When DC first announced the new ‘Supergirl’ title, they implied that this new take on the Girl of Steel would be a godlike alien creature who harbored no inherent concern for the human race. As a life-long fan of the character, I was justifiably concerned. Thankfully, having now read the first issue, that isn’t the case. (Well… yet.)
The book opens with the US military tracking a meteor shower pulverizing rural Kansas, as one officer comments “not far from the Kansas Event,” clearly referencing Superman’s arrival many years earlier. The biggest object strikes at such a forceful velocity that it pierces the Earth’s mantle and plows all the way through to Siberia! This turns out to be Supergirl herself! She comes to, thinking she’s in a dream. Upon seeing her uniform, she thinks, “No way I’d wake up wearing this. Mother would kill me. I’m not supposed to wear this for another year, when I graduate… if I graduate.” That one line won me over. This is Kara, an insecure teen girl, not some godly overlord. Witnessing the snow around her, she is further convinced that she is still in a dream, “because there hasn’t been a blizzard on Krypton since I was barely old enough to walk.”
(Super spoilers below!)
The US military, having an agreement with the Russians, descend to take her into custody, sending giant mecha-suited troopers. Then, as the yellow sun starts to rise, Kara Zor-El realizes she isn’t on Krypton. Not only do tears well in her eyes, but fiery Heat Vision blasts! One by one she takes on the armored troops, sending one flying toward a mountain with her burgeoning super strength. Poor girl! She is not only terrified that she is being assaulted by huge mechas who don’t speak Kryptonian, but suddenly her own body is freaking out in ways she doesn’t understand?! She does what any frightened kid would do… she runs away!
It doesn’t work though as Earth’s yellow sun continues bestowing/assaulting her with incredible powers. Her super hearing kicks in and she is inundated with noises and voices from around the world, driving her to her (uncovered) knees. (See if you can recognize which word bubbles belong in which other New 52 titles!) The troops continue their assault, despite Kara’s pleas, since they don’t understand her. She in turn, fights back. She is facing down two troops when Superman intervenes. To be continued!
I admit, I’m partial to Supergirl. She, Wonder Woman and Batgirl were the female super hero staples when I was a kid. I loved her awful theatrical movie. Her Peter David-penned series is one of my all-time favorites. And her recent book by Sterling Gates was excellent, especially when drawn by Jamal Igle! I’m glad to see a character along those lines, not some emotionless deity as was previously hinted at.
I’m still not loving her new costume. The leggings with the knee cut-outs are just so nonsensical! I was okay with the red “shield” on her… uh… you know. It was like the classic super hero briefs, just more stylized. Except in the actual book, that red area is rendered as being lower cut than the rest of her blue leotard, which isn’t pretty. It honestly made me think of an over-sized panty liner, which one hopes wasn’t the intention.
Otherwise, Mahmud Asrar’s pencils are just wonderful. He really capture’s Kara’s wide-eyed innocence. His work actually evokes Jamal Igle’s exemplary work on her previous title, not to mention comic great Alan Davis in its crisp cleanness and dynamics! This issue reads so quickly, it’s hard to get a full gauge on his work, but just in this single issue, he captures Kara’s pathos and some pretty thrilling fight scenes. And this is comics, so what more do you need? And his rendering of Superman was the single most attractive image of his new suit so far. It’s got all the extraneous lines and such, but looks more like fabric than shiny armor, so it’s more subtle and easier to take.
Writing team Michael Green and Mike Johnson do well, conveying a sympathetic, lost young girl. The story is pretty straightforward and brief, but they humanize Kara a great deal and have crafted a character that is easy to root for. It read quickly and was very action driven, but there was a lot of heart, conveyed through Kara’s inner monologue. As quick as the book read, I’m hooked, so they’re doing something right!
Crisp, beautiful art, good writing, character it’s easy to root for? What’s not to love! I’m sold!
Writer: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Cover and Art: Mahmud Asrar