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Mild Mannered Reviews - Supergirl Comics

Supergirl #2

Supergirl #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 21, 2005

Cover date: November 2005

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

"Power" - Chapter Two: Teen Titans

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

Supergirl #2 The book opens with Supergirl and Superboy arguing in the skies over Smallville, Kansas. Superboy just wants to be left alone, and Supergirl is apparently intruding on the time he set aside for solitary brooding.

Kara gets mad when Superboy wraps her up in her own cape and says she "won't be bound again" as she flings him away. They play laser tag with their heat vision, where they argue some more before Supergirl dislocates Superboy's jaw with one punch.

She's able to snap it back into place, which suddenly makes them friends. But before they can talk further half of the Teen Titans show up and instantly attack Supergirl and Superboy without provocation. Supergirl, taking a trick from The Flash and vibrating faster than the eye can see, can effectively turn invisible.

She quickly dispatches Wonder Girl using her own lasso against her, but not before Raven shows up and tries to envelop Supergirl. This causes Raven great pain, and seconds later Supergirl is back in the real world and wholly unaffected.

Kara stops Superboy and Cyborg from fighting with each other, just as the rest of the Teen Titans show up. It seems they've brought along Starfire, who wants to talk with Supergirl and says she may have some of the answers that Kara is looking for.

The last page once again gives us Lex Luthor in his battle suit, talking about the effects of the four kinds of kryptonite stored in his suit gauntlet. The green is deadly, the red causes "erratic and unpredictable behavior", the blue is only effective with Bizarro, and the black... well, Lex just smiles when he's asked about the black.

2Story - 2: This is really hard for me, because I'm a big fan of Jeph Loeb. But this book has taken what I consider to be a turn for the worse, and we're only two issues in. I'm not even really sure where to begin.

The release date for this issue was pushed back by a week. I have no idea of the reason for that, but the book certainly wasn't immaculate.

First of all, we still get little to no development with Supergirl at all. She says she just wants someone to talk to about... well, that's the issue. About what?

About her "doubts" about being Supergirl, presumably. But we still don't know why she feels that way. What does she doubt? Why does she doubt it? And why on earth doesn't she want to talk to her only family (Superman) or her mentor (Wonder Woman) about it?

Instead of actually getting into the head of someone who feels so troubled (which would make for interesting reading), we're left with pointless fighting and mischaracterizations galore.

1. Superboy wants to be left alone, because of his guilt. I get that. But why would he try to forcibly remove someone from his presence without even trying to ask them to leave first? Mischaracterization.

And I'm sorry, but it also takes me out of the story when Supergirl's heat vision is hitting Superboy's heat vision and they seem to cancel each other out. Aim two flashlights at each other, and does the light from one bounce off the light from the other when they meet? No, of course not. Light cannot stop light. Unless there's something about heat vision I don't understand, it's not solid. If it's not solid, it can't bounce off of itself. Light travels through light, and so seeing this in two different, big panels just annoyed me. But really, that's a nitpick more than anything. Still, I thought it warranted a mention.

2. Cassie (Wonder Girl) is usually pretty level-headed. Perhaps the most level-headed member of the Teen Titans (who isn't an adult). She sees Superboy talking to Supergirl and instantly flies in and attacks Kara. Why? Because she "saw a pretty blonde girl and she went off". So she simply sees a blonde woman talking to the boy she has feelings for, and her first reaction is to PUNCH her? Mischaracterization!

3. Cyborg shows up and just attacks Superboy with his hypersonic arm. Why? Because he wants Superboy to explain what he's doing there. But then he goes on to say that Superboy "put himself under house arrest out where he didn't want to be found". Superboy disappears and the highly-intelligent leader of the Teen Titans didn't think to check the Kent farm, where he lives? Mischaracterization!

Not only that, but his hypersonics were meant to disable Superboy due to his super-hearing. Supergirl was right nearby in a corn field, and the last I checked sound tends to travel. And she has super-hearing too, unless I'm missing something. So why didn't it affect her as well?

