STORY: Paul Levitz
ART: George Perez, Kevin Maguire, and Scott Koblish
I really, really wanted to like World’s Finest. In fact, for the first three issues, I gave the series a whole lot of leeway due to it’s grand scale and ambitious storyline that could have been great. Unfortunately, Paul Levitz squanders any good will he had with this finale to “Rebirth”, which carps around endlessly resulting in no real conclusion to an already struggling arc. What’s most upsetting is why this series has been tripping up so much: Levitz has been focusing so much on developing Karen Star and Helena Wayne, that he completely lost the plot in constant flashback sequences and “witty” banter between these two friends. It’s not often I criticize a writer for penning too much character development, but in the case of World’s Finest #4, four months of neglecting the plot comes to affront with painful results.
Since the first issue, the villain Hakkou has been terrorizing various scientific locations around the world, including Karen Star’s dimensional transporter and one of Michael Holt’s labs. It’s been assumed since his debut that Hakkou was a parademon, stranded on New Earth just like Power Girl and Huntress, after the war with Apokolips on Earth 2. As the final issue of “Rebirth”, it would only make sense that Hakkou’s origins would be locked down, or at least an explanation would be given for his radioactivity-absorbing powers. Apparently, Paul Levitz feels otherwise, instead opting to give no answers and no explanations. Huntress and Power Girl are still locked in a showdown with Hakkou in Tokyo Bay. Still. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but a four-issue arc shouldn’t spend two of those issues focused on one fight. And a pretty lazy, uninteresting one at that.
Seriously, nothing seems to be resolved this month. Every issue of World’s Finest thus far have included flashback sequences drawn by Kevin Maguire, jumping back a few months at a time to give more insight to the few years since their arrival on New Earth. Again, one would expect these time-jumps to be leading up to something, or at least to the current day, but one would be disappointed, yet again. If they don’t have a connection to the story, what is their purpose? Unfortunately, even though Kevin Maguire’s artwork is far superior to Perez’s dated style, he’s relegated to side-story, something I hope DC will change in the near future when Perez will inevitably move onto another series to make look like everyone has plastic surgery and awful 80s hairstyles.
Because Earth 2 has been so strong, I want to believe that World’s Finest will get better. Though, it may take some time to recuperate from this big letdown.