Paul Levitz Explains More About WORLDS' FINEST, EARTH 2
Paul Levitz Explains More About EARTH 2
Paul Levitz will not only unite with fan-favorite artists George Pérez and Kevin Maguire for a new ongoing comic called Worlds' Finest, but it will star two female characters in the lead.
And it will bridge the gap between the "New 52" Earth and DC's new version of Earth 2, bringing Power Girl and Huntress from one parallel world to another.
The story ties into the new Earth 2 title by James Robinson and Nicola Scott, which launches at the same time as Worlds' Finest. It also stars the same character as Levitz's Huntress mini-series.
Fans can't help wondering.... is this the same Karen Starr who showed up in Mr. Terrific?
Was this Earth 2 Huntress the daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle on Earth 2?
And if she was, will she meet this Earth's Bruce Wayne in person?
Newsarama talked with Levitz to find out.
Newsarama: Paul, the description of this series is that the characters are stranded on a parallel earth and are trying to get home to Earth 2. How does Earth 2 work in the New 52 universe? Is it still part of 52 Earths?
Paul Levitz: Most of that is James Robinson's territory, and I will leave that to him. My turf is to look at these two women who are interestingly complex human beings, reacting to an extraordinarily disruptive situation in very different ways.
And yet they're good friends, and they're surviving — maybe arguably thriving — in an alien world, with each others' help.
But their priorities are very different. Their approach to what's happening to them is very different. And that's cool territory to explore.
These are kids I love playing with, and yet they're in a new form, so I can do a new, more modern take on them.
The joy of any book where you're taking characters who come from our two core character families is to counterpoint between them. And the neat thing, when you're playing that not with Superman and Batman but Huntress and Power Girl, is that they're freer characters, in some ways, than the iconic characters. You can develop more nuances. They stand on their own a little bit more. And you can hopefully make that a more interesting journey, since they don't have to support eight titles each. So you have the room to tell their story.
But we also have plenty of stuff that blows up, plenty of drama and action in the process of introducing a new, modern take on these two great characters.
Nrama: How did the concept for this story come about? Did it spin out of James' story about the JSA on Earth 2? Or did it comes from your desire to write the Huntress mini-series? Or a combination of those things?
Levitz: It evolved pretty organically. James was developing JSA, and the guys saw opportunities to build something like this in.
They came up with the core concept that the Huntress that I was working with should turn out to have come here from Earth 2. And we began planting clues toward that in the mini-series.
And I was very excited to be able to do more with her, happy to do more with her with Power Girl, and I always enjoy playing with the two of them together. I obviously wrote the first stories of the two of them together, and a lot of the earliest stuff on Power Girl, as well as this version of the Huntress.
Nrama: What's the tone of this series? We've seen Power Girl approached very humorously in the past. Is it along those lines?
Levitz: I think this more straight than what you're talking about. There will always be moments of humor with Power Girl because she uses her powers different from the way Superman does. She's younger at heart, more impulsive, more flirtatious. So all of those things create some opportunities for humor that you wouldn't have with Superman.
That's part of the fun. This is a pair of dear, close friends watching each others' backs who have even further apart qualities than Superman and Batman.
Nrama: You mentioned that you were planting seeds in your Huntress mini. Were you setting this book up?
Levitz: Pieces of it. The things that are set up in the mini-series are really the ambiguities to make people wonder — and there's been this lovely, fierce online debate about Helena Wayne/Helena Bertinelli. And "is it taking place on Earth 2?" or "is it taking place on the New 52 Earth?" And "oh, she says she's more of a cat person than a dog person, so what does that mean?" You know? Going back and forth.
It's kind of beautiful to see people get involved that much and care that much about the characters just as you're wrapping up the story.
So there are a few things like that being set up.
Nrama: Are you enjoying the challenge of writing characters you've written before, but coming up with a different take on them?
Levitz: Only in a good way. This is a very unusual puzzle to solve, because the pieces are being put in place as we run. It's tying in to a relatively new DCU, with a completely new Earth 2. So all of it comes very new.
There's emotional elements that I think are part of what people loved about each of these two characters, that I think will carry forward, and that are why you want to see your familiar pals back. It's not simply a matter of you wanting to see the superhero origin or superhero name that you loved. You want to see something of the attitude.
I think we got a great response to the Huntress mini-series, and I think that response was the attitude that she portrayed in those stories, and I'm hoping to be able to do that kind of level of reaction going forward.
The first scene in the first issue is basically kind of a Sex in the City moment of the two girls at lunch, at a posh place that turns out to be in Tokyo, and Helena's busy burning her Helena Bertinelli passport and playing with a deck of five or six other passports she's got in other names, trying to decide who she's going to be next.
Nrama: That name Bertinelli in there is a fun tease, but this is Helena Wayne, right?
Levitz: We will ultimately know that she's Helena Wayne of Earth 2, but whether Bruce will know that she's Helena Wayne, or how Bruce or Selina Kyle will come to know that and react to that, we'll see. I'm still working out all the dramatic potential in it. Obviously, there's enormous pent up possibility in those moments, and you want to make all that drama work. And you don't want to do all that in issue #1, panel #1. You want to take people on an interesting ride.
It's going to be very connected both to Earth 2 and to the New 52 Earth. In a sense, it's the bridge book between the two. It should be a very rich, exciting experience, if we do it right.
Nrama: Since they're stranded on the New 52 Earth, will they encounter heroes we know?
Levitz: Oh, absolutely. I think there's at least somebody on this earth rather annoyed at their bank account being borrowed from. And I think that will lead to some interesting places over time.
Nrama: Will they encounter people from Earth 2, or are they the only ones here from Earth 2?
Levitz: As far as I know, they're the only ones here from Earth 2 so far.
Nrama: But they do tie into what James is writing in the Earth 2 series?
Levitz: Oh, absolutely. They're here because of what happens in his book. And they're concerned in their different ways very much about what's going on on the world they came from. Maybe Power Girl is more concerned about that part than Huntress. But each has their set of issues back there.
Nrama: We've seen Karen Starr in Mr. Terrific, but only briefly. Is she like the Power Girl we've know in the past, before the relaunch?
Levitz: I think she'll be a little bit different from what you've seen in the past. I'm building off the facts that are established about her in Mr. Terrific. I'm trying to pick up on things that happened in those issues and connect them in properly. But there's a lot more to her story.Karen Starr in
Mr. Terrific #1She's got a very defined sense of mission about going home. She needs to get back there. She feels that world needs her there. And hopefully that will play out in a very interesting fashion.
These two gals got dumped here in a confusing and challenging circumstance, in a world that's a lot like theirs, but not the same. And each of them has different sets of things they want to do as a result.
Nrama: It's got to be exciting to working with George Pérez and Kevin Maguire on this. How is that working, to have two artists?
Levitz: We'll vary it a little bit from time to time. The goal is to have story structures that really play to the advantages of the two characters, and in some arcs, that may be having different pieces that vary with different times, and different artists. At some points it may make sense to do separate stories about the two of them, which would incorporate the different artists. We're kind of playing it by ear.
There are a lot of opportunities to be experimental with all that.
I'm getting to work with George, who is a good friend and an astounding artist, and Kevin, whom I've know for many years, but never had the chance to work with, and again an astounding artist. And they're each very interestingly different types of artists. They have different sets of gifts. But both of them are very good at emotion and humanity. So as a writer, I have to come up with how to use those tools in the best way.
And I think with a little bit of luck, it will have a distinctive flavor all its own, and yet fit in, as I said, as a bridge books between the heart of the DCU and the whole Earth 2 world.
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