Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: Action Comics #42

We are now one month into The Truth, the latest attempt by DC to reinvent Superman by having him depowered and his secret identity revealed. After reading a month's worth of issues, I have to say I am a bit perplexed. We have four Superman titles, showing us four different aspects of this story. The books aren't happening simultaneously which means one title is referring to books yet to be released. The books aren't written consistently, Superman acting like a folk hero in Action and like Daredevil or the Punisher others. We haven't even seen the inciting event of this mega-arc: Lois' reveal of Clark Kent being Superman. And all this leads to me being a rather perplexed reader.

The whole thing kicked off with last month's Action Comics #41, a book which actually gave me some hope that maybe something good would come out of this seismic upheaval of the Superman mythos.

Action Comics #42 came out this week, now tagged with the word Justice. I suppose this is a way for DC to show the readers that they understand the foundation of Superman and his cause ... Truth, Justice, and the American Way. And I will admit that this book was a decent read, again showing us Superman as folk hero, as inspirational community leader, as seeker of Justice even if that means standing up to a corrupt police force. This book especially resonated given recent events here in the States, images of civil unrest, marching police officers, peaceful demonstrations and not-so-peaceful demonstrations.

I suppose this makes compiling for trades an easier job. You can put the Action issues together. They read one way. You can put Superman/Wonder Woman together; they read completely differently. But it is this uneven feel to the entire event that gives me pause. How can I feel good about Action and this Superman willing to sacrifice himself to protect the citizens of Kentville when over in Batman/Wonder Woman he is contemplating going dark and using explosives?

I know I am going to sound like a broken record. But the art by Aaron Kuder on this book is just beautiful. His work definitely elevates this title. And Tomeau Moery's use of color here really pops.

Last issue we saw that Clark's neighborhood has been dubbed 'Kentville' and is a place where fans and supporters of Superman congregate. There is a street fair feel to the place. Lee Lambert, a member of the Metropolis Fire Department, has become something of a civil leader for the place.

We also learned that the Metropolis Police Department, or at least a segment of it, is working to discredit Superman and beat down any support for the Man of Steel. Officer Binghampton is the leader of that group, getting orders over his radio and looking to incite violence.

Clearly these two groups can't easily co-exist. The question is how will this confrontation unfold.

The fuse of this combustible situation is lit on the first page. The shielded riot troops begin to march on Kentville, calling it an unlawful assembly. And Lee Lambert's attempt to calm things down and use diplomacy is simply yelled over.

Unfortunately, this looks like last month's CNN. And this panel by Kuder beautifully shows the problem here. On one side are soldiers. On the other, old folks and people in pajamas.

Superman isn't on scene because he is battling a shadow demon over on the waterfront.

We learn that 3 weeks from now when Superman #42 is released we'll hear more about these demons. Luckily for me, in this week, Pak gives some exposition, letting me know they are unliving constructs allowing Superman to use 'lethal' force.

This is a brutal Superman, throwing a steel I-beam into this thing's eye. We have heard in other portions of The Truth that Superman is relishing his decreased powers because he gets to 'cut loose'. He seems to have embraced a bloodier style of combat. So hearing him say that it is fun to enucleate this thing's eye is something for me to pay attention to.

The fight is choreographed beautifully by Kuder, a leaping Superman breaking panel borders. And the colors feel natural for a battle zone that is on fire.

I like that Clark falls back on some Smallville shenanigans to ultimate defeat the thing, riding it like rodeo rider, using an anchor chain as a rein, and destroying it in a gas tanker explosion.

But the real beauty here is Kuder's art on the beast. It feels like a roiling, shifting oil slick. But it is composed of shadows, people's shadows! So if you look closely, you see it is comprised of human shapes and arms, reaching and clawing.


But the real action is happening at the rally.

As usually happens at these sorts of things, an accident ramps up the tensions. A police officer accidentally fires a tear gas canister towards the crowd, only to have it batted away by a more pro-active citizen named Dante.

