Saturday, October 4, 2008

It Came From The Back Issue Box: Supergirl #11 and 12


We all just read the current Supergirl’s battle with Silver Banshee in the excellent Supergirl #34. I thought it would be nice to review the prior Supergirl’s interactions with the villain back in 1997’s Supergirl #11-12.

As many know, I loved the Peter David Supergirl title. The title constantly was looking at the definitions of good and evil, the role of religion in a super-powered world, the randomness of the universe, and how struggling to do good can often lead to bad outcomes.

That Supergirl was the manifestation of the Earth Angel of Justice, a physical representation of God’s will formed when someone (in this case the Matrix protoplasm Supergirl) sacrifices themselves to save someone damned (here Linda Danvers a demon-worshipping murderess). This was early on in the series, just as some of Supergirl’s angelic qualities are coming to the forefront, as she is learning about herself. At this point she was still questioning what she was … an artificial life-form who absorbed a human’s memories or something more.


These issues start with Supergirl accidentally releasing the Silver Banshee from an underground prison at the site of a Chaos Stream. Supergirl thought she was simply saving a trapped woman.

Rather than immediately fighting each other, the Banshee simply walks away while Supergirl has to fight a demon spawn which attacks her from the river. It is clear that Silver Banshee has no memories of