22nd Nov2019

‘Batwoman/Supergirl: World’s Finest Giant #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Various | Art by Various | Published by DC Comics

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For some reason I seem to be reviewing a lot of comics with female leads at the moment. Lois Lane, Mary Jane, Black Canary, the female Doctor (from Doctor Who), and now one of my personal favourites, Supergirl, and Batwoman. Which is nice. It’s nice because there is such a lot of stuff to choose from out there, and female characters are as likely to get chosen as any others. I remember getting laughed at back in the early 1980’s because I read Wonder Woman. Couldn’t understand why, as she was as iconic a character as Superman or Batman but, apparently, because she was a ‘girl’ she didn’t count. How times have changed, albeit after taking a several year detour through the Bad Girl T&A era of the 1990’s, which I’m willing to bet my house wasn’t aimed at encouraging female readership, more about giving teenage boys something else to lock themselves in their room with. But I digress.

It’s 2019, and we have a 84 page special featuring two of DC’s major female characters, Supergirl and Batwoman, and using one of DC’s most iconic titles, World’s Finest. So far, so good. For your money, you get 6 stories, one a team up of the two, and 3 Batwoman stories and 2 solo Supergirl stories. Three are brand new for this Giant issue (the Giants were formerly Walmart exclusive books, by the way), and three are reprinted from Batwoman:Rebirth, Supergirl:Rebirth, and Batwoman 0. I am assuming the book has been timed for now as both Supergirl and Batwoman have their own TV shows, and both will feature in the TV version of Crisis on Infinite Earths. So the time is right to give these characters a big PR push. Do the stories live up to the hype, though?

We kick off with ‘Sister, Sister’, by Margaret Stohl and Laura Braga, the big headlining team up. Against a background of plenty of banter, the two team up for the first time to try and recover a powerful alien weapon that has fallen into the hands of the Religion of Crime. Stohl gets good mileage out of the difference in modus operandi between the two, street level crime fighter meets alien superhero, and the age difference and character differences too. I must say though, Batwoman just comes over as irritating at times. They reluctantly team up, as Supergirl wants the alien weapon, and Batwoman wants to take down the Religion of Crime. It’s pretty routine, though the background flashbacks on both are interesting, and the identity of the main villain is a surprise.

Next up is a new Batwoman story, ‘Faceless’ by Sanya Anwar and Chad Hardin, which has her back in her natural element, fighting Black Mask and defeating one of his typically nasty schemes. Short and sweet. Not Black Mask of course, the story. It’s decent enough. Supergirl’s up to bat next with ‘Exit Interview’ by Andrea Shea and Mike Norton, and this one I really did enjoy. Nicely written, this gently pokes fun at the constant battle a superhero with a secret identity has, to both hold down a job and fight bad guys, but at the same time not neglect either. Kara gets fired because of this, with lots of little nice in-jokes along the way. Kara has a nice little heart to heart with Superman, sitting atop the Daily Planet globe (I’m just loving this stuff), pouring her heart out. One pep talk later, Kara Danvers is now the newest employee at STAR Labs. Nice little tale, with pitch perfect characterisation.

The latter three stories are the reprints, but all are excellent ones that certainly deserve a second reading. ‘Looking Glass’ by Marguerite Bennett& James Tynion IV is excellent, and features superb art by Steve Epting, with lovely moody colours by Jeromy Cox. We get a look at Kate Kane’s past, from childhood to the present, the tragedies that shaped her, and understand why she has the right to use the symbol of the Bat. Like Bruce, she has suffered terrible loss, and worked hard to fight back against the bad. Not having read this before, it’s the best Batwoman thing I’ve read, and a great starting point for people new to the character. Next is the reprint of Supergirl’s ‘Brainiac Part One’, by Steve Orlando and Emanuela Lupacchino. which was ok but had nothing too special about it. It threw a whole lot of stuff in there, showing the link between Argo City and Kara’s past, and Earth and Kara’s present. Nice ending though.

We finish up with ‘Beyond A Shadow’, written and drawn by J.H Williams (with writing assist by W. Haden Blackman). The art for this is ridiculously good, though the storytelling a little confusing. It’s an interesting format to try, telling two stories at once, but the detailed art at times leads to confusion. Ultimately, Batman’s surveillance confirms her secret identity, that’s all you need to know. So, six very different stories, but all with their own look and feel. My personal favourites were ‘Exit Interview’, for its obvious affection for Kal and Kara, and ‘Looking Glass’, with beautiful Epting art and excellent writing.

This Giant is both great value, considering the page count, and great entertainment. It’s especially worth seeking out if you want to learn a little extra about both characters. You could say its ‘super’ and you’d be ‘bats’ to miss it.

Or maybe not.

It’s good, check it out.

**** 4/5

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