Dante's defense against this unintentional attack is twisted by Binghampton as the excuse he needs to escalate. If the citizens are going to 'assault' the officers, they have no choice but to move in.

Again, the art just complements the story here. We hear Binghampton's words about resisting arrest, assault, and using chemical weapons. But we see the crowd in the reflection of his glasses, a bunch of ordinary people just standing around. This is Binghampton's point of view, but he sees it very differently than what we see.

It shows the disconnect perfectly.

And faced with the oncoming police force, the 'protestors' (remember, they were simply outside Clark's apartment, celebrating Superman) have to decide how to react.

Lee says they need to sit and be still. It has to be a peaceful interaction. The police cannot do anything to them without provocation.

Dante wants to stand up and defend himself.

It is the classic conundrum for these sorts of things. It is the sad story played out on our television sets recently. Because Dante feels that the die has been cast. People are going to be hurt regardless of the people's response.

Luckily, Superman shows up, anchor chains in tow, and separates the sides.

Big moments need big art and Superman being this defender deserves this splash. The symbolism of his positioning, arms out, isn't lost.

But then we hear Superman talk like Superman. He reminds the police how he has helped them, even individually talking to some of the officers, calling them by name. And he reminds Dante about how he helped him too. Dante sits. And the cops seem to calm a bit.

He's Superman. He's here to help.

But Binghampton isn't hearing it.

He is sick of Superman. And he is going to make sure that this powder keg explodes.

Binghampton is going to beat Superman until the crowd does something stupid. And when Superman finally breaks, Binghampton will have his justification for violence.

A heavily armored SWAT team (reminding me of the trigger happy SWAT team in Batman Year One). And, following Binghampton's orders, they start beating on Superman. And Superman, as he said he would, takes it. To add fuel to the fire, Binghampton fires tear gas into the civilians.

It quickly escalates into a war zone.

Cops beating up Superman.
Cops beating up civilians.
Civilians attacking cops.
Cops beating up other cops trying to stop the insanity.

It only takes a spark to ignite the wildfire.

It is crazy. And people are getting hurt. For no clear reason. But throughout we see Jimmy there, snapping pictures.

I have to applaud Pak for showing this unwind in front of me in a way that made me sad, made me cringe, made me remember.

And Superman?
He is here to help.
He can't just sit there and watch people getting hurt. He has to stop this.
And so he springs into action, punching Binghampton.

But that's just what Binghampton wants. He says 'finally' knowing that the picture on the news will be Superman punching a police officer. It is the money shot to vilify Superman and make it easier to bring him to some sort of warped justice, as we hit that word on the cover again.

This was another excellent read as Pak gives the big action of the shadow demon but mixes in this very real street scene. I am usually against seeing Superman fight the police and the military. But it is clear here that Pak is painting a certain subset of the law as being corrupt. We see some cops trying to stop the madness of their counterparts. And I want to see a Superman who stands up for the victims, for those who need a crusader to bring them justice.

I don't know if I want *this* Superman for the long haul. I still really miss Lois. But I have to say, this is an entertaining comic. This is a compelling Superman. This has great art.

I can't say this about all the Super-books. I can't say this about all of The Truth. But people should be reading this book. Action Comics is a very good comic with a Superman I can believe in.

Overall grade: A-

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sideshow Collectibles Supergirl Premium Format Figure

Supergirl is certainly having a presence at the San Diego Comic Con.

As if the news and merchandise from the show wasn't enough, Sideshow Collectibles has announced that a Supergirl premium format figure will be unveiled in San Diego as well. Here is there brief blurb:

I would love a picture of this figure which will be showing at the Sideshow booth at SDCC. So this will be yet another thing I will be asking anyone going to the con to get to me if possible.

I do think it is interesting that the costume is apparently the Michael Turner version, heading back to the one used in the pre-New 52 continuity. I would love the shirt to be a bit longer than this advance art but we'll have to see.

And these figures are historically around 2 feet tall and cost around $400. So this isn't a frivolous purchase. I am certainly priced out.

