Atomic Consequences: Exclusive Preview of "Worlds' Finest #2"

"Words from mouths", Our Ancestor Lao reminds us, "are like arrows in flight". And we see that play out to profound effect in the second issue of Worlds' Finest

"Words from mouths", Our Ancestor Lao reminds us, "are like arrows in flight". Because in some senses, words are themselves actions. That words too, have a deep and deepening effect on the world. It's really hard to imagine a more powerful illustration of the full scope of this aphorism than the scene that plays out in the opening pages of Worlds' Finest #2. Because we see in the marvelous art of George Perez and in the finely-woven script of Paul Levitz both words, that mark singular actions, and arrows in flight.

I want to take a moment or two to focus this conversation on Hel, the Huntress, Helena the daughter of Earth 2's Batman now stranded in our world, with Karen Starr, Power Girl. I want to focus this conversation on the Hel as the Huntress, and I will, in short enough order. But it is seriously worth noting the locale of this battle.

We closed the last issue with a singular moment of confidence. Karen Starr, diffident about the need for a superhero alter ego ever since she arrived as a refugee on Earth Prime, took the decision finally to don a new costume, and adopt a new identity. Supergirl wouldn't do it anymore. Supergirl was not only Karen's past, but an identity from another world. In Kara Zor-El of Earth 2 becoming Karen Starr, over the course of these five years that she's been refugee on Earth Prime, would there even be a need for a superhero alter ego? Karen seemed to waver against this notion.

So issue #1 of Worlds' Finest was about that moment. About Karen Starr becoming Power Girl, so that Karen and Hel could become the Worlds' Finest. And that their story, this profound story about coming through slaughter, could be taken up again.

But that was then. That was "Rebirth". "Rebirth II", at least in the first stages picks up directly where the last issue ended. With Karen having raced in to her newly-acquired Starr Enterprises Lab in downtown Tokyo, trying to take down nuclear-powered terrorist Hakkou, and Hel leaping in right behind her partner.

Just ponder on the iconography for a moment. A nuclear incident, inside a lab, in Tokyo, just barely one year after Fukushima. Think about it, and you'll have a much, much deeper appreciation of the incredibly high level at which Paul Levitz is pitching this book.

But the standout moment for me has got to be Hel herself. That singular, superhuman focus and discipline and fearlessness that she both learned and inherited from her father in equal measure. How she talks herself into attacking a walking nuclear reactor of a villain, when her super-powered partner is taken down.

"Use your words", adults say to kids when trying to assuage those kids from violent actions. The full and lasting tyranny of "use your words" is explored in painful depth but Norman Mailer in his The Executioner's Song. But Hel here, is the opposite of that silent, brutal devastation of the human soul that often comes wrapped in "use your words". This is the opposite of that. This is the discipline and the focus and the directing of action with your own words. And by the very end of this preview, it is what Our Ancestor suggested, an arrow in flight.

Please enjoy your exclusive preview:

Worlds' Finest #2 Cover

Worlds' Finest #2 Page One

Worlds' Finest #2 First Two-Pager

Worlds' Finest #2 Page Four

Worlds' Finest #2 Page Five

From drunken masters to rumbles in the Bronx, Jackie Chan's career is chock full of goofs and kicks. These ten films capture what makes Chan so magnetic.

Jackie Chan got his first film role way back in 1976, when a rival producer hired him for his obvious action prowess. Now, nearly 40 years later, he is more than a household name. He's a brand, a signature star with an equally recognizable onscreen persona. For many, he was their introduction into the world of Hong Kong cinema. For others, he's the goofy guy speaking broken English to Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour films.

From his grasp of physical comedy to his fearlessness in the face of certain death (until recently, Chan performed all of his own stunts) he's a one of a kind talent whose taken his abilities in directions both reasonable (charity work, political reform) and ridiculous (have your heard about his singing career?).

Now, Chan is back, bringing the latest installment in the long running Police Story franchise to Western shores (subtitled Lockdown, it's been around since 2013), and with it, a reminder of his multifaceted abilities. He's not just an actor. He's also a stunt coordinator and choreographer, a writer, a director, and most importantly, a ceaseless supporter of his country's cinema. With nearly four decades under his (black) belt, it's time to consider Chan's creative cannon. Below you will find our choices for the ten best pictures Jackie Chan's career, everything from the crazy to the classic. While he stuck to formula most of the time, no one made redundancy seem like original spectacle better than he.

Let's start with an oldie but goodie:

10. Operation Condor (Armour of God 2)

Two years after the final pre-Crystal Skull installment of the Indiana Jones films arrived in theaters, Chan was jumping on the adventurer/explorer bandwagon with this wonderful piece of movie mimicry. At the time, it was one of the most expensive Hong Kong movies ever made ($115 million, which translates to about $15 million American). Taking the character of Asian Hawk and turning him into more of a comedic figure would be the way in which Chan expanded his global reach, realizing that humor could help bring people to his otherwise over the top and carefully choreographed fight films -- and it's obviously worked.

9. Wheels on Meals

They are like the Three Stooges of Hong Kong action comedies, a combination so successful that it's amazing they never caught on around the world. Chan, along with director/writer/fight coordinator/actor Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, all met at the Peking Opera, where they studied martial arts and acrobatics. They then began making movies, including this hilarious romp involving a food truck, a mysterious woman, and lots of physical shtick. While some prefer their other collaborations (Project A, Lucky Stars), this is their most unabashedly silly and fun. Hung remains one of the most underrated directors in all of the genre.

8. Mr. Nice Guy
Sammo Hung is behind the lens again, this time dealing with Chan's genial chef and a missing mob tape. Basically, an investigative journalist films something she shouldn't, the footage gets mixed up with some of our heroes, and a collection of clever cat and mouse chases ensue. Perhaps one of the best sequences in all of Chan's career occurs in a mall, when a bunch of bad guys come calling to interrupt a cooking demonstration. Most fans have never seen the original film. When New Line picked it up for distribution, it made several editorial and creative cuts. A Japanese release contains the only unaltered version of the effort.

7. Who Am I?

Amnesia. An easy comedic concept, right? Well, leave it to our lead and collaborator Benny Chan (no relation) to take this idea and go crazy with it. The title refers to Chan's post-trauma illness, as well as the name given to him by natives who come across his confused persona. Soon, everyone is referring to our hero by the oddball moniker while major league action set pieces fly by. While Chan is clearly capable of dealing with the demands of physical comedy and slapstick, this is one of the rare occasions when the laughs come from character, not just chaos.

6. Rumble in the Bronx

For many, this was the movie that broke Chan into the US mainstream. Sure, before then, he was a favorite of film fans with access to a video store stocking his foreign titles, but this is the effort that got the attention of Joe and Jane Six Pack. Naturally, as they did with almost all his films, New Line reconfigured it for a domestic audience, and found itself with a huge hit on its hands. Chan purists prefer the original cut, including the cast voices sans dubbing. It was thanks to Rumble that Chan would go on to have a lengthy run in Tinseltown, including those annoying Rush Hour films.

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