DC NEW 52: SUPERGIRL
SUPERGIRL #1 – 6 (DC COMICS) Michael Green & Mike Johnson, writers. Mahmud Asrar, penciller #1, 2, 4, 5, 6. Mahmud Asrar & Bill Reinhold, artists #3. Dan Green with Mahmud Asrar, inkers #1. Dan Green, inker #2. Dave McCaig, colorist #1, 2, 4, 5, 6. Paul Mounts, colorist #3. John J. Hill, letterer #1 + 2. Rob Leigh, letterer #3, 4, 5, 6.
What appealed to me the most after sampling the first issue of SUPERGIRL in the DC NEW 52 era was its simplicity.
Issue #1 contains a very fast-reading basic introduction to the character that leaves most of the questions unanswered. It’s a great starting point for someone brand new to SUPERGIRL (I can envision a curious newcomer or two) as well as a new beginning for those already familiar with this character. Everybody is going to learn what’s going on and why at the same time that Kara/Supergirl does.
Writers Green & Johnson keep it short and sweet in Issue #1, not cluttering up the story with any background details. Teenage Kara just crashed on Earth, landing in Siberia wearing an outfit she doesn’t recall and also with no memory of recent events. Before she can thoroughly examine her new surroundings she is pursued by an armor clad squad intent on capture. Artist Asrar has a big-panel style that suits the fast moving story well and also keeps his work uncluttered with background detail. I like the way he depicts the action in the fighting and pursuit scenes. His work is not going to amaze anyone, but somehow the simplistic art and simplistic story work together to make a greater whole.
Even though Kara is “lost, confused, alone . . . . all just different ways of saying . . . I’m scared” she learns of her powers quickly and doesn’t hesitate to use them. Because of this state of confusion, she mistrusts and doubts all information and answers Superman’s statement (that he’s her cousin) with a right hook that knocks him through three large trees. What ensues is a major slugfest that is very entertaining. It happens in Issue #2.
Asrar gets an assist in Issue #3 from Bill Reinhold and the art improves. Colorist Paul Mounts also enhances the backgrounds with a wash of colors and this improves the overall look of the book as well. I’m warming up to this title. Issues #3 and #4 also introduce Simon Tycho, who could become a major protagonist in SUPERGIRL and serve the same function that Lex Luthor does in SUPERMAN as his main nemesis. Tycho entices Kara to enter his orbiting headquarters and then subjects her to various trials in order to measure her strengths and limitations. Tycho thinks he can use the sunstone (message storage device) he retrieved from the escape pod to manipulate and control Kara, and he pays dearly for his error. Kara doesn’t fully understand her powers yet and can’t always control the amount of damage. Tycho is defeated, but I expect his return soon. He did obtain something of use from Kara and comes out of this with a minor victory. Quite the optimist, this Tycho. That makes me like and dislike him at the same time.
Supergirl does manage to find her way home to Argo City in Issue #5 but nothing is the same. She finds a way to retrieve a message from the sunstone and learns what happened during her three days of memory loss. What has changed are some nice improvements in the art. I love the two-page opener and the later confrontations with alien “world-killer” Reign. Reign has a connection to Krypton as well and is there to also try and find answers.
Issue #6 opens with a nice flashback scene from Kara’s combat training on Krypton. In these shot glimpses of her past life we learn a little more about her character and history. Kara has to return to Earth to try and stop Reign. The battle is only beginning as the story ends. I’ve got to see what’s next in Issue #7.
MY BACK STORY: I never gave this title a second thought when I was making my initial choices as to which DC NEW 52 titles I would explore. If not for my regular visits to comic stores I would have missed a lot. I’m a creature of impulse and good cover art on a #1 issue will entice me to flip through it. I usually pick it up and give it a chance. I have to admit that DC has made a very favorable impression on me. There are very few NEW 52 impulse pick-ups that I didn’t enjoy, and many of them have become regular readings (at least for now).
I credit some savvy store promotion for pointing me in the direction of SUPERGIRL. On February 29, CAPTAIN BLUE HEN COMICS in Newark DE (my regular stop) was celebrating the birthday of Superman. Any Superman-related title was selling for $2.29 that day. I’d only been reading ACTION COMICS. I knew that the creative team on SUPERMAN was about to change, so I avoided that. Also, I’m still mourning the end of Jeff Lemire’s SUPERBOY issues, so I’m not checking out the new version because I remain loyal. After a few favorable comments from owner Joe Murray, I bought Issue #1 of SUPERGIRL. I was impressed enough to come back later and purchase Issue #2-3. Which led to another return trip to get Issue #4, 5, 6.
The point of my mentioning this is that there is still so much value in patronizing local comic book stores. In addition to making these kinds of finds, I also enjoy the chance to “talk shop” and talk comics with store staff and occasionally strike up a conversation with like-minded customers. You don’t get that kind of warm and fuzzy feeling if you order your books online. ‘Nuff said.