Since both of these issues were released this week, and since they are a much anticipated crossover event, I’m going to review them both today. Look out for World’s Finest #20 in a couple of hours.
This is the first issue of Batman/Superman that I’ve picked up since it’s New 52 relaunch. The writing so far is pretty damn good, and I’m kind of in love with the artwork. Plus the dynamic between Superman and Batman is kind of fun in an odd-couple kind of way. Given the distrustful nature of the New 52 in general, and the relative newness of these characters and their relationships in this universe, I can definitely appreciate this. Plus the writing for Helena and Karen is fucking spot on for two twenty-something besties.
On to the comic.
We pick up with Huntress trapped in the Batcave by Batman. He surmises that she’s only about seventeen (<–WHAT?!) and is surprised because she moves like a Robin, which I guess is a thing. She tells him her story, that she’s his daughter from an alternate universe.
She tells him that everything was groovy until Darksaid appeared and rent shit asunder. She tells him that she’s certain that everyone has died.
Batman being Batman, he’s not particularly willing to believe her story right away, but then some cosmic type shit happens and he’s hit with an image of himself facing alternate versions of himself.
Not able to deal with feeling feelings, he does the only logical thing outside of eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and/or downing a fifth of scotch.
I imagine that daddy Bruce must have won a lot of teenaged arguments and gotten her to stick to a pretty regular bedtime that way.
He starts to look through his system and tries to make sense of her story in the context of his world and his experience, and she soon joins him because, let’s face it, she’s probably built up a hell of an immunity to all kinds of sedatives based on my assumptions of Batman’s parenting skills, particularly combined with Catwoman’s certain efforts to playfully undermine him at every turn.
She shows him surveillance and satellite footage of Power Girl and they aim to intercept her as her powers continue to go wonky. She asks if they’re going to call in Superman, since he and Batman are the World’s Finest drinking buddies.
He says that Superman is too reckless and that they shouldn’t tell him Jack shit. Huntress isn’t so fond of the mentality.
Karen overhears their whole conversation, even mid overpowered rampage and offers her friend some sage advice.
So, usually giving advice gleaned from movies isn’t the best idea, but it’s a totally legitimate genre to quote when your whole life is within the pages of a comic book. Either way, though, Helena’s not listening and Karen’s going ladyballs out crazy.
And just as disaster strikes and all seems lost, entre Superman to save a little brown boy and his dog from being turned to ashes… But not to provide food or shelter or water or medicine or to help provide any kind of economic support, of course. I mean, Batman could totally make that shit happen, but that’d make for a totally different comic and a for some reason less compelling hero.
But I digress.
Batman starts telling Superman what he needs to do and Helena gives Karen some directions as well, and both fucking Kryptonians flat out fucking ignore their Bat-Family counterparts.
The disaster averted, the crew sits Karen down and tries to figure out what to do next. Superman takes the lead here and once again dismisses Batman since he is, after all, a little bit of a douchebag.
After quoting Aladdin, he whisks her away to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, where there is an inexplicable outcropping of rock for them to sit on, and he urges her to relax. She lets out a massive ejection of energy and says that it felt like a huge sneeze or a really good cry.
While the Super-People explore their emotions, the Bat-People get their shit done. Huntress and Batman are able to nail down a place and a dude from which the stuff that’s causing PG’s meltdown is coming.
They head to this Asian country to infiltrate a fancy shindig being conveniently held at that exact moment and in the home and apparent lair of the evil Asian es-boyfriend. Enter Bruce Wayne, jet-setting billionaire playboy.
She causes a scene and slips away when their host tends to Bruce’s lightly dinged ego. She hacks into their computers and uncovers… Something. Basically, shit isn’t going to end well Karen the way that things are going. Superman overhears them.
They see that Karen is, apparently, going to detonate! Batman urges Superman to get away from her, that he shouldn’t be in her proximity when she blows. But he’s not about to let her go through this by herself because he’s Superman, and he’s actually acting like it in a New 52 book for once!
The Bat-People are helpless to watch as Superman once again dismisses their orders, and Karen is at risk of ‘sploding.
And this is how the issue ends! The both of them going kaflooey. A potentially TERRIBLE occurrence. What will our heroes do?! How will they get out of this one?!
Well… Just pick up the next issue, World’s Finest #20, since it also came out this week.
SPOILER ALERT: They’re fine. Solicits continue on through May, guys. Even if they die… This is comics.
Check back this evening for our review of World’s Finest #20 and the second chapter in the crossover event!
In this Annual, we get a glimpse into Karen and Helena’s lives back on Earth 2!
The issue opens up with Batman and Robin (remember, it’s Helena here) crashing through a ginormous window of a brothel operating in the heart of downtown Gotham. How this is a surprise when the window is literally an entire wall of the room and the room is full of prostitutes, I have no idea, but I guess they needed to have something for the heroes to leap through. The two of them make short work of the… Everyone in the room.