That said, the series look beautiful.

Here is the Power Girl premium figure to give you an idea of what these things look like.

Can't wait to see the Supergirl one ... if only to dream of having it in the shrine.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Supergirl Show: Screening And SDCC

Despite still being three months away, the news about the Supergirl television show continues to arrive at a brisk pace. I have been impressed with how the CBS and the producers have been able to keep the publicity smoldering.

And I have to thank places like Supergirl TV , DC Comics, and other entertainment sites for keeping me up to date. Some of the news is so good I feel I need to share here.

My optimism for the show continues to grow.

Warner Brothers had a special screening of the Supergirl premiere last week.

I haven't been able to learn the wheres or the whens. What I can tell you is that Melissa Benoist was on hand to introduce the show and apparently take some questions. (She answered that Supergirl's hero is her mother Alura.)

It seems like Warner Brothers and CBS are sparing no expense, making a giant Supergirl to hang above the marquee sign.

And here is a picture of Melissa Benoist being swamped with young fans looking for an autograph.

Almost too fantastic!

I love that Benoist seems to really be embracing the role.

But more news has come out about Supergirl's presence at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con.

This conventions has always been on my bucket list of shows I would love to go to. But in particular, I wish I was going this year since the Supergirl show seems to have something of a presence there.

Take a look at this link:

Apparently there will be a Supergirl Preview Cart which will shuttle people from the convention center into the adjacent Gas Lamp district in San Diego where a bunch of hotels and restaurants are located.

The cart will be showing a Supergirl preview. Those who ride it will get a Supergirl t-shirt and cape. And they'll be able to spare their legs some use.

And we learned over at Entertainment Weekly that Warner Brothers will be releasing a Supergirl tote bag for those at the con.  Beautiful.

And Supergirl has even got some love from TV Guide! She will be one of the covers commemorating the SDCC. On sale to all those, like me, not going to SDCC on July 7th.  Just an absolutely beautiful cover! Benoist just exudes Supergirlness!!!

As for the premiere, it will also be shown 'for the first time' at the convention as well. The Superman Home Page has a list of all the Superman related panels and shows at SDCC here:

But the big one is the Saturday premiere showing.

Saturday - July 11:
8.00pm - Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment Screening Block
DC fans, get ready for Super Hero Saturday Night! Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment welcome fans into the world of some of DC Comics' greatest characters during a three-hour experience in Hall H. The exclusive evening will feature a pilot screening of the highly anticipated new drama series Supergirl, followed by a Q&A with stars and producers, plus individual special video presentations and Q&A's with stars and producers from Arrow, The Flash, and Gotham. Also, don't miss a special Q&A with cast and producers of DC's Legends of Tomorrow and a peek at the new digital series Vixen.
Concludes 11.00pm. Hall H.

How I wish I was there for that!

If any blog friends end up going to SDCC please send me pics or details about any Supergirl news!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bullet Review: Justice League 3001

Justice League 3001 #1 came out last week and I picked up the book mostly because I knew that Supergirl would become a cast member next month. I thought I should jump on board at the beginning. I also knew that comic readers whose opinion I value had read the first series JL3K. Those bloggers said the book was irreverent but engaging.

I will be honest, while Howard Porter's art is a draw, I was a little concerned about the writing tandem of Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis. It has been a while since either has hit a home run for me. I often find the humor attempts a bit too forced for my taste.

So I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book and I am glad I am on board. I have complained in the past about how there is nothing but deconstruction of super-heroes, giving them feet of clay and gray morals. And this book is steeped in that. But somehow, thrusting it into a possible future, having the characters run the spectrum of heroic ideals, made this one a bit more palatable. I also went in with the idea that this was meant to be a serious look at super-heroics but more like a farce. And they make old-timers like me happy by name dropping people like Andy Helfer and Murray Boltinoff in the story.

I will also say, this is a great first issue in terms of grabbing the reader. I hadn't read any JL3K before so I was very happy that Giffen and DeMatteis get us caught up without falling back on something lazy like a recap page. I also think the backstory and key plot points are brought up organically in the issue rather than having someone act solely for exposition.

