Saturday, February 9, 2013

New 52 Review: Supergirl

Supergirl, Volume 1: Last Daughter of Krypton. Collecting issues 1-7, by Michael Green & Mike Johnson, and Mahmud Asrar.

When DC Comics re-booted their new entire line of comics in September 2011, they were inconsistent in how faithful they were to prior incarnations of particular heroes. Each editor and creative team were free to decide how much of the "old stuff" stayed around in the new continuities. Supergirl received one of the most dramatic overhauls, a much-needed dramatic overhaul. I had heard that this was one of the stronger "super-books" of the New 52, and I think that's right.

This current Kara Zor-el bears little resemblance to either her silver-age or post-Crisis versions, and that is a good thing. Without the silliness of the 1950s and 1960s dragging her down, Green and Johnson crafted a thoroughly modern story of a thoroughly modern Supergirl. They tell a terrific story of the "stranger in a strange world" variety. I love the fact that Supergirl does not speak (or understand) a single world of English over the course of these seven issues, ignoring the traditional sci-fi trope of the "universal translator" that allows aliens and natives to understand each other unbelievably fast and unbelievably accurately. 

After years in stasis around the Earth, Kara's spaceship falls to Earth, and her battling of armed forces claiming her space-pod draws the attention of Superman. From Kara's perspective, she was babysitting little Kal-El just a few weeks before, and the notion that he is now older than her is strange and disconcerting. When he explains that they are on Earth, because Krypton has exploded, her befuddlement turns to rage, and the pair of Kryptonians engage in one heck of a fight.

Unable to accept her cousin's explanation, Kara sets off to recover her ship and go home. She is intercepted by a flying space-station owned by 28-year-old trilionaire Simon Tycho. He tests Supergirl's limits against a range of weapons, and it is clear that her time in stasis soaking up solar energy has made her more powerful than Superman. After dispatching of Tycho and his minions (in a way that sets him up to return later), Kara continues her search for Argo City, and after finding a hologram of her father, she runs into a Kryptonian world-killer called Reign. 

Supergirl flees to Earth, followed by Reign and her three world-killer allies. They fight Supergirl all across Metropolis, battling to a draw. The world-killers flee, dropping interesting clues as they leave. It seems that Supergirl's origin might be more than she had been led to believe. This is a series of issues that definitely feels like the first chapter in an ongoing story, and I look forward to reading the next chapter.

In terms of sales, this title has remained strong over the time frame of these issues, consistently landing just above the midway point in terms of New 52 sales. 



  1. I liked the first collection and will probably line up for the next. I found this an appealing and uncomplicated superhero book with a bit of heart. Sometimes it's enough to just strike a wide stance and solve your problems with a right-cross.