By: Michael Green & Mike Johnson (writers), Mahmud Asrar & Bill Reinhold (artists), Paul Mounts (colorist)
The Story: Supergirl gets her first taste of Earthling villainy—and it’s bitter stuff.
The Review: One thing that always struck me as odd about Supergirl in previous incarnations was her seemingly seamless transition into Earth—specifically American—culture. The last iteration of Kara Zor-El took to the rebellious party girl stereotype fairly quickly, and except for every now and then expressing a brief melancholy over how “different” she felt on Earth, she seemed like she could’ve just as easily been raised there her whole life.
Her integration into our world looks like it’ll be a lot rougher this time around. Besides the traumatic circumstances of her arrival, and the less-than-friendly welcome party, she now has to face the obliteration of her world and people, an idea clearly too ghastly to swallow. Even as she senses her cousin “can only ever tell the truth,” she piles on the denial.
One interesting thing about Kara: despite her youthful appearance, she is still a member of a highly advanced, science-devoted race. When Superman tells her the fate of Krypton, she immediately bursts into a girlish, “This is all some kind of joke!” But then she follows with a series of logical rebuttals: “Do you have any proof for any of this? …What about my family? …If I survived—if this even really happened—they could have survived, too!”
Yet all these counterarguments only partially succeed in keeping her emotions under control, a kind of mature coping mechanism for a relatively immature young woman. It’s revealing, however, that while she accuses Superman of misleading her, she ventures the hypothesis, “If there’s a chance that Krypton survived…” The fact she uses the word “survived” in that theory indicates that, deep down, she knows there can be no happy conclusion to that sentence.
But like anyone with a desperate hope, she goes to pursue it in vain, leaving the protection and guidance of her cousin and opening her to the manipulation of others. That manipulator comes in one Simon Tycho, a man of apparently great inventiveness, large resources, and major attitude (“I didn’t become a twenty-eight-year-old trillionaire by being deferential…”). Ultimately, this makes him come off like a young Lex Luthor rip-off, but he’s no less intriguingly slimy for it.
While Luthor desires Superman’s destruction above all else, Tycho has a more mercantile interest in Supergirl. It’s not clear what he wants to do with her, but the fact he tests her so aggressively aboard his space station doesn’t bode well. At least it allows her a valuable chance to explore her powers—and weaknesses—through some good ol’ trial-by-fire: resisting the 1000°C beams of mechanical lightning bugs, fending off a giant plasma being, and so on.
Asrar and Reinhold offer agile, confident work, achieving a youthful looseness to the art that makes energetic action sequences, but also has enough integrity to deliver the more emotional, poignant moments in the script as well. The problems in the art really come more from Mounts’ coloring, whose watered-down hues channel Brian Buccellato’s style, but lacks the vividness to give Asrar-Reinhold’s lines more depth.
Conclusion: Green-Johnson craft a very complex, believable, likable Supergirl, but seem less inspired in the creation of her first villain. Nonetheless, a thoughtful, enjoyable read.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – I always found it disappointing that the previous versions of Superman and Supergirl didn’t seem all that close, considering they were each other’s last blood relatives. Let’s hope all their tension here gives way to warmth in the future. I’d be very happy to see more of a sibling relationship between them someday.
– Compared to the elaborate rocket ship Clark’s biological parents sent him in, the pod Kara’s dad apparently put her in looks literally like something from the Stone Age.