And Howard Porter's art is pretty electric here. His expressions are strong. The setting and character styles feel like something from a grim future. And the action is palpable.

The book opens with something of a parable, L-Ron talking about 'The Five' saving a Camelot planet and staying to guard over the people. There is no mention of the JL or the characters specifically but you get the sense that this League has done something wonderful for the people.

But then that rug is pulled out from under me as a new reader. We learn that Ariel Masters is the League's handler, sending them to fight evils around the galaxy. And then, another reveal, Masters is actually housing the genetic code of Lois Lane. And this Lois hates the League, befriending them, and sending them on missions she thinks will be fatal.

Lois Lane! Queen of the Universe! Love it!

But why does she want them dead? And is this the first time we learn that she is Lois?

The League is on Widon-3, a planet taken over by Starro. When the League arrives, the Starros have already killed another set of freedom fighters. Squint and you'll see it is the Legion. I suppose this mirrors Giffen's recent interviews saying he is sick of the Legion and didn't want to visit Bgztl.

The League hardly seem like best friends but want to save these folks from mental slavery. Except, the main Starro tells them that this takeover is legal! The papers have been filed. The League's hands are tied.

New League member Guy Gardner, genetically rewritten onto a woman host, decides to check things out.

I like that the League might be defeated by lawyers! Reminds me of The Incredibles, when the heroes are forced into retirement by lawsuits.

We get to meet these Leaguers and learn very quickly that these aren't your standard archetypes. Batman comes the closest to being 'classic'.

But it is clear that Superman is an egotistical moron. He brags. He talks in the third person. He has little knowledge of gender issues, and little empathy for it.

I know on this blog I tend to complain about the shabby treatment of the mainstream Superman. But in something like this, basically an Elseworlds, I don't mind. This sort of 'rock star' narcissistic persona is, for me, a warning of what consistently writing heroes grim and dark will result in.

I am glad that Batman calls him out on it.

But then a new wrinkle gets revealed.

Fire and Ice, from the early 'bwa-ha-ha' JLA, are also characters in this book. I will admit I am a bit confused about these two as their backstory isn't fully explained. They lived on Camelot (the planet from the opening fable). Fire was consort to Etrigan, who ruled the planet with demons until the League defeated them. Ice also lives on the planet, in a different area.

The two are friends and decide they should leave Camelot and head to Earth (renamed Takron-Galtos in this world). Maybe they can set up a foothold there.

Nice to see these two again and love the new looks.

Even though the paperwork is up to snuff, Guy forges some writs that state that Starro has illegally run over Widon. Ariel/Lois loves the idea of an all-out irresponsible war by the League would both weaken and discredit the team.

Lois decides not to do anything and let this play out. Even if the League is victorious, they will be softened up enough that an Injustice League she is working with could finish the job.

One thing I do like is that L-Ron actually has his original programming intact, to help the League. He tries to override Lois/Ariel's reprogramming without success.

This is all fascinating.

And this war isn't going to be easy. Every Starro drone is a potential soldier in Starro's army but is also an innocent. Where is Snapper Carr and lime when you need him?

Nice splash here showing the scope of the problem. And nice Ambush Bug cameo.

And then the majestic splash page. A rocket sense Kal-El's presence and so veers to intercept. It is time to revive Supergirl!

This has to be the Silver Age Kara. And I have to assume that Giffen/DeMatteis is going to make her the caricature she was then, sugary sweet, innocent and naive, quick to tears and eager. Such sensibilities will be a foil to the darker tones here while showing that either extreme is prone to being silly. Knowing this Superman, he is going to hit on her. I worry about this as a skewed version of the Trinity can happen without sullying the main hero. There are people out there who still think Supergirl is an saccharine fool and this might just cement that.

There is stuff I still don't get. The Fire/Ice stuff needs fleshing out. We hear about Firestorm but we didn't see him. But this was grabbing enough to make me ... gasp ... seek out the back issues of the old series.