When the Teen Titans show up, there is no explanation given as to what they can do. This isn't really a problem except for Raven, who has a rather unique power and it's never even mentioned. I only just recently started reading the Teen Titans comic, and still I'm confused as to the exact nature of her powers. To someone who has never read Teen Titans and doesn't know the character, it looks like she wrapped Supergirl up in her cape, and then coughed and let her go.


There was also a portion of the book devoted to Superboy's feelings over what he did to the Titans (which would be completely confusing to anyone who doesn't actually know what happened there) and their distrust of him.

Much like Power Girl in the first issue, Superboy steals the spotlight from Supergirl and it felt like the big issue of the book was his guilt and the problem he had with his team. But this book isn't about Superboy! If he becomes a regular cast member in the Supergirl book, I'll have no problem with this. I like supporting casts. But I don't believe he will, and if not then I once again have to wonder why someone other than Supergirl is taking the spotlight in her book. And not just any issue, but only the second issue ever.

And it's happened now for two issues in a row.

Maybe it's Loeb, maybe it's editorial, I don't know. It's been tying in to the upcoming "Infinite Crisis" left and right and as a fan, that's very exciting. If these were issues somewhere in the 20s or 30s it wouldn't bother me. And as a fan who's very into DC and reads a lot of their books, it doesn't bother me at all. But it's making the book completely inaccessible to new readers. I can see that for a book in the middle of its run, but not in the first two issues. This is when they're supposed to be setting everything up and introducing us to Supergirl's world. We're just not getting any of that and I'm afraid that it's going to ruin the book, at least until it stops worrying about the rest of the DCU and just starts worrying about Supergirl.

Kara also apparently has a bad case of claustrophobia from being trapped in her ship for all those years on the journey to earth, but then she was in suspended animation for all of that time, so... how could it have bothered her? And it's not explained or talked about at all, though it would have been a great time to do just that with Raven in the book. Instead, Raven just coughs and feels pain and Supergirl learns nothing, and then says she doesn't like the dark. So now she's apparently got nyctophobia to go along with her claustrophobia.

Hey, I'm all for characters having flaws, but I would like it if they made sense and were explained. Hopefully we'll get more development on that in future issues.

But thus far we still don't have any clue why Supergirl feels the way she does, why she keeps flying from random-person-she's-never-met to random-person-she's-never-met to talk about this "problem" instead of going to Clark or Diana, she has no purpose, no supporting cast, and no direction.

Sadly, at this point, it looks like the same can be said about her book, too.

I am just waiting to love this book. I am just waiting to love this character. All I need is a reason. Some personality. Some development. Some explanation.

And some of her comics actually devoted to her and not a rotation of guest stars from the DCU.

3Art - 3: The art seemed to have lost some of its charm from the first issue. This is probably because it appears that Supergirl and Wonder Girl have the exact same face, and the face of Starfire isn't all that different, either. And Superboy? He looks just like Robin.

Technically there's not much wrong with the art (although I still think Churchill's women are too thin), but when every face seems to be the same it bothers me.

3Cover Art - 3 (Ian Churchill): Better than Churchill's cover to Supergirl #1 (and this actually happens in the issue... sort of), and mildly exciting, but even here you can see... look at Supergirl, Wonder Girl, and Starfire. Not only do they all have the exact same face, they have nearly the exact same expression.

That = not cool.

Just another ho-hum cover that looks like the cover of any generic comic out there, as far as I'm concerned.

5Cover Art - 5 (Michael Turner): Again, Michael Turner shows up Ian Churchill in the cover department. Still Supergirl looks too thin, but to me this cover is, like Turner's cover to issue #1, iconic. Fantastic pose... it's clean, crisp, serene, and different from most of the covers out there. Another cover I wouldn't mind having as a poster.

I only wish Turner would keep doing alternate covers for a long time to come, because at this point I'm willing to bet they'll be better than anything Churchill will turn out.

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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