Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
Glen Weldon (Author)
A celebration of Superman's life and history - in time for his 75th birthday. How has the Big Blue Boy Scout stayed so popular for so long? How has he changed with the times, and what essential aspects of him have remained constant? This fascinating biography examines Superman as a cultural phenomenon through 75 years of action-packed adventures, from his early years as a social activist in circus tights to his growth into the internationally renowned demigod he is today.
Hardcover: 352 pages
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Cover date: June 2012
"Girl in the World"
Writer: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Penciller: George Pérez
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Cover: George Pérez
Reviewed by: James Lantz
Siobhan has the ability to learn and imitate sounds and languages of every species from what seems to be every world. This is how she could speak to Kara in Kryptonian so easily like a native. In the meantime, Kara is confused. She has lost her home and family and has found herself on an alien planet. Knowing that her super-powered friend will need a place to live, Siobhan offers to let Supergirl stay with her. However, before more arrangements can be made, the girls are found by the military. The Maid of Tomorrow attacks the air support forces as they are about to arrest her and the youthful Irish lass. Siobhan must eventually persuade Kara to stop hurting the soldiers. She now realizes that she must keep a low profile. Plus, once she and Siobhan arrive in the apartment in which the young linguist is possibly slumming, Kara discovers something in a television news bulletin. Supergirl has just become Public Enemy Number One. If she doesn't do something about this, she may have difficulty assimilating to life on Earth.
Siobhan and Kara have become kindred spirits of sorts. Both girls lost their family. In fact, Siobhan has rune tattoos on her forearms - an S on the right, and a B on the left. The S stands for "Siobhan", while the B is for her father. Siobhan, being a musician, takes Kara out on the town to her next gig after the Lost Daughter of Krypton changes into civilian clothes. The sounds on the street are overwhelming for Kara as she hears everyone and everything at once. Focusing on Siobhan's voice helps her to calm down and get control of her super hearing somewhat in spite of her still having trouble adapting to all that's been going on lately. Can Siobhan Smythe become Kara Zor-El's first real friend on Earth?
As Siobhan sings a folk song in a club a boy is talking to Kara. Suddenly, his face distorts in a horrifying manner. The same thing happens to everyone else at the gig. Siobhan rushes off the stage to get Kara away from the frightening mob only to be stopped by her dad, who calls himself the Black Banshee. Siobhan has been running from him for quite some time even if he is supposed to be dead. Kara, quick to defend her new friend, uses her powers, especially heat vision, in vain against this new foe whose powers come from magic. The Maid of Might is about to continue her assault on this new malevolent menace as a hand stops her. Siobhan has become the eerie, chalk white Silver Banshee. Only she can stop Black Banshee from bringing his evil plans to take this world's souls to fruition. Supergirl will have her hands full now that she is caught in the middle of a father/daughter conflict of epic proportions.
Story - 4: The previous numbers in this series have been decent. Yet, they feel like mostly filler material sandwiched between an arc that could have been told in two to three issues at the most. That being said, it was difficult to give Supergirl #8 a proper rating when I first read it. It took a second and third go to eventually make a decision. There is still filler material here and there. However, it is less than what appeared in the books before this one. The story isn't perfect, but this is one of the better issues of the NEW 52's Supergirl for me.
When a character is connected to the hero of a comic book in some way or other, it can be interesting if done well. It can also blow up in a writer's face if executed poorly as it was with the origin of Doctor Octopus in John Byrne's Spider-Man: Chapter One. Fortunately, having Silver Banshee befriending Kara works for the New 52 version of both characters. The fact that Supergirl is caught in the middle of Siobhan's conflict with her father the Black Banshee makes this story arc and the entire series more interesting so far. It also makes Silver Banshee more interesting. I liked her as a villain in the past, but I always felt something was missing. Siobhan is dealt with in a manner that also gives readers a bit of sympathy for her. The Silver and Black Banshees are a highlight in this book that make it more entertaining. Again, this eighth issue isn't without its flaws, but it made me look forward to number nine. Let's hope next month's outing doesn't disappoint.
Art - 4: There were things I liked and things I didn't in the art for the previous seven issues of this title. This makes me wonder why it wasn't as good as what's on the pages of this one. Granted, the visuals on some pages aren't as good as others due to what looks like an odd inking on the pages where Siobhan talks to pigeons and the military finds her and Kara. Still, it's classic George Pérez. Let's hope we see more of his work in future DC comic books.
Cover Art - 5: This is an incredible image, and it's everything I'd come to expect from Pérez. It's plain awesome. It does what a cover should always do, make the viewer curious about the material within the comic book's pages. If this shot of Silver Banshee with a trapped Supergirl doesn't make you want to look inside, nothing will.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2012.