Worlds' Finest will cross over with Batman/Superman this winter as Batman and Superman find out that Huntress and Power Girl are not only from Earth 2, but also that they are "alternate world" family.
Paul Levitz, writer on Worlds' Finest, will team with Batman/Superman writer Greg Pak, to tell the story of how Huntress, who is Batman's daughter on another world, and Power Girl, who is Kal-El's cousin on Earth 2, not only reveal themselves to the heroes, but end up on an adventure with them.
The two-month crossover story begins with January's Worlds' Finest #19, when DC's promotional copy says "desperate times call for desperate measures," leading Power Girl and Huntress to reveal their true origins to Superman and Batman.
Newsarama talked to Levitz to find out more about the reveal, when he told us about the crossover and the way it changes the series going forward.
Newsarama: Paul, this is a huge moment coming up in Worlds' Finest. Did you know all along that this was coming, even when you started the title more than two years ago?
Paul Levitz: Well, you know that it's going to come in some fashion or another. We didn't have an immutable battle plan two years ago. You know, it's going to go this many months and then we're going to do it. Because it all ties to other pieces in the DC Universe that go way beyond my control or even awareness.
But we've been thinking about it since the beginning, and certainly there was the moment after Damian's death where Huntress came close to the meeting with Batman, and all of that, and started building up the list of… what's going to be strange about this? He kind of smells like your father, except he's your age, practically? There are a lot of things that come into play, and those have been building over time.
Nrama: You said that this ties to other pieces in the DC Universe. So does this "reveal" affect the rest of the DC universe? And more specifically, does it affect Batman and Superman and maybe even other DC titles featuring them?
Levitz: It does! And the fun thing is that this all cues into two months of crossover with Batman/Superman.
Nrama: So Worlds' Finest is crossing over for two months with Superman/Batman?
Levitz: Yeah, and it's been a great deal of fun playing with Greg Pak, working out how to do all of that.
[When we started Worlds' Finest] we knew that Batman and Superman would find out, but "where will that happen" and "why will that happen" became specific to this opportunity.
So we're figuring out what exactly is going to happen with all these pieces. And I think we've got some fun things that will roll out through the story, and there will be some surprising character moments as a result.
Nrama: For Huntress and Power Girl, as they finally reveal themselves to Batman and Superman, does it help that they have watched them from afar a little bit? Is it easier for them to approach these two?
Levitz: It's certainly better than it would have been five years ago. They're more comfortable with themselves, more confident in themselves.
Nrama: That's true. You've shown that they've evolved quite a bit.
Levitz: Yeah, it's one thing to be essentially a runaway kid at age 16 or 17, or whatever age they were when they got here, and it's another to be an accomplished person in your 20's dealing with the situation.
They've also had the five years to observe that the Earth heroes are genuine heroes, and admirable creatures. They've been able to watch all the media through all of it, and whatever other contact they may have quietly had.
So I think, yeah, you're right — all of that certainly helps.
But it's still weird as hell.
Nrama: I'm sure! Probably even more weird for Batman and Superman than for the women.
Levitz: Yeah, because they aren't prepared. They haven't had five years of thinking about this moment.
Nrama: Is it difficult to write that, when the readers know so much at this point about Earth 2 and Power Girl and Huntress being here. Is it difficult to portray the surprise of that moment?
Levitz: Well, most of those pages haven't been written yet, so… [laughs]
Nrama: [Laughs.] We'll see, huh?
Levitz: I hope not!
Nrama: I can remember talking to Grant Morrison about portraying a young Superman, and he said it was challenging to convey how strange this alien was to the world, because everyone in our world knows him so well. So I would assume you have to really go into the mindset of these two men not knowing anything about these other worlds.
Levitz: If we do it right, you're creating the moment that tells the story, rather than the giant thought balloon, or the giant voiceover narration that says, "Oh my God! He's only three years older than I am" or whatever.
It's like an image from Kevin Maguire, from one of the pages from Worlds' Finest #0 that I was particularly fond of, where Kevin's so good at doing expressions, that we just had the young Helena shrinking in embarrassment as her parents are kissing behind her. You get a moment like that, you're explaining the character without anybody saying anything. You're explaining that Bruce and Selina love each other, care about each other, and both love the daughter, yet see the world a little differently from her.
So if we can do that with this moment — and Greg is certainly a good writer, and a hotter writer these days than I am — so one would hope we'll have something we can contribute to that process.
Nrama: So Worlds' Finest #19 leads directly into the crossover with Batman/Superman?
