Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CBW #1: Supergirl Review

I've been entertaining the idea of doing a weekly comic book review on this site, especially with my Buffyverse Comics site closing down next month. It's been hard finding the time, what with managing two jobs, my freelance writing, and the whole "having a life" thing... so I figure, since I'm the busiest I've ever been, now is totally the time to add more to the load.

And so...

Issue #1
Supergirl #60 - #63 Review

To kick things off, let's talk about the Maid of Might. The Daughter of Krypton. That blonde flying girl whose skirt is waaaaaay too short for anyone's good. A skirt that short just makes for awkward conversation. "Hey, how are you?" "Not bad, yoOH MY GOD ARE YOU EVEN WEARING PANTS? THAT'S LIKE A SKIRT SHAPED BELT?"

But I kid. To me, Supergirl is the character that got me back into superhero comics. I'm currently on the way to becoming an all out DC nut because of these books. Jeph Loeb gave her a great reintroduction with the second arc of the Superman/Batman book way back, Sterling Gates made the series a must read, and now James Peaty is currently doing pretty cool things with the character. Let's take a look at the latest arc, James Peaty's "Good Looking Corpse."

#60 - the iconic cover

SUPERGIRL #60 is brilliant. Even if the issue had been horrible--which, let's just say it wasn't, for those who like to skim (also, hey, stop skimming!)--the cover is iconic. Supergirl, with the pink S behind her, stares out at the audience with a slight smile; after Gates' character defining run, Supergirl is in a good place. She's confident in herself, which just demonstrates how far she's come from the mess of a girl that arrived on Earth in Superman/Batman. The smile and calm look in her eyes on the cover of January's Supergirl #60 perfectly and subtly shows that Supergirl has finally earned the S; the symbol that she has constantly struggled to live up to. That's the art of Amy Reeder for you. Now, I'm just waiting for DC to throw her on interiors. She would absolutely kill this book--in the good way, not the "Hey, let's cancel this book now" kind of way.

Writer Nick Spencer was supposed to do this arc, and he's credited as a co-writer in the first part... but #61 and on are all James Peaty. Of the storyline, four out of five issues have been released, and the plot is pretty promising. There's a new (well... eh; you'll see) villain in the mix that causes trouble for Supergirl, Damian Wayne, and Blue Beetle. While they're dealing with that mess, which keeps getting crazier with each issue, Lois Lane has her own problems. It's a fun romp for the most part, and the action is great thanks to artist Bernard Chang... but the thing that makes these issues special isn't the Big Bad or the intricately woven sub-plots, or the outright inspiring confidence of Kara Zor-El. It's the human element, which the books (particularly #60) outright ace.


The moment that sold this creative team for me was in the first part of the arc. Supergirl flies to the rescue of a teenage boy falling off of a building, only to learn that he purposely threw himself off, knowing she would save him--just to get her phone number. It's a moment that, upon first read, scores a laugh, but when I went back to reread these books for the review, it felt a lot darker. It ties into an idea that the arc seems to be pushing; civilian obsession with superheroes puts lives in danger. The "evil genius" (I put it in quotes, because the ceaselessly awesome Terra once pointed out that any genius would see that evil for the sake of evil is just counterproductive) of the arc is an app-builder for smart phones, and uses said app to track videos that people take of Supergirl on their phones.

#62 - Unused Cover

All in all, I'm looking forward to the way that James Peaty end the arc... but as fun as the plot is, I'm more impressed with the thematic significance of the story. Sterling Gates is the Supergirl writer (though, I plan to take the title from him--gently--when I write the title... AND THEN RULE THE WORLD MWAHAHAH... ahem), but Peaty is doing a damn fine job with this series. This just shows that not all changes in creative teams are signs of the world ending; Supergirl is still an excellent book. Just in a very different way.

NEXT WEEK: Supergirl #64, Superman #707 - #711, The Mighty Thor #1, Richie Rich #1

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