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Mild Mannered Reviews - Supergirl Comics

Supergirl #1

Supergirl #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 10, 2005

Cover date: October 2005

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ian Churchill
Inker: Norm Rapmund

"Power" - Chapter One: JSA

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

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Supergirl #1 The comic opens with a brief recap of Supergirl's origin story from the "Superman/Batman" story arc where she debuted. She's explaining herself to Stargirl as they watch the JSA (who Stargirl insists doesn't need their help) battle Solomon Grundy. Interestingly, Kara says she's probably the equivalent of 15 or 16 earth years in age.

Stargirl and Supergirl discuss the merits of Kryptonite belly rings, as Kara internally wonders about Power Girl's origins and training. On cue, Power Girl shows up to aid in the battle with Grundy. As it looks like Grundy is about to get the upper hand on Power Girl, Kara swoops in to the rescue and lays Grundy out with one punch.

Kara and Power Girl are about to shake hands after the battle when Power Girl goes slightly right of crazy and unleashes a dose of heat vision into Kara's face. The JSA try to stop Power Girl, but she makes short work of them and she and Kara go at it. Stargirl offers to give Kara a boost of solar energy to increase her power level so she can handle Power Girl, who seems inordinately strong. Alas, the solar energy boost amps up Power Girl as well, but before she and Kara can get back into it the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, is able to keep them separated with his ring.

It turns out Power Girl has been having glitches in her powers ever since Supergirl arrived on earth, which is being attributed to something like two people trying to stand in the same spot. It's not possible, and causes problems. They're kind of "allergic" to each other.

A few days later Supergirl and Power Girl meet atop the Statue of Liberty, being sure to keep their distance so Power Girl's powers (and mind, apparently) don't go haywire again. Kara wants to be friends, but Power Girl gets all angsty and wants nothing to do with it, as she sees Kara as stealing her spot as "Superman's cousin". Power Girl flies off, but not before telling Kara that when they were fighting she "felt something... dark" inside her.

There's a brief scene with the Calculator talking to "Mister X," aka Lex Luthor, who seems to think Kara is looking for a friend. As such, he plans on introducing himself to her soon.

Supergirl, seeking someone to talk to about her doubts about who she is and her place in the world, wants to talk to someone her own age. So she seeks out Superboy at the Kent's farm in Smallville, but gets an immediately hostile reaction and a warning to leave.

4Story - 4: This wasn't a bad story by any means, but for me it wasn't quite what I was hoping for. Far too much of the book seemed to center on Power Girl. Me, personally... I know very little about Power Girl. I understand that pre-Crisis she was basically an adult version of Supergirl on one of the alternate earths. Post-Crisis, they brought her back into continuity and changed her origin four or five times, never really being able to settle on who she was.

I understand that it's a problem that needs to be cleared up, and I understand that since Power Girl is alone on the cover for "Infinite Crisis #2" that she is going to play a big role in the major story event of the year that's coming this fall.

However, that's only tangentially related to *this* Supergirl. If this were a regular issue six months down the line I don't think it would have bothered me as much, but this was #1. It was supposed to introduce us to Kara and her world, but all we get of that is a 4-page recap of the storyline she first appeared in and then her wondering what her place in the world is.

She says she lives with the Amazons, but we never see her there. We see her say she'd sooner go to Wonder Woman for advice than she would Superman, but we never see either of them in the book or any explanation for why that is.

Again, it's not bad by any means, but it's not what I was hoping to get out of a first issue. I know nothing more about her now than I did before I read the book, and for the beginning of a new monthly ongoing series that leaves me a little disappointed.

This wasn't Power Girl #1 or a Supergirl vs. Power Girl one-shot special. Too much focus was taken off of the main character of the book and placed elsewhere, probably for editorial reasons concerning Infinite Crisis that I know nothing about. So I'm not faulting the actual writing, just the focus of the story itself, which left me wanting.

Also, most of the buzz with fans after this book (as seen right here on the message boards) is all about Power Girl and what's going to happen to her. Considering this was *Supergirl's* first issue, I find it a little sad the story led people to focus more on someone else.

The one item I don't get, though, is why when we see Lex he's in his battle suit (like he was in the recent Superman/Batman arc), but when we see him over in "Villains United" he's just in a sweater looking like it's "casual Friday" for businessman-Lex. I hope there's some explanation somewhere along the line for why he's gone all "Kryptonite-powered suit of armor" in one book while not in the other, when both are published in the same month and are in the same continuity.

I also thought Supergirl would be older than 15 or 16, but I don't have a real problem with it. It just took me a little by surprise.

So overall it's not quite was I was hoping for out of a first issue, but it was still quite enjoyable.

4Art - 4: I'm not all that used to Ian Churchill yet, but there's certainly plenty to like. My only real criticisms are that Supergirl seems a bit too thin. Otherwise I enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing more of Churchill's work.

I do want to make a special note of the coloring by David Moran with Beth Sotelo. This was some of the best coloring I've seen on a book in a long time. The colors were bright and vibrant and exciting and really added to the artwork, specifically the bottom panel on page 14 and the 2-page splash on pages 12-13.

And the 2-page splash of the destruction of Krypton on pages 2-3 was just breathtaking.

3Cover Art - 3 (Ian Churchill): The art itself is nice, but Supergirl looks really angry with Power Girl for some reason and the scene never actually happened in the comic. In fact, in the comic itself Kara was the one who took a beating. I really don't like covers that misrepresent (or have nothing to do with) the story inside, and so I had to knock this one down a little. Admittedly, Kara shouldn't be lying unconscious in the rubble on the cover of her own first issue, but still. This scene never actually happens, and it looks like the cover of any other monthly issue of any other comic. Seeing it on the shelf, if I knew nothing about the character or the comic, I'd just keep on walking by.

5Cover Art - 5 (Michael Turner): I like this cover. A lot. We don't get enough close-up covers (of any characters), and they're nice to see once in a while. I also think it happens to be a really great cover for a #1 issue. It's a character portrait, and where better to have one of those than a first issue cover? The colors are very nice and this cover completely grabs my attention. If I hadn't heard about this book or didn't even know who Supergirl was, this cover would make me stop and take notice of it when I saw it on the rack. It's unique and vivid, and a piece I'd love to have as a poster or framed print. To me, that's the mark of a great cover. I honestly don't think I could ever get tired of looking at it.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2005

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