Cover date: November 2008
Writer: James Peaty
Penciller: Ron Randall
Inker: Ron Randall
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges
Empress shows up and puts Clayface in a hex-field until the science-police arrive, and then asks Supergirl for help finding her parents, who were brought back from the dead as children and kidnapped by someone called Aftermath.
They go to his "hideout", an extravagant mansion. They go in, Empress is reunited with her child-parents and Aftermath arrives... a man in a wheelchair named Eddie Rose. Kara grabs her head and falls, because Empress put some parasitic spell in her head that's activated by the word "Aftermath" and she had to do it or Eddie was going to kill her child-parents.
This spell is going to put Kara under Eddie's control, and one of Eddie's goons then knocks Empress out and drags away her child-parents. Eddie then exposits on how he was wounded and lost the use of his legs when Superman fought Doomsday, and everyone lauded Superman as a hero and didn't understand. So he wanted to bring the "gods" down to earth and make "the people" see the truth.
Seeing Wonder Woman kill Maxwell Lord gave him the idea, and Empress (with her child-parents as leverage) gave him the how, all he needed was the "who". And so he picked Kara as "the girl who single-handedly brought more confusion and shame to the "S" on her chest than even Bizarro", and his first order of business is ordering her to kill Empress.
Kara attacks her and misses several times, and then tells Empress to make a hex-field and lets her fall. Eddie freaks out and Empress says Kara's fighting the spell... because she's Supergirl.
Empress makes her shield and Kara attacks and bounces off, and this somehow disrupts the spell on Kara because "sometimes magic cancels out magic". Kara and Empress take out Eddie's goons, and he says he has other men with Empress's child-parents who will kill them if anything happens to him, but Kara says they're safe. And then tells him that she knows he meant well, but that doesn't mean what he did was right in an echo to her efforts with Thomas. Kara decides it's time to stop trying to change things she can't and just help people and get on living.
Story - 3: Will someone put Rucka or Bedard back on this book please?
This issue does some things right... keeping continuity (even if it's bad, it's still there) and trying to tell a story to bring Kara from the mess she's been in for the past few years into the new direction the book is reportedly taking next month. And it has to do it all in one issue, and the sentiment behind what's going on here is the only thing keeping this score from being lower.
The execution fell pretty flat and had a myriad of flaws. The dialogue was very expository and everyone was Captain Exposition for most of the issue. None of the speech felt natural or organic, it was all forced and, in several instances, just flat-out cliché.
The story itself fares no better. I confess to knowing nothing about Empress, but she's obviously got powers. Some random guy with no powers, no abilities and no real threat at all takes her child-parents (who's idea was THAT?!) and asks her to make Supergirl his mindless automaton... and she just does it? Why wouldn't she just use her powers to get the kids back or stop him or who knows what? There was absolutely no reason for her to go along with Eddie's plan.
From there, though, it gets worse. Kryptonians have a weakness to magic or, more accurately, are as susceptible to it as anyone else. So how the hell could Kara fight the spell putting her under Eddie's control? Saying it's simply "because she's Supergirl!" isn't enough. That doesn't make sense.
Superman's been under the control of others before, via magic and other means, and he doesn't break it simply "because he's Superman". And if he did or could, wouldn't that imply some RESISTANCE to magic and not a vulnerability?
And then it gets doubly worse when Kara tells Empress to make a shield because she knows she can't hold off attacking her for long (good), and then Kara simply bumping into a magic shield... completely erases the magic spell on her brain! (bad! BAD BAD BAD!) Just because the books says "sometimes magic cancels out magic" doesn't make that work... it's ludicrous and contrived and how would Supergirl even know that? And if Empress knew that, why wouldn't she just cancel it out earlier, like when she was ABOUT TO DIE? Or why wouldn't she have put a different spell on Supergirl that simply let her know what Eddie was trying to do so she could play along or something?
You have to think about these things when you have a character that can basically do anything you can dream up, which is what happens with magic, unless you lay some ground rules.
There were no ground rules here, and no sense to any of the characters' actions. It was a bunch of contrived nonsense to try to make a point about the right motivation sometimes inspiring the wrong actions (which is also nonsense, because while that applies to Kara and Thomas, it certainly doesn't apply to Eddie!).
There's also the issue of Eddie saying Kara has brought confusion and shame to the "S", which is nice for all of us readers because that's exactly what the character has done for most of us, but it's not at all true in Kara's world. She's not done much of anything at all to actually shame the symbol she wears in actual continuity... but then what passes for "actual continuity" anymore? No one knows, so maybe he's referring to things we mere readers have never been shown.
Ironically this issue serves as its OWN example better than the one in the actual story. The heart of this issue was in the right place, but that doesn't excuse the poor execution.
Don't look to Eddie for an example of doing the wrong thing for the right reason, Kara, look to "Supergirl" issue 33.
Art - 4: Back to the standard costume again. Oh future-Supergirl's costume, how I miss thee.
That's not why this rating isn't a 5, though. Her costume is not the artist's call, and I understand that. Kara looks fantastic in nearly every panel she's in here (as does Clayface), though a few times it seems such great care and attention was paid to Kara that people in the background suffered for it.
Not that they should take precedence, mind you, but a few times they came off looking a little rushed to fill out the panel because so much time might have been spent on Kara. Still though, it's a minor complaint, and I'm truly loving the art.
Cover Art - 4: Not particularly compelling in a way that would make you want to pick up the book to see what it's about, but a FINE piece of art. The words are meaningless and add nothing of any value, but even those can't detract from the beauty of this image.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.