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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Supergirl #1

My second experience with Supergirl was during the "triangle era," back when she was a shape-shifting creature from an alternate dimension who had the good sense to mimic Superman and the bad sense to date Lex Luthor.

Yeah, not the best time to board that train.

Then I read a few issues of the Peter David run, and while it was exceptional work, it never really clicked for me. I think Supergirl had merged with a new version of Linda Danvers--now a goth college co-ed or something like that--and things just got more complicated from there. DC had taken a successful core concept and twisted it like a pretzel until Supergirl was neither "super" nor a "girl"--or maybe she was, depending on how you viewed that whole merger. I never stuck around to figure it out.

My first experience with Supergirl was a very bad film--or so I'm told--that was more than good enough for me at the time. The concept was easy to digest. Supergirl was the last survivor of Argo City, an offshoot of Krypton, and this made her a distant cousin to Christopher Reeve's Superman. He didn't show up, but Jimmy Olsen did, so we knew it was the same universe. She arrived as a teenager, remembered her dead parents, and had the misfortune to land in the big city instead of Kansas. In other words, her life got complicated a lot faster than Clark's.

So maybe it was a bad film, but Supergirl #1 is most definitely not a bad comic. In fact, it's a very good one.

The plot is stripped down to something very basic: Supergirl fights guys in giant metal suits. If that's not enough of a visual hook for you, well it's Siberia and it's snowing. And it freaking rocks.

Mahmud Asrar nails the action scenes. They're crisp, clear, and dynamic. You can feel the earth shake when Kara's fist connects with these guys and sends them flying. You can smell bacon frying when her heat vision comes into play for the first time. No, don't worry, no one gets fried. It's just a really great action sequence and I happen to love bacon almost as much as I love this comic.

There's also a surprising amount of psychological depth for a comic that's pretty sparse with words. I like that. It's an easy read, but don't be fooled into thinking there's not a lot going on. Michael Green and Mike Johnson craft the narrative around Kara's sensation of dreaming. She isn't sure what to make of her situation., and we feel plugged into her confusion and anger. It's a great setup that sets her apart from her cousin Superman as quickly and directly as possible.

I'm glad to see DC getting back to the basics with Supergirl. She's Super. She's a Girl. And she punches giant robot-guys.

I read this comic to my four year old daughter, and she had two reactions. She wants me to buy the next issue and she's going to be Supergirl for Halloween this year.

'Nuff said!

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