLDS' FINEST series in Mr. Terrific's self-titled book and although the interaction between these two characters was important to the plot in MR. TERRIFIC, it isn't something that was touched on until very recently. While brief, the relationship between these two characters is important to the plot because it connects Power Girl to the rest of the DC Universe. How did she feel about the relationship? Was she (and is she) distraught over the fact that she and Michael are no longer together, and, how does that affect her as a character in the grand scheme of things? This is something that could very easily be explored, and hopefully in the coming issues writer Paul Levitz will take the time to delve into some of these issues.
Although this series is set in DC's current regular universe, these two ladies are actually heroes from EARTH 2, and that's something that sort of complicates things. As a result, this series has left these characters stuck somewhere between the two earths without a clear place in the current universe. In a sense, it sort of feels as though readers of WORLDS' FINEST are just waiting for the creative team to either make these two ladies a part of DC's regular universe, or ship them back to Earth 2. Neither of which (until very recently), has really happened. So what needs to be done? These characters need to be solidified into the current universe, which isn't something impossible to do. In fact, it's something that has already sort of started: showcasing the interaction between Damian and Huntress in issue # was a good start, and we've seen a continuation of that by featuring a Power Girl in the current Supergirl series. Now, I don't usually ask for more cross-overs, but in the case of this series I don't think that would be such a bad idea.
Needless to say, the last couple of issues of this series has improved dramatically, although it can still be better than it is. In order to keep this series on the right track the creative team needs to determine where these characters reside in the current DC Universe, what the goals of these characters are in general. What do you think of the current WORLDS' FINEST series? What would you like to see happen to these characters (Huntress and Power Girl)?