Saturday, October 27, 2012

Face-Off: Earth-2's World's Finest Legacies

Doug:  Yesterday we took a look at the first appearance of Power Girl, Earth-2's version of Supergirl.  Today's question is pretty simple -- who did you like better in the Bronze Age:  Power Girl or the Huntress?  And, if you are so knowledgeable, you can fill some of us in on their exploits in modern over-priced and poorly drawn comic books.


Dougie said...

The Huntress was fascinating because she was the daughter of Catwoman. That gave her the edge over Babs Gordon. I used to buy Wonder Woman largely for the Levitz/Staton back-up feature. Then the Huntress died in the Crisis and was replaced a couple of years later by the Mafia Princess version. Never warmed to her, although Staton had successfully modernised her look for the 80s.

I was aware of the second Huntress casing in on the Bad Girls trend of the 90s. But without the Wayne connection, she wasn't that different from other vigilantes.

I read the first issue of New 52 Worlds' Finest. Unhappily, I found the combination of Levitz and Perez a bit stale. Also, Power Girl had picked up another unflattering costume.

Unknown said...

I liked them both, but Power Girl might have the edge just a bit. After all, she got to be illustrated by Wally Wood! When I was a kid, I thought that these two characters were ingenious utilizations of the possibilites that Earth-2 offered. Batman & Catwoman's daughter? A Kara Zor-El doppleganger who developed a divergent personality? Who wouldn't be intrigued.

Do we trace the antecedents for these characters back to Schwartz/Fox's original conception of a parallel earth where characters aged naturally? That could be true, but I've always thought that the introduction of a grown-up Robin in the mid-60's was the real point of departure. When I saw him in one of those JLA/JSA teamups int he early 70's, my mind started swimming. That's when I realized that Earth-2 is like a blank slate where you can try any number of things that were verboten to Earth-1 (not that I could have articulated that when I was 7 or 8).

I'll go with Power Girl. Much as I like the Huntress, it was the ideas behind her, more so than the execution, that resonated. Power Girl had a very distinctive personality from the beginning.

These two characters demonstrate the folly of Crisis on Infinite Earths perfectly. How do you make them interesting when they are divorced from their point of origin? I'm kind of glad that I stopped following comics around then. The glimpses of the terrible costume make-overs, and rumors of ever-more-convoluted origins were just too depressing for me. I'll take the circle on the chest over the headband any day.

The original Earth-2 lives!
James Chaterton

Edo Bosnar said...

Like them both, too, almost to the point where I really can't decide, but I'll say Huntress gets a slight edge for me, just because I liked those few stories I read which were drawn by Joe Staton - he really owned that character.
Can't say I've read any of their post-Crisis appearances, so I can't comment there. James makes a great point about exploiting the possibilities of Earth-2; it wasn't until Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway created Infinity, Inc. that someone at DC really took advantage of those possibilities.

Garett said...

I'll go with Huntress. Love that Staton cover! I agree it was the Earth-2 Batman/Catwoman connection that made her special, along with her sleek outfit.

I know I've browsed through comics featuring Power Girl and Huntress in the last decade, but I can't remember anything about them. Huntress was in Batman Hush riding a motorbike.

Tony said...

I never really understood Power Girl, but I love her costume. I was always more of a Batman and BAtman family fan, so I'll take the Huntress
(Helena Wayne the one and only)

Andreas Krauß said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andreas Krauß said...

Who do I like better: Power Girl or The hard-Hitting Huntress?

Well that particular laurel just has to got to The Huntress. She always was one of the strongest female characters in all of comics. In fact, she outclassed even Wonder Woman herself. At least where complexity of personality is concerned.

Only the Sixties' Saturn Girl, Chris Claremont's Storm, Iron Butterfly, Paul Levitz' version of Princess Projectra/Sensor Girl and maybe the original Spider-Woman can equal Helena Wayne in that regard.

As for Power Girl, I never even liked her much. Albeit when first I discovered her in September 1980 (in my third-ever super-hero comic book, which translated that faulty, old JLA/JSA/LSH team-up), I kinda liked her gauntlets - they made her look more awesome, you know? -, her hairdo and the fact that her cape was blue and was fastened to her shoulders with golden clasps.

But aside from parts of her costume, she left me cold. Every time I read about her, she came over as such a walking cliche. A mere tool to manipulate the reader.

