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Mild Mannered Reviews - Supergirl Comics

Supergirl #10

Supergirl #10

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 27, 2006

Cover date: November 2006

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Ian Churchill
Inker: Norm Rapmund

"Secret Identites"

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

Kara's talking with Boomer, who has rented her prison movies as preparation for her plan. What's her plan?

Flip one page and suddenly Kara is a brunette with glasses in high school, going by the name of Claire Connors. She goes through a typical day at high school, and when she gets to the cafeteria at lunch doesn't know who to sit with. She sees a table of rich, entitled snobs and a table with an overweight girl eating by herself. Before she can decide where to go a random girl from her classes, Becky, walks up to her and invites her over to a table.

Kara eats with them and then reminisces back to Krypton where she was teased by other kids for being from "the House of El... it's the family born of hell. If she looks you in the eye... in three days you'll surely die!"

We then cut to Kara talking to Wonder Girl who's battling Monsieur Mallah, a French-speaking gorilla. Kara's excited about high school and being "normal", but Cassie tells her that everyone in high school has a secret identity and it's not what it seems like on the surface.

Back at school, Kara was about to be asked out by Drew, Becky's boyfriend, when Becky interrupts and invites Kara to a sleepover. So she goes and hangs out with Becky and her friends, when Sarah, the overweight girl Kara saw sitting alone at school, arrives and says that Kara invited her.

Kara has another flashback to Krypton and her father telling her something muddled about some boy who likes her and made something for her (possibly a circular stone necklace she was wearing for the entire issue), that she has to wear so he won't be offended. It cuts her wrist and her father tells her she has to be stronger because everyone's laughing at her, but then says their laughs mean nothing because they're "the laughing dead".

Back at the sleepover Kara comes out of the kitchen, appalled to see that the other girls had been playing a game where they each circle parts of their own bodies that they don't like, and they have instead switched and all drawn circles all over Sarah.

At school, Kara talks with Drew about what happened, and he says he's glad he's not a girl. Drew agrees that Becky should have known better than to do something like that, when Becky sees the two of them talking and looks upset.

Becky later finds Kara and apologizes for what she did to Sarah, much to her other friends' astonishment. Later, Sarah is at home and gets a message from Becky who blames the entire thing on Kara and says that they need to talk.

At school, Kara sees Sarah going into the bathroom and agrees to talk to her with Becky, in the hopes Sarah might listen to Becky who ostensibly wants to apologize. Just as Kara's about to enter the bathroom Becky shoves her through the door while telling her that no one likes her, and Sarah pulls a bucket of sludge down on Kara's head to the amusement of all the other girls. Becky tells Kara to stay away from her boyfriend, and then asks what she's going to do about it.

Kara's eyes spark like she's about to use her heat vision, when she suddenly flashes back to Krypton again and all the people who had been making fun of her and laughing at her are dead with crystals poking out from their bodies. Kara stands over them, dressed in black and holding what looks like a very large crystal gun with the "S" symbol on it.

Back in the bathroom one of the rich, "snobby" girls comes to Kara's defense and chews out all the other girls. Kara takes off her glasses and wig, followed by her clothes, revealing her Supergirl outfit beneath. She flies away while telling all the other kids to do themselves a favor and just be themselves.

3Story - 3: So much potential, so much of it wasted. There's a good story here, about all teens never truly being themselves and putting on different "secret identities" at school and such to try and impress their friends and classmates. But the execution of the story is what I had a problem with.

The whole thing felt rushed, so much so that you don't really understand anyone's motivation for anything. I get why Kara would want to go to school. I don't get why she'd just suddenly leave after meeting a couple of jerks. She's beaten the crap out of supervillains, but she can't handle a couple girls being mean?

Actually, you know, I could buy that, no problem, if there'd been time to show why that bothered her so much. Ultimately I felt like this was a 3 or 4 issue arc, condensed down into one issue and with a lot of the character moments removed. It was just event after event after event. First A, then B, then C, with little time spent explaining how one got from one point to the next. As I said, it seemed really rushed.

And it annoyed me that in a story about no one being what they appear, everyone was actually the exact opposite. The nice girl was mean. The snobby girl was the one who was really nice (and we never saw "snobby girl" at all, actually, until the end of the book where she's suddenly standing up for the glop-covered Kara).

In his efforts to show us how bad stereotypes are, Kelly gave us more stereotypes... the good person was bad, and the bad person good? Who could have guessed?

EVERYONE. That's who.

My point here is that if he had spent more time actually developing these characters to at least some degree, they could have been far more than the exact opposite of what they appeared. They could have been well rounded and had depth and, for the story he was trying to tell, it would have served the story a whole lot better.

I'm also irked that Kara went from nothing to full-on secret ID in two pages... and then dropped the ID (possibly for good) by the end of the book. Ultimately, in the grand scheme of whatever story we're going to end up with for poor Kara, this issue will have played little to no impact (beyond there possibly being something in her flashbacks). But the secret ID, the going to school, the starting to develop and deepen her and give her a life... was done in 2 pages and undone 20 later.

And that is really annoying.

3Art - 3: Kara: "OMG, Becky!"

Becky: "What?"

Kara: "You look just like me, only with red hair!"

Becky: "Wow, you're right! Maybe we're long lost cousins!"

Kara: "Actually, that's not so much possible... and I've already got a long-lost cousin."

Becky: "Bummer. And oh yeah, stay away from my one-dimensional boyfriend who exists only for me to see you with and thus have a reason to reveal my 'true' mean girl inner self!"

Kara: "Bite me."

4Cover Art - 4: Okay, I love this cover (as always, I would love it more if it wasn't done by Churchill). It doesn't actually happen in the issue... it's not even a metaphor for what happens in the issue (that would only work if someone found out Claire Connors was Supergirl by accident, in which case the cover would have been extremely clever).

Despite that, it's still an awesome image. Too bad Claire Connors probably doesn't exist anymore, thus making Kara's disguise on the cover old and outdated by the time the issue actually hit the stands.

Bad form!

Really, I'm just upset about the no-explanation set up of a secret ID and its subsequent destruction all within one issue.

Kelly: "But I like this! I got tips from Al Gough and Miles Millar!'"

Churchill: "You know what would rock? If Becky and 'rich snob' both looked just like Kara, like every other woman does. AWESOME!"

Kara: "Bite me."

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2006

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