The ongoing comic book adventures of Earth 2's Supergirl and Robin (AKA Power Girl and Huntress, AKA Karen Starr and Helena Wayne) continues in DC Comics' "Worlds' Finest" as writer Paul Levitz and artists George Perez and Kevin Maguire pit the girls against radioactive monsters, a villain versed in using the Boom Tubes and their own counterparts on the main DC Universe Earth!
Launched with the Second Wave of New 52 comics, "Worlds' Finest" issue #1 saw Helena and Karen accidentally ripped from their home on Earth 2 and sent to the main New 52 Earth during a climactic battle against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips. Taking on the mantles of Power Girl and Huntress the two have spent the past five years growing up on the alternate world, Karen bent on creating technology that will bring them back home while Helena adapted to life on the new Earth.
Complicating matters are the existence of their main Earth counterparts, and while Karen has assiduously avoided the super family, issue #6 saw Helena coming face to face with her alternate reality self -- Damian Wayne, current Robin and permanent attitude problem.
Speaking to Comic Book Resources about his take on Bat "siblings" Helena and Damian, Levitz broke down the dynamics of his characters, his working relationship with artists Perez and Maguire, and though he kept mum on specific plot details he also looked ahead to the future of the title as Karen and Helena are poised to face more monsters, bad guys and the mysterious foe who has thus far stymied their attempts to go home!
CBR News: In the new arc that begins with "Worlds' Finest" #6 we see the Bat siblings meeting each other under, perhaps, not the best of circumstances…
Paul Levitz: Besides the fact that their parents are related but not the same thing, which makes it a little more complicated, they're very different people.
That's one of the things Helena commented on in the issue. For you, what's your take on Damian and the defining difference between the two?
Well, a piece of it is nature versus nurture. You have Helena being brought up in a very loving family with two very unusual parents with very different world views, but with a very powerful relationship. I was extraordinarily fond of the job Kevin [Maguire] did on the #0 issue. There's even a page of the original script that I bought off him because I thought the emotional moments he captured with Batman and Catwoman as they're arguing about her having taken their daughter out adventuring was such a beautiful relationship moment that I wanted that framed for my wall at home.
Damian on the other hand, may have Batman's genes, may have Talia's genes -- Talia's genes are another soup of various stuff! -- but he wasn't brought up in a loving environment. He's now getting some positive upbringing from Bruce, but it's a much colder way to grow up and I think that's a part of what creates the difference in dynamic between the two of them.
Like you said, Kevin did the #0 issue and put a lot of work into the facial expressions of the literal Bat family. In this issue he's tackling the Huntress side while George Perez did the Power Girl side -- is that a dynamic that will continue on with the book?
No, I think as long as they're the two primary guys we'll continue to bounce around based on what the structure of the story calls for. The next issue you still have fairly divided action between the two heroines for most of it as they continue the hunting down of what's been going on. Next issue we've got a lot of Karen in the Congo with child soldiers of Africa and you've got Helena in the arctic wastes. So you've got very different visual environments and we're playing with that.
Then we go to a story that is very focused on Helena and her being hunted rather than being the hunter, and then after that we're off to a story on Karen's little private island. We'll kind of see how the splits balance logically in each individual situation. But its two extraordinarily talented guys to be working with, I'm extraordinarily lucky!
In the last issue we saw Helena debating coming out and telling the truth about her origins to Batman and Damian -- do you think Karen will also start wanting to tell the truth, or at least stop avoiding Superman and Supergirl?
I don't think she's ready to hang out with any of that gang just yet. I think there's a different set of issues going on in her head, she's much more committed to "I have to get home."
Karen has a very different kind of burden [than Helena] because she was really focused and trained to be the secret weapon for her cousin, and then in watching him die she's arguably the most powerful being Earth has on its side on Earth 2. That's a heavy obligation. It's much easier for Helena to say, "I can save lives there, I can save lives here I'm not a big player in the battle wherever I am, so let me change a life one at a time."
And we saw that attitude in the more standalone issues before #6 where Helena was part of Take Back The Night.
Yeah, they're very different ladies. Not to categorize one as a better human being than the other but they just want different things out of life.
Along those lines, in the first issues the emphasis ping-ponged back and forth between Helena and how she's handling Earth and Karen and how she wants to go home. But this last issue Karen seemed to be having fun flying around while Helena is upset about the city and Not-Dad. Is there a role reversal in who wants to go home and who wants to stay?
That's an interesting question; I certainly think Karen's having a better time as a human being here while she's waiting. These are very young women and I don't think it's an unreasonable thing for them to be discovering themselves in the process.
Part of that discovery is discovering what you can accomplish, whether that's in career terms -- in their own idiosyncratic ways the role of the Huntress is basically a career choice that Helena is pursuing and this billionaire routine is a career choice that Karen's pursuing -- and at the same time it's a very appropriate age to be discovering things in your personal life.
We've learned a lot more about what's happened with Karen in that she's been a lot more out with it. We don't really know what's going on with Helena, if anything, in that. That's an interesting question and hopefully we'll explore somewhere down the line too.
All right, so at this point Hakkou destroyed Karen's quantum tunneler, we just saw her device being lasered off the satellite -- while you're doing individual stories with them fighting monsters and super villains in the next couple of issues, is this all still setting up for the villain using the Boom Tube? And will we see that come together soon?
If I do my job right, all the threads will finally come together! [Laughs]
"Worlds Finest" #7 goes on sale December 5.