In the Seventies (where she originated), every woman wanted to be "liberated". This usually meant that they were loud, stupid, nasty and boring toward males.

So what happened when Power Girl was introduced? She behaved herself loud, stupid and very nasty: at one time, in her second or third appearance, she forced her "help" on the unwilling JSA (despite Wildcat's protests, she even entered the HQ, despite the fact that she clearly wasn't welcome).

And over the next few years, she would continue to show off just how how nasty a "liberated" woman can be, culminating in her physical assaults her "friends" in the JSA: Wildcat on one occasion, the Star-Spangled Kid on another.

She was also extremely arrogant toward Firestorm, wanted to bed the other-Earth counterpart of her own cousin Superman, and she constantly tried to talk The Huntress out of her relationship with that DA.

And she was quite nasty to Superman when he wanted to give her a gift. What can we say? She was... liberated, you know?

But so was The Huntress. So was The Black Canary. So was Spider-Woman. So was Ms. Marvel. So was Medusa. So were The Wasp, The Black Widdow, The Valkyry, Batgirl, the Harlequin, The Savage She-Hulk, Red Sonja, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Mary Jane and too many others to count.

Which meant that Power Girl was just another "me too!" character who wanted to ride the PC wave of feminism. But she was much nastier than the other females while doing it. And, boy, was she boring.

And of course, Power Girl's problems only start with being an unoriginal, Supergirl-derivative character with an unoriginal, PC-derivated personality.

Let's just say, the last time I looked at her (in the 2011s DC comics), she still was a cheap tramp who liked to bleed attention from the readers by showing us her boobs, which she did by wearing a costume with a hole over a certain key part of her anatomy.

So, while Helena Wayne, the Huntress, is pure gold, Power Girl is trash in its purest form.

Yeah, Huntress. You win this one. It wasn't even a contest.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Huntress seems to be winning out here and I give her the edge too, though I really like both characters. They were just so much more interesting than Supergirl and Batgirl.

For me the tipping point is the Paul Levitz/Joe Staton Huntress stories that ran as a back-up feature in Wonder Woman. They were collected a while back in a tpb called Darknight Daughter, which I highly recommend. Edo is right: she really shined when drawn by Staton. It's a pity she never got her own ongoing series.

Power Girl never had a showcase as good.

As to the post-Crisis changes to the characters... grrr, don't get me started. I bought the first few issues of the Huntress series and quickly lost interest. The changes to Power Girl in Justice League were risible. And then... aww, better stop before I start ranting.

Andreas Krauß said...

Yeah, you need Station and Levitz (or at at least Levitz)on The Huntress. They're the only ones who really "get" Helena Wayne.

Even though Perez did a good job on taking Helena's custom of only wearing clothing in dark and light purple (with a touch of pink and light blue), and Gary Conway did a good job at showing us Helena's professional yet independent side, those were second goods at best, since neither was The Huntress ever so strikingly beautiful as Perez drew her, nor was she ever as aggressively liberated as she was depicted by Conway.

And all other writers were much worser than Conway: especially Narv Wolfman (usually my favorite writer), who depicted Helena as an emotional wreck in the wake of the CRISIS retcon wave, when her very past had been utterly erased.

And while that reaction of Helena's was quite reasonable, it nonetheless totally contradicted all of her past characterization, which showed her as being maybe the strong-willest woman on any earth. She wouldn't have ended up a trauma victim shortly before she died; she's too strong for that

Am I the only one who wonders how it comes that Captain Marvel, Power Girl, Bullet Girl, Hawkgirl, Mary Marvel and the Phantom Lady were totally well-adjusted when they found out that their very universes had been nullified forever, yet Helena Wayne was a sobbing heap when she found it out?

Hoosier X said...

Power Girl had a solo series recently (2009 to 2011) that lasted 27 issues. I have very much enjoyed it lately. (I didn't start buying it until a few months ago.) I have all but 4 of them, and I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy these when they were new.

Especially the first year or so, with art by Amanda Conner!

Around the same time (maybe a little earlier) the Huntress was appearing in the back of Detective co-starring with The Question (Renee Montoya) in a multi-part saga called Pipeline. I liked that a lot, too, but it did get WEIRD at the end. Good weird. I think.

The current "World's Finest" series has very nice art and a lot of potential, but the first storyline just went on TOO LONG and Power Girl's new outfit is BLOODY AWFUL!

My favorite? No contest. Sorry, Helena, my heart belongs to Power Girl.

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