I won't read this series with the same discerning eye I read others, in the same way I don't watch Evil Dead 2 with the same critical eye I watch The Exorcist.

Overall grade: B/B+

Monday, June 29, 2015

Darick Robertson Commission

Darick Robertson, artist on most famous for Transmetropolitan, The Boys, and Happy,  was in the area last week and had a signing at a local comic book store. As luck would have it, the signing occurred on a rare afternoon off.

A buddy and I headed to the store with a handful of issues to get signed and my sketch book. I had contacted Robertson ahead of time who said he did do commissions at store signings if time allowed. Luckily, and maybe because it was 3:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, there was absolutely no line. There was my buddy, another fan, and me.

As a result, I was able to obtain this fantastic commission of Supergirl, looking strong and determined while in the clouds. There is no doubt that this is a Robertson piece, the face is completely evocative of his style. Really just wonderful.

And since no one else was really there, my buddy and I got to chat with Robertson for a while. My buddy is a huge fan of Transmetropolitan and got to talk about specific issues. And we got a sneak peek at some upcoming projects which just look beautiful.

I am psyched to include this piece in my collection.

And I'll call this mini-event the beginning of my convention season.

Thanks again to Darick for doing the piece!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: Superman #41

 The review for Superman #41 will happen soon. But first a small rant.

All I want is a good Superman story.

A story where an aspirational hero with powers far beyond mortal men fights for truth, justice, and the American Way. Where he battles one of his rogues. A story where, disguised as a mild mannered reporter for a great Metropolitan newspaper, we see him value his humanity and cherish his friends.

I don't think that is what DC wants.

Because it seems that what DC has been trying to do for too long has been to do something different with Superman. It seems like DC thinks Superman as a concept is stale and needs to be freshened up. So we end up with stories where he walks across the country acting aloof. Or where he becomes Doomsday.

And now we have The Truth, a story where he loses his powers and his secret identity.

Superman #41 is the first part of The Truth, an issue that precedes the identity reveal, showing us the events that lead to Lois telling the world about Clark. It is the first issue by writer Gene Luen Yang. And it isn't very good. The whole thing is basically derailed by the shoddy portrayal of Clark, both in his civilian identity as well as when acting as Superman.

Sadly, the first issue released in The Truth was Action Comics #41, a sort of throwback issue that gave me some optimism. But each subsequent issue has been worse than the last, leading to this issue with a Superman/Clark I simply don't recognize.

The issue starts with Clark and Jimmy planning on heading to a sporting event. Before they can head out, Clark gets a text from an unidentified caller saying they know the source of an influx of technically advanced weapons. Maybe Clark should investigate.

Now I suppose that Clark, as an investigative journalist, might get anonymous tips directly to his phone. But would he trust them, drop all his plans to follow-up? And wouldn't he be a bit more curious about how someone got his number?

But he decides to investigate.

Now here is where things get wonky, almost nonsensical.

Clark has gotten a tip about the factory of advanced weaponry. Rather that do a fly by using xray vision, rather than going directly as Superman, he decides the best thing to do is sneak in, as Clark, with Jimmy! Jimmy knows he's Superman! Why not be prepared and go in as Superman? Or reconnoiter? Jimmy could still get the story from the outside, from safety.

Instead, Jimmy is there, in his bright yellow tank top, as some slick arms dealer is showing off a three dimensional printer capable of making individualized weapons.

No big surprise, Clark and Jimmy are discovered. Clark has to change into Superman in order to rescue Jimmy. He then begins to dismantle the place.

At least we get one tiny sliver of proof that the concept of Superman still exists. A flunky is surprised to be saved by Superman but Jimmy reminds the thug that saving people is what Jimmy does.

But then, in another one of those moments I don't quite understand, Superman uses a more controlled solar flare to destroy the giant 3-D printer which has become a sort of attacking robot.

Why the flare? Hasn't he fought giant robots for years before he knew about this power? Isn't it like using a bazooka to swat a fly.

