The Batman/Superman & Worlds’ Finest 4-part crossover event continues and, in my opinion, takes a nose-dive in quality. It might be a good time to eject, float gently to the ground knowing you saved a few bucks, and fly with Batman/Superman again when the title embarks on a different adventure.
NOTE: You will need to read Batman/Superman #8 before you read this comic. In fact, it’s probably best to read Worlds’ Finest #19 and then Batman/Superman #8!
We were on the verge of disaster when Part I of “First Contact” ended, but from the first page of Worlds’ Finest #20 it looks as though things have turned out okay… more or less. The world didn’t end, but now instead of Power Girl ready to spontaneously combust, The Man of Steel is now the one we have to worry about. Somehow a villain from WildStorm Comics named Kaizen Gamorra is responsible and our four heroes need to act fast. Although Batman and Huntress have the most interesting dynamic (Huntress is the daughter of Earth 2 Batman) and they’ve already proven to be an effective team (they deduced the bad guy was Kaizen Gamorra in like… not time at all) we’re now splitting up into teams of Batman/Power Girl and Superman/Huntress for the sake of variety.
We do get a panel or two in which there is some genuine emotion as Huntress is awe-struck by seeing (what appears to be) her long lost father, but it doesn’t last and the comic focuses more on humor, action, and references to Worlds’ Finest Annual #1. Leaving editor’s notes for folks to go out and buy an over-sized (and over-priced) oneshot doesn’t seem like the best strategy to employ right now when this is a golden opportunity to introduce new readers to your book. If anything it’s highly frustrating.
Batman and Power Girl get the most “screen-time,” but I honestly found Power Girl to be somewhat annoying in how arrogant she behaved toward Batman and how naive she behaved toward our villain.
The worst aspect of the book would have to be its artwork, shared between Scott McDaniel (breakdwons), RB Silva (pencils), and Joe Weems (inks). It’s one of the most wildly inconsistent pieces I’ve reviewed in some time. Every once in a while there’s a panel that looks so nicely rendered and presented in such a fun style that you’d swear it was drawn by Kenneth Rocafort, but then there’s the other 80% where characters fluctuate in size from scene to scene or showcase the most bizarre facial expressions. A cross-eyed Superman even makes an appearance. It will definitely make for a jarring experience when this cross-over goes to trade and our eyes have to make the transition from Jae Lee’s painted, 2D style to this mess and then back again. Kaizen Gamorra, our villain, is almost unrecognizable compared to how he was drawn in Part I by Jae Lee.
To top it all off, the comic ends with Superman and Huntress in one of the most lackluster “cliffhangers” I’ve seen. I literally said “That’s it?” when I finished reading this one. This didn’t make me want to read more of Worlds’ Finest. It didn’t even make me want to read more of “First Contact.” I like that DC was going for such a short 4-part crossover, but it seems to be falling on its face. “First Contact” needs a better villain and it needs to make the first encounter of these four characters more meaningful. They’re from two different universes, for crying out loud. Where’s the sense of wonder we saw in Batman/Superman‘s opening arc?
- Worlds’ Finest is a series you love
- Kaizen Gamorra is a villain you’re intrigued by
- You need to own every chapter of the “First Contact” crossover
- You have read Worlds’ Finest Annual #1
Unless you’re dead-set on completing the entire “First Contact” saga, I would suggest skipping this. The premise of Power Girl and Superman’s powers spinning out of control isn’t that compelling and the artwork in this issue gets quite messy.