By: Michael Green & Mike Johnson (story), Mahmud Asrar (art), Dave McCaig (colors)
The Story: And here you thought Kryptonians know nothing about swashbuckling swordplay.
The Review: You’d think I’d have exhausted my comics-as-relationships metaphor last week in my review of Suicide Squad, but strap yourself down, because I’ve got some more left in my pocket. In this case, Supergirl is like the person who caught your eye at that kickback a friend of your friend had at his house. You check them out, chat them up, get their number. You hang out a few times and enjoy yourself. And just before it gets serious, you realize it won’t go anywhere.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Supergirl, per se; I’m sure it’s a great title for other people, but for me, I realize now I was attracted to a few of its qualities, but not the whole package. What I really liked from the debut of this series was Green-Johnson’s naturalistic take on Kara, the intellectual sweetness she’d display towards giant robots and her infant cousin. I liked her introspective, but not moody, point of view, a rarity for any teenage character.
And to some degree, I still see and appreciate those aspects about Kara’s personality. Trapped in Black Banshee’s inner universe, she sees through the manufactured nightmares he sets upon her, and she constantly uses a thoughtful, almost scientific approach to dealing with each obstacle she encounters. Actually, it’s a bit brilliant that Green-Johnson portray her as more assured and controlled without her superpowers; instead of lashing out instinctively with punches and poorly focused heat vision, she takes advantage of her environment and physics to win the day.
But surrounding these nuggets of enjoyment is an ever-growing slurry of familiar clichés. How often have we seen the hero’s inner fears manifest into physical delusions? Or the young girl protesting her mom’s attempts to control her future? Or the totally power-mad villain, with no motivation for his actions other than his own evil nature?
That last item may have been, to use a suitable cliché phrase, the straw that broke the camel’s back for this arc. Black Banshee’s thirst for souls is so strong he doesn’t care where they come from, if they’re his own children, and yet Green-Johnson never once take a moment to show the mindset behind this. With no ambitions you can relate to, the only thing Banshee has to offer is his personality—which is mostly absent, judging by his hackneyed and lame dialogue: “He’s an elusive boy. A pebble in my shoe… An itch to scratch… A wayward son to kill.”
Speaking of, Tom Smythe doesn’t exactly blows your mind with his winning ways, but he makes an interesting addition to the cast. Despite the meet-cute circumstances of his first contact with Kara, neither of them engage in any overt romantic tension, artificial or otherwise. I have no doubt he will be a love interest for her down the line, but their connection has a subtle, rather unique basis: like Kara, Tom too has emerged from a kind of stasis into entirely new surroundings, to find his loved ones either dead or all grown up.
Strangely, in Black Banshee’s “nightmare world,” Asrar offers some of the prettiest, most fantastical imagery, in the boldest and brightest style, that he’s done yet on this series. Kara’s slaying of the dragon is a fun, impressive sequence, especially with the mixture of her sci-fi roots thrown in: the highly advanced Kryptonian war-armor and her twin swords, each with blazing blades of solar energy. Asrar still has issues keeping his characters’ faces consistent (at times you mix up which is Kara and which is her mother), but he’s getting better on this front.
Conclusion: I’m a bit torn, as this issue brings a pretty solid conclusion to an otherwise dull arc, and it recalls some of the qualities that made the title stand out in the first place. I’ll keep a casual eye on it, but for now, in the interest of limited resources, I’ll go with my gut and consider it Dropped.
- Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: - In a way, dropping this title will also save me from the weird discomfort I get reading Green-Johnson’s lukewarm attempts at emulating an Irish accent.
- Keeping in mind Siobhan’s crazy laugh after she absorbs her father (presumably into nonexistence), I’m guessing it won’t be long before she succumbs to her hereditary nuttiness.
Filed under: DC Comics, Reviews Tagged: | Black Banshee, Dave McCaig, DC, DC Comics, Kara Zor-El, Mahmud Asrar, Michael Green, Mike Johnson, Silver Banshee, Supergirl, Supergirl #10, Supergirl #10 review