Helena calls Batman “Dad” and he scolds her for her inexperienced mistake, even as he leaves her alone to further investigate the brothel alone. Probably trolling, because, let’s be for realsies here. While alone in the main hall, Robin spots and stops a last woman as she flees, telling her that it’ll be alright. But this girl is in cahoots with one of the thugs who runs the joint, and the two make off after knocking Robin out, briefly.
Turns out, Batman didn’t actually leave her completely alone, and is instead observing her at a distance as she stalks through the brothel to bust whoremongers in different rooms, thus further proving that Batman is a super creepster. Helena takes out these goons more easily this time as she startles them and uses the element of surprise to disarm them via… Throwing knives RIGHT through the fucking hands. But, she does make short work of them, even as Batman internally criticizes her for a possible carelessness while simultaneously praising her mercilessness.
This part of the comic ends with Batman spotting Robin trying to force a girl to accept her help, and Batman says that that’s a job for the police and their future caseworkers, and that her next lesson is going to be about “The Stockholm Syndrom.”
A quick note to the writers: This kind of thing doesn’t usually happen because of “The Stockholm Syndrome,” if this was a sex trafficking operation. It’s usually because their captors get them hooked on drugs, so these bitches physically can’t leave. So… Keep that in mind for next time.
The next “Chapter” of this annual centres on Karen, as she writes in her diary about a huge mistake that she’s made. She recently snuck away to go to a bar in New York City, specifically, to be able to blend in so that she could practice flirting with guys.
She finally meets the right guy and they hit it off. Their conversation flows perfectly, they’re mutually attracted to each other, and they feel like they can open up to each other. The guy, “Ken,” reveals that he’s only in town for the duration of a “Worldgov” conference and will be going home the next day. She in turn, is about to tell him some big secret (gee, I wonder what it could be), when– .
She suits up, Kal’s “Secret Weapon” policy be damned, and rushes off to help. She saves who she can, she catches giant chunks of rubble from mid-air, she sees a woman fleeing the scene, but it too busy rescuing bitches to catch her, but shit keeps exploding, even as she accelerates. Ken rushes into the bathroom where he had told her to hide, but another explosion rocks the building. She calls out to him, saying that he shouldn’t go in, she’s not inside, but she is too late.
So, the thing that Karen is writing about in her diary is the fact that her disobeying Kal’s orders resulted in this boy dying. Hardly seems trivial. So, her current attitude of rowdiness and recklessness means… That she doesn’t learn lessons. Huh.
End Chapter Two.
Chapter Three is the final part, called “Three of a Kind?” with the Question Mark and everything. It looks like Karen went immediately over to her bestie, Helena, after Ken’s death. Karen laments his death, but the wording is kind of awful. More like she got dumped by a douchebag than a person losing his life.
So, Karen mentions the escapee and Helena latches right on to it, shifting into detective mode. Apparently, the culprit stood out… Because she was a Super. The two of them head back towards the scene, this time in costume. And even though Karen’s still supposed to be keeping it on the down low.
On the next page, we see Batman and Superman discussing the girls’ attitudes, and the impending arrival and subsequent attack of Apokolips. AND They have this fucking conversation is front of a large, open window, because, apparently, windows aren’t actually see-through on Earth 2. I mean, really, first the brothel, now fucking BATMAN?
Back at the scene of the blast, Karen uses her microscopic and different frequencies of vision to examine bits of tech and trace amounts of energy left in the area. They deduce that it’s not native to Earth, and that bits of it may very well be Apokolips technology in origin but, before they can reach any sort of conclusion, they are attacked.
The two battle and they seem to be a pretty even match, but the collateral damage of their fight leaves Robin under some rubble, and so Karen goes to save her. The mystery bitch escapes in the meantime.
We go back to the Batcave for a moment. Basically, Batman knows who the bomber was and was worried about her complicating matters.
So, the kids go on ahead and trace the villain by a radioactive signature, which is probably not a good idea for Robin, both because of her vulnerability and her VULNERABILITY.
Karen takes a swing at the exact moment that Robin chucks an anti-Parademon grenade at the villain, now called “Fury” (hello, again, ties to Apokolips?) but the former is stopped from finishing her off by the appearance of Wonder Woman.
While they fight, Fury escapes via poorly rendered BOOM Tube.
Also, there’s no real reason to include this next panel except that it really and truly bothers me.
Robin comes back to the still squared-off Supergirl and Wonder Woman, saying that Fury escaped through a portal, like a hole in the universe. Wonder Woman immediately asks if the killer is alright. When Robin asks why she should care, Wonder Woman reveals…
So… Okay. Looks like we get a little bit of a look into the characters before the events of the Earth 2 comic book series, but I don’t think that it really amounted to much. I mean, we didn’t really learn anything new about the girls or their relationships to their father figures. Mostly, it seemed like a set-up to bring in another villain (Fury) down the road.
And, ultimately, I suppose that this issue is supposed to lead us further into the next story arc, the one that I’ve been looking forward to, where the girls finally meet face to face with the Superman and Batman of Earth Prime.
Let’s hope it comes out awesome.
Because I’m dropping some books. But, more on that next time.