But the inanity and insanity continues.

First off, we see him getting dressed in his Clark garb in the middle of the planet staff area. Not a broom closet. Not the roof. The main floor. Lois approaches as he is buttoning his shirt.

Lois hears about Clark and Jimmy's story and shows them that the arms dealer in the factory was their recently elected Senator.

Why didn't Clark recognize him? Well, it seems when he ran for office he wore a fake mustache. What??
And while we hear that Clark was on assignment when the election was won, you think he would still know the man from the primaries or lead up to the election.

And why would this guy wear a fake mustache? Why not put on a mask when acting as an arms dealer.

Regardless, the story breaks and the Senator is arrested. It is a story so big that even Perry toasts Clark and Jimmy.

At least here, Lois is written pretty well. Although I think the 'fooled by fake mustache' line is a jab at her being fooled by Clark's glasses.

The next day, Clark gets another text from his anonymous informant. They want Clark to turn over a woman coming into the Planet to the authority. And to not believe what she has to say.

And he better do it ...

Because whoever it is has the goods on Clark. Pictures of him changing back and forth from Clark to Superman. A side by side comparison of their faces, the works. And Clark better obey their demands ... or else.

What is Clark's first thought? That Jimmy has betrayed him. He practically throttles Jimmy, shaking him while accusing him of the reveal. That's not the Clark I know, immediately thinking the worst of his friends.

It is only then that Clark remembers that when he uses his flare power, he is slightly depowered. Maybe his speed isn't what it was, allowing these pictures to be snapped.

As stated, the woman walks into the Planet. But before Lois can spirit her away (she has more news about the arms dealing), Clark turns her over to some Federal Agents who just happen to show up at the same time.

This isn't the Superman I want to read. This isn't the Clark I want to read. He would allow a threat to himself interfere with the truth. He doesn't even check to see if these are actual agents. He just lets them take her!

At least Lois puts up a fight here.

This is wrong.

Especially when the anonymous tipper starts to sound like a blackmailer.

The clenched fist shows it. Clark knows he screwed up.

But how would he feel if the next day they found this woman dead? Would he ever just turn her over? Listen to this person and potentially hurting someone else?

But once again we see some absurd ideas by Clark.

He has to rescue this woman. So instead of going as Superman, he dons a ninja suit. He is still somewhat depowered from the flare attack that destroyed the robot-printer. He jumps on their moving car, telling the informant that he is there to help (an attempt to sound like Superman at least).

With the woman in his arms, he runs back to Jimmy, waiting in a car. Lois shows up, having tailed Jimmy. Then Clark shows up, bleeding and battered from his 'Captain America' style rescue.

The bad guys follow along and shoot the car up with machine guns. Everyone could be dead.

Isn't this an idiotic rescue mission? Ninja clothes? Jimmy is again squarely in the line of fire. This whole thing sounds like a bad idea. After his years of heroing, this was his best idea?

I just don't know what to say. Incredibly, for the first time in a while, I was very pleased with how the supporting characters were written. Lois and Jimmy were written well. The characterization of Clark is so foreign to me in this issue that I don't know who I am reading. It might say Superman on the cover, but at least in this issue, it didn't read like Superman.

Overall grade: C-

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Back Issue Box: Adventure Comics #402 - Supergirl Vs. Starfire

Last week I wrote a bullet review about Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner's Starfire.
A while back, on another blog, I wrote about one of my favorite characters from the 1970's Starfire.

So I thought I would review my least favorite Starfire, the organized crime boss who tormented Supergirl in the early 70s in Adventure Comics. These stories were written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky and frankly, I don't think he had any love for the character. He didn't seem to have much knowledge of Superman mythology or Supergirl history. He has Kara be at her most juvenile at times. And, the worst part of his whole Starfire story arc, he depowers her.