Nrama: And you're saying that Greg is helping to write that moment. Does that mean issue #19 is only part of the process of their reveal?
Levitz: You have a moment [in Worlds' Finest #19] with Huntress and Batman encountering each other, because that's the cover scene. And that's a gateway into that story.
Nrama: But the crossover, I assume, is not just about them talking to each other. There's a conflict in the midst of this "reveal?"
Levitz: Of course! But we're not quite ready to reveal the details of the story right now.
Nrama: Let's back up and talk about what's coming between now and that moment of the reveal. Power Girl and Huntress are currently at a particularly challenging point. What's going on with Karen's powers? Is that the challenge that leads to this reveal?
Levitz: It's one of many challenges she's facing. She's gone through losses both in her private life, with the whole raid on Starr Industries by Desaad in the Michael Holt guise, and obviously in her heroic life. So she's been battered from a bunch of directions in the last year.
You know, there's a lovely moment, I think, in one of the upcoming issues when she decides what her powers need is a recharge, so she spends her money to get a space flight — there are space tours available — and they take her up to the upper atmosphere so she can do some sunbathing. Of course, the pilot of the ship is a little confused by why exactly she's taking off her spacesuit.
And the sunbathing does not work out particularly well, unfortunately.
But she's not the kind of person who's ever going to give up or slow down very much because of that. But it gets a little bit more challenging, desperate, and maybe a little more frustrating for her buddy, who's got a more pragmatic way of dealing with these things.
Nrama: Is Huntress also at a place of being desperate in her own life? Or is their reasoning for the Batman/Superman reveal more about Power Girl?
Levitz: It's not so much in her own life, but this is her friend and her partner, and falling into the top of a tree she the Krypton airlines stops working properly would convince you that you've got to do something.
Nrama: You're also getting to write Huntress on an adventure of her own in New York, which is a city you know well.
Levitz: Not completely of her own, but she's the more principal character in the adventure cycle of the next three issues while Power Girl's working on her powers issues and her private life.
And yeah, I did have a lot of fun playing around in New York. Over the course of the three issues, we get to play with the 42nd Street Library, and Bryant Park, Williamsburg Bridge, Glancy Street, a little bit of the streets of Williamsburg.
Nrama: For Huntress, is it tough for her to understand why Power Girl is upset about not having powers, since she doesn't have powers herself? Or does she recognize there's a real tragedy here?
Levitz: Well, we all have powers. We all have things we're used to in life, our abilities. They may be small "p" powers, rather than giant superpowers, but if you live a bunch of years, you watch somebody who, maybe through aging or illness or something like that, lose their ability to do something, or even a young person who — Huntress, God knows, has been through this — she's gotten thrashed and found herself in a hospital bed for a length of time or walking around with a bum arm. That's a very similar feeling.
Nrama: You've also got a Worlds' Finest Annual #1 coming in January. Does that issue tie into the reveal at all, or is it more of a background issue, since it features a story from the characters' past, when they were Earth 2 Supergirl and Robin?
Levitz: There are a nugget or two hidden in it that will pay off in the Batman/Superman crossover. It's not a tie-in in the sense that the storyline leads directly from it, but something is planted in there that pays off in a very important way.
Nrama: How would you describe the story of the Annual?
Levitz: It's largely a story about the process of independence of these young women. So you've got three pieces to it. The first is an adventure of Batman and Robin. Of course, this is the Earth 2 version, so it's young Helena, after her mom's death. It's them on an adventure, and there's a little bit about the differences between how the father and the daughter approach the problem they're facing.
The second chapter is a Supergirl adventure, and really mostly, a personal adventure, where Superman's off doing something and she's out having a night on the town. There's a line I'm fond of where she's getting herself into bars using a false ID, and thinking about how her cousin would be pissed about that. And then, yeah, but he's been using a false ID his whole life!
And some dramatic events unfold during that. She has a supervillain moment in it. Someone's been behind something pretty terrible and pretty upsetting to her.
And then the third part is an adventure of the two of them together, in reaction to that, trying to find the person who was responsible for that. And that leads to an encounter with the Wonder Woman of Earth 2, and some drama unfolding in all of that. And there's some fun there. Wonder Woman is there with an appropriate conflict with them, and you learn a little bit more about some of the Earth 2 characters and how they interrelate with each other.
Nrama: Going forward into 2014, how does the reveal change the characters and the focus of your title?
Levitz: Of course it changes what's going on a certain amount, because it connects them more to this world. Once you connect them to the world, then you've got a wider range of crossover possibilities coming, or guest appearances by the characters in other titles. And I think you'll see all of that happening over the following months.