DC comics has revealed details for their second wave of comics to come out of the rebooted new 52, and a handful of titles promise the return of some fan favorite characters as well as the presentation of female characters in the fore-front. Namely in the former of Ravagers, featuring a new Terra and Beast Boy; and Worlds’ Finest, a title that used to be about Batman and Superman (it also used to be World’s Finest, a feat of punctuational distinction that excites your humble editor), is now housing the triumphant return of Powergirl and The Huntress to the DC Universe.
A new group called the Ravagers is set to hit stands in May following a crossover event called “The Culling,” and it boasts a multitude of revamped classic teen heroes, as well as the introduction of some new ones. Spinning out of the pages of Teen Titans, Legion Lost, and Superboy, the series will focus on the escaped prisoners of the shadowy organization called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and how they will band together to come to terms with the traumatic experiences they faced while imprisoned, and move forward with their lives. Leading this motley team is Caitlyn Fairchild, of former Gen13 fame, who has been recently seen under the mousy guise of “Red” in issues of Superboy alongside Rose Wilson, who will also play a pivotal role in Ravagers. Joining them will be a rotating cycle of characters. Included in the first issue, we will see a new iteration of the Thunder and Lightning team, with the sibling duo now brother and sister, as opposed to brothers as we have previously seen them. We are also introduced to yet another new Terra, however this one is meant to be the original Tara Markov, albeit with a new look and updated powers. Rounding out the team is Beast Boy, who now sports red fur to reflect the events occurring in the current Animal Man and Swamp Thing comics, and a new monstrous creature named Ridge, who possesses the appearance of alien Armadillo.
A few issues arise looking at the cover of the first issue, namely in regards to the choice in costumes. Fairchild appears to be wearing nothing except her underwear, and the rest of the team look like rejects from Tron: Legacy. Given that the suits being seen are nearly identical to that currently being worn by Superboy, one can assume that they are standard N.O.W.H.E.R.E. issued garb, and are essentially prison uniforms that will be discarded once the characters obtain freedom. In regards to Caitlyn being in her skivvies, let’s just assume she had to “hulk out” of her civilian/scientist attire in a fashion similar to what we have recently seen in Superboy, and hope she’ll return to an outfit similar to what we saw in Wildstorm’s Worldstorm (Also, we can lose the exposed midriff; the 90s are over.)
Another title set for release in the second wave is Worlds’ Finest (top pic), which focuses on the characters of Power Girl and Huntress, bringing them back to their Pre-Crisis roots on Earth 2, where Helena Wayne is Robin, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, and Karen Starr is the Supergirl of that world. The story follows how the two heroines have been transported to the world of the new 52 (New Earth? Earth 52?) and how they have to adapt to fit in, while attempting to try to find their way home.
The most notable change in this new book is not the characters’ backstories, but instead the change in Power Girl’s costume; specifically the removal of the infamous “Boob window.” Although some fans may mourn the loss of one of the biggest cheesecake factors in comics, the removal of the “Boob window” is a step in the right direction for Power Girl, female superheroes, and the comic industry in general. In the past, the “Boob window” had sadly become the most distinguishing aspect of a great character who has had a rich history, strong connections within the DCU, and unique motivations. It’s removal now allows Power Girl’s character to evolve and grow while being taken seriously, and helps show that women in comics are meant to be realistic, three dimensional characters, not over sexualized eye candy.
Power Girl’s new costume has some very positive aspects, but also possesses problems of its own. The costume covers the previously fabric-less area with a Kryptonian-esque shield meant to reference Power Girl’s connection to Superman, while simultaneously giving Power Girl a symbol of her own. She retains her red cape and classic white leotard, but trades sleeves for pant legs, and replaces her blue gloves and boots for golden ones. Although this overall color scheme and presentation is aesthetically appealing, it is less than iconic or unique, especially since it looks like she simply raided Supreme’s closet, and slapped a “P” on the front.
Going hand-in-hand with the release of Worlds’ Finest is the much anticipated title Earth 2, which has been anticipated to be where we would find blatantly missing Justice Society. However, all that has been revealed thus far is an alternate cover to the first issue which has new rumors buzzing that the Batman and Wonder Woman presented on the cover are none other than Dick Grayson, and the missing Donna Troy. Speculation delves even further into who the young Superman is, whether he is Conner Kent, Mon-el, or some son of Clark. How closely Worlds’ Finest will tie-in to Earth 2 has yet to be seen, but the potential for a Power Girl, Huntress, Donna Troy team-up sounds too good to be true.
– Ravagers picture Clockwise from bottom: (Caitlyn Fairchild, Thunder, Terra, Ridge, Lightning, Beast Boy)
Christopher Holden blogs here.