Thursday, June 5, 2008

Review: Supergirl 30

Well, I don't even know where to begin here. I know that I was looking forward to the continuation of the 'saving Thomas' storyline. As a result, I was already in a disappointed mood when I began reading this issue.

But that isn't fair to this issue. I shouldn't let my prior expectations taint how I review this. Still, to throw a 'rest issue' in the middle of the storyline that ended on a cliffhanger seems foolish. It is especially foolish in a title struggling to keep an audience.

Overall, this issue seems a step backwards in the development of Kara's character. If there is one thing that Kelly Puckett has done in his time as writer, it is make Kara a bit more confident in her abilities and feelings. In this issue, Will Pfeifer again makes her seem like a little girl lost. The art by Ron Randall is steady if unspectacular.

The issue starts with Kara fighting Livewire in Metropolis. While she easily dispatches Livewire, she remains confused about the purpose of the confrontation. Why would Livewire be willing to kill everyone just to get Superman's attention? And why are people seemingly disappointed that they were saved by her rather than Kal?

That leads to the high point of the issue, a brief scene with Batman. Kara goes to him to talk about her struggles understanding this world and remembering Krypton. Batman does a nice job showing the similarities in both their origins. In talking about her parents, he says "You remember seeing their faces one last terrible time. That's not easy." After all, wasn't it looking into his parents' faces that one last terrible time the event that spurred Bruce into becoming Batman?

And just like that I have a new understanding of Kara's origin, a new way to look at it. Any time a writer can make you look at something very familiar but in a new way, it is a success. Congrats Mr Pfeifer!

Deciding she needs some resolution to her Kryptonian memories, she goes to the arctic to search her spaceship for any message or memory crystals like Jor-El sent with Superman. Then she talks to Pa Kent about things. Interdispersed there are scenes of Kara babysitting Kal-El on Krypton and some memories of Zor-El telling her that Krypton will 'live on through her'.

At last, she goes to the Fortress to access Superman's crystals to see if they hold any keys for her. She asks the Jor-El program if it can say anything about 'cousin Kara'. Calling her 'dear Kara', Jor-El says that Allura and Zor-El are too busy making Kara's ship and therefore do not have the time to make any memory crystals. Still, she will remember Krypton and 'we'll all live through her.'

Satisfied, she reconciles her feelings about her father by saying goodbye to him in deep space.

After reading this issue, I felt that most of this had been handled early in Puckett's run when Kara was shown 'hard light' memories of her loving parents. Second, as I said before, after a couple of issues of a more confident Supergirl this seemed like a slight step backwards. And should all the concerns she has early in the issue be wiped away with a simple phrase 'we'll all live through her'??

And did this really need to intercut into the current story?

On the big plus side, this does seem to eradicate the "kill Kal-El, mad Zor-El, crystal hell" storyline once and for all. And for that I am very very pleased. Remember this mess?

Supergirl 30 final grade: B

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