By: Paul Levitz (story), George Pérez (pencils), Scott Khoblish (inks), Kevin Maguire (art), Hi-Fi & Rosemary Cheetham (colors)
The Story: Japan is getting pretty sick of both destructive behemoths and nuclear crises.
The Review: Look, these are comics, and I will never demand that they obey the laws of physics or rules of behavior we live by in the real world. But comic book readers are real-world humans, so you can’t just let a story leap off the logic train altogether. Pseudo-science may drive actual scientists crazy, but when it’s well done and based off of some semblance of natural rules, then at least its falseness doesn’t take you out of the story’s believability.
I’m guessing Levitz doesn’t have the firmest grasp on scientific principles. I don’t either, which is why I feel very suited in saying this. At one point, Huntress claims that her “unnaturally high hereditary immunity to all sorts of poisons” will somehow shield her from the effects of being drenched in both radiation and (from the looks of it) fresh radioactive waste. Judging by my high school physics and chemistry scores alone, I’m an idiot when it comes to this kind of thing, but even I recognize how incredibly stupid—there really is no other word for it—Huntress’ words sound. And that’s really all it takes to pull the rug out from the whole story.
That may be all it takes, but Levitz brings many more. Towards the issue’s end, Kara bats Hakkou out of downtown Tokyo and into Tokyo Bay. Now, sending a massive, irradiated menace away from the city limits and its dense population is a pretty good idea—but now he’s swimming around the country’s waters, probably poisoning it all as we speak. Again, if Levitz hadn’t called so much attention to Hakkou’s radioactive nature (and if he hadn’t made us so aware of the dangers of radiation from Huntress’ earlier comments), you may never have given the scene a second thought. But instead, the thoughtlessness of the situation lingers with you.
On a related note, I have to imagine that Levitz wrote the scene with some sense of irony. It’s not really possible for him to depict Hakkou as a giant rampaging monster in Tokyo with total ignorance, right? Then again, Levitz is also obsessed with inflicting all kinds of radioactive threats upon a country whose real-world counterpart just recently had some bad experience with that kind of thing. I won’t call it bad taste, exactly, but it sure doesn’t look great.
Levitz’s seemingly thoughtless tack to writing unfortunately also applies to the human side to this storyline as much as the superheroics. In a way, I find Kara’s methods of coping to her new home amusing, a remark on her naturally fun-loving and impulsive nature. But I also find it troubling that with all the powers at her disposal (including, presumably, a big measure of advanced intellect), that she can find no way to accomplish her goals except by stealing (which, let’s be honest here, is what Helena did last issue) and shagging rich, smart dudes.
If Levitz really is writing this series as a kind of buddy comedy, then Pérez really doesn’t get it. That last page, with Kara and Helena reacting to a major crisis with some flippant remarks, is drawn with so much seriousness that it entirely lacks the impact to sell Levitz’s punchline. The reason why the flashback scenes work so much better and have more entertainment value is because Maguire allows so much personality and inner emotion from the women to come through that even a series of talking heads has rhythm and dynamic. Looking at Maguire’s version of the women, Kara’s playfulness and Helena’s sensibility has a ton of charm.
Conclusion: I think I have just enough patience to stand one more month of this, but unless the creators can change up their decades-old storytelling tactics, I don’t think I want to stick around.
- Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: - When an issue opens on a poorly constructed scene, it bodes ill. Helena shouts at Hakkou, “I don’t know what kind of glowing monster you are, or where you’re from—but I hurt you once, and I’ll do it again.” First of all, she’s standing right in front of Hakkou as she says this, her crossbow pointed straight at him—so nice going for a hero supposedly trained in the mastery of guerilla and shadow tactics. Second, way to announce exactly what you plan to do to your enemy so he can prep for it. Third, you’ve got some guts, letting your enemy know that you don’t know something about him.
Filed under: DC Comics, Reviews Tagged: | DC, DC Comics, Earth Two, George Pérez, Helena Wayne, Hi-Fi, Huntress, Kara Zor-El, Kevin Maguire, Paul Levitz, Power Girl, Rosemary Cheetham, Scott Khoblish, World's Finest #3, World's Finest #3 review, Worlds' Finest