I always felt that part of the push for Supergirl to basically lose her powers was the storyline happening in Superman at the same time. Adventure Comics #402, cover dated February 1971 and which also introduces us to Starfire and the depowering plot, came out just one month after Superman #233, the famous Kryptonite Nevermore arc which, at the end, significantly weakened Superman. Had Supergirl not been depowered, she would have been without a doubt the most powerful person in the DCU at the time.

The issue starts with 'two strange people' having a beachside picnic and discussing nefarious plans.

One is Starfire, a wicked woman and leader of an organized crime family comprised solely of women. She is ready to take the next step in her plan of world domination. Her colleague Dr. Kangle has developed a pill which will remove the powers from super-heroes. And Starfire will use her boy toy associate Derek to test the pill on her first target - Supergirl.

The book is a wonderful time capsule of 70's fashion from the Starfire's rhinstoned eye patch to Derek's voluminous locks.

But the plan hinges on one thing. Supergirl has to become so smitten with Derek that he will be close enough to slip her the pill.

Starfire has all the angles. She'll enroll Derek in Stanhope knowing that Supergirl frequents the place.

And despite looking like a huge big toe, Derek is confidant he will be able to woo the Maid of Might.

To lure Supergirl to his side, Starfire orchestrates a phony mugging of Derek.

To make it look real or perhaps realizing what an oily creep Derek is, the muggers get a few good shots in.

Derek yells out some loud screams. Linda Danvers hears, switches to Supergirl, and rescues him.

With Derek seemingly injured, Supergirl allows the muggers to escape so she can tend to him.

The trap is sprung. Derek plants a kiss on Kara's lips to thank her for saving him.

We see the title and its significance. 'Love conquers all .. even Supergirl.'

But then we get Sekowsky's take on Supergirl and it isn't good.

Supergirl is momentarily helpless because of Derek's magic lips. But then we learn 'she even likes the helpless feeling'.

Not exactly what you want your writer to say about your strong female lead.

And that one kiss is enough to have Derek invade Supergirl's mind. He is all she can think about. And he is playing the part right, leaving signs around campus that he needs to meet her.

But it is that first panel that I find odd. When had she ever said 'I can't let myself be emotionally involved with an ordinary human.'? That was about 45% of her stories in Action Comics. Poor Dick Malverne! Sekowsky doesn't seem to know or care about her history.

But what could any girl do against Derek's suave nature and relentless pursuit? According to Sekowsky, any girl gives in and goes out.

I do like how in this time period, Kara does sport different outfits. This 'formal dress' costume is nice.

Derek brings her to a ball where he says how dating her is making him look better. What a creep!

Finally Supergirl says that she cannot see him anymore. That her mission, her pursuit of justice has to come first. He agrees that he won't bother her again ... except for one last picnic date.

I can't believe that any Kara would fall for this tripe.

But she can't resist him.

She goes out on the date. She says that sometimes she wishes she didn't have powers so she could live a normal life. But she does have her powers and she has to use them to help people.

And with that, Derek slips the 'depowering pill' into Supergirl's drink.

Before the picnic is over, Starfire sends a goon squad over to test her scheme.

Supergirl loses her powers.
The gunmen let loose with a hail of bullets.
Supergirl falls.

She apparently dies.
And Derek is all too happy.

It appears that Starfire has won!

Things get all the more wonky after this issue. Powers that flick on and off. Kandorian exo-skeletons. Starfire beating up Supergirl. Female clown gangs.

It is a rough period in Supergirl's history ... a history unfortunately marked by rough periods. Sekowsky seems to have a low opinion of Kara, having her fall for Derek immediately, craving a helpless state, a life without powers.

But Starfire is such a thorn in Supergirl's side that she has to be included in Supergirl's rogues gallery. With nothing but a shrewd calculating mind, she almost defeats Kara. How about Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner resurrect this Starfire to fight a team-up of Starfire and Starfire?

As for this book, since Starfire is a long-standing villain and this powerless arc is pretty long for the time. As a result I must begrudgingly label this as being of moderate importance to a Supergirl collection. Even if she is treated shabbily, it is a key chapter of the early 70's.

Overall grade: D