Review: Worlds’ Finest #27– Paul Levitz- Writer, Jed Dougherty- Penciller, Scott Hanna, Inker, Blond- Colorist.
This issue of Worlds’ Finest marks a major change in the title. We are no longer following the adventures of the displaced Power Girl and Huntress on the main DC Earth, but rather exploring the past histories of Superman and Batman from Earth 2. For many years in the pre-Crisis DC Universe, these characters teamed up in “Worlds’ Finest Comics.” There is a sense of appropriateness to this change in content, but an even nicer sense to the alternate Earth histories that are introduced in this issue.
The story is narrated by Lois Lane/ Red Tornado from the current Earth 2 comic and she is preserving what she believes to be the last testament of her Earth- this issue’s narration takes place after this week’s Earth 2: Worlds’ End #1. She begins with what seems to be a very familiar retelling of Superman’s origin, and while it contains the classic elements, it has some unexpected twists that make it different from what is commonly accepted as gospel. Levitz also connects the origin tale to the bigger story that is unfolding with the presence of an Apokoliptian on the soon to be destroyed Krypton. Batman’s origin focuses mainly on Thomas Wayne and his attempt to divest himself of his connections with the Falcone crime family. There is a connection to Alan Scott in the tale that reminds the reader of the original scope of the Earth 2 book when it first launched. Levitz has done a nice job of tying the pieces together to keep the book connected to Earth 2 and not let it slip into a retelling of an Elseworlds version of Superman and Batman’s beginnings.
This is a strong issue. It dovetails nicely with the current happenings in Earth 2 and the Worlds’ End weekly that also launched this week. The changes made to Superman’s origin are acceptable because this is not cannon. However, they are interesting and shed a different light on Earth 2’s Man of Steel. But the bottom line is that it works because it is not the main history, but rather an alternate version. The exploration of Thomas Wayne’s history is intriguing. It is a very different view of this character who has always been so revered in DC lore. But in this origin of Batman we see a man who changes his ways to be a better person, and one can’t help but think he is on the way to becoming the kind of man that the main Earth Thomas Wayne has always been.
Some may find the change from Power Girl/Huntress to Superman/Batman to be enough of a negative to drop this title. If the reader is only interested in those characters then there is little here for him or her. However, if the reader has an interest in the entirety of the Earth 2 concept then this will not be disappointing. There is a lot of history involved in this title, but the traditional origins are familiar enough to the casual reader that the changes will be interesting. The art at times seems a little clunky and awkward, the script is definitely stronger. The changes to Jor-El may be too much for some readers as Levitz paints him as the accidental villain in Krypton’s destruction.
Perhaps I’m just a sucker for the alternate versions of Superman and Batman, but I think this is a great first issue. It connects the characters back to the first issue of the Earth 2 title and gives greater insight into the world from which the previous main characters, Power Girl and Huntress, came. Levitz has enough exposition in Lois/Red Tornado’s introductory remarks that make it easy to jump right in to the story. This is a must for a fan of Earth 2 or any fan of mulitversal stories. Go buy it now! 4 ½ Daily Planets- 4 is not quite enough!