Supergirl Special #1 (One Shot)
Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 31, 2023
Cover date: December 2023
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Skylar Patridge
Cover: Jamal Campbell
Variant Covers: Frank Cho & Sabine Rich, Will Jack, Ramon Perez, Amancay Nahuelpan and Alejandro Sanchez
Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
The story starts with the Superfamily averting a catastrophe in Metropolis. Narration text boxes reveal that social media is questioning the need for two Supergirls. Otho-Ra and Osul-Ra find Kara afterwards and ask he what Krypton was like. Supergirl finds that she can’t remember the specifics of her life on Krypton. They then take her to Sunday dinner at the Kents’ apartment. While at supper, Kara continues to reflect on her lost memories, she is approached by Jon. Kara reveals she can’t remember specifics on Krypton, but then we get a flashback to a race. The flashback causes Kara to go home, Clark asks Jon how she’s doing and Jon responds that he will keep talking to her until he knows.
Supergirl wakes up from a nightmare of Krypton’s destruction. Superman calls to her, and the two race to help save people from a fire. During the rescue mission Kara is pushed to the side by Page (Power Girl’s new name). During this rescue we get another flashback of the race between Kara and a girl named Elsa. We see Kara trip at the end resulting in Elsa winning the race. Kara is then visited by Page, this just results in Kara telling her that she doesn’t need another therapy session.
Kara returns home to find Lois waiting with cupcakes. Kara confides in her that she feels like she can’t win and is always falling behind. She fell behind in the race, and fell behind in protecting Clark. Lois attempts to comfort her before eventually leaving. When Lois is gone Page returns. Page reveals that when she rescued a man from the fire he told her, “thanks Supergirl, you’re my favorite.” This anecdote breaks the tension and the two are able to talk. Supergirl then has another flashback of her father comforting her about the lost race from earlier, they decide that their destinies are intertwined.
Story – 3: I put this at a three because there were things that I really liked in the story, but there were also a few poorly conceived aspects of the story. But let’s talk about the things I liked first.
I loved the portrayal of the Superfamily in this. Their quibbles over what to watch at Sunday dinner, and their attempts to support Supergirl through her difficulties felt very similar to the slowed down character focused issues of Claremont’s X-men run.
I also enjoyed the focus on Kara. Her characterization is interesting here and works to flesh her out as a character. I’m bored of this era’s portrayal of Power Girl, it doesn’t make for interesting stories or engaging protagonists. She comes off as needlessly whiney, the frustrating thing is that there are legitimate reasons for Power Girl to be struggling, but they aren’t presented in a satisfying way. Also, if Supergirl is having an identity crisis over the arrival of Power Girl, how is Conner coping with Jon, those two are basically the same people without decades of stories creating interesting differences ala Power Girl and Supergirl. And character wise, is there any significant difference between how Conner and Jon are written or designed? Aside from the pink strip in Conner’s hair?
It felt like the resolution happened too quickly, Supergirl is visited by many different family members but none of the visits appear to do any good until Power Girl makes her laugh. The funny thing is, I am writing this review while listening to a presentation about Complex Trauma, something I deal with a lot in professional life. Supergirl’s quick about face because of Power Girl’s little anecdote seems forced and too fast. I am not a huge fan of the brooding Supergirl, it feels like that’s all we’ve gotten since she came back in Superman/Batman, and I hope we can get to more of a hopeful, well adjusted, happy Supergirl. But this story has to be a building block towards that, it is too superficial to be the key moment of healing for her.
Art – 3: This art rubs me the wrong way. I can’t quite figure out whether it is the pencils, inks, or the colors. The layouts are fine, and work to tell the sequential story. The basic figure work is effective, but I think the pencils are trying to riff on Mike Allred’s style of art. I think the colors are too pastelly for my liking. I prefer more depth in the colors.
Cover Art – 5: This is a fantastic cover. I love it. The background Superman symbol is great placement. I also love the pose of Supergirl. With one fist clenched and ready to fight, and the other slightly rubbing at her lip, it shows she’s ready to fight and kick butt.
Variant Cover – 3: Pretty standard cover of Supergirl flying with some doves around her. There’s nothing wrong with it, there’s also nothing to get excited about.
Variant Cover – 3: More of a cheesecake cover, which is to be expected. Again, structurally fine, but nothing to write home about.
Variant Cover – 4: I like the emphasis of her playing with her dog here. It is a nice balance between the surreal of Superheroes, and the relatable relationship between a young woman and her dog.
Variant Cover – 5: I like the design of this cover. Showing her soar through a busy street and the reaction of those around her. It is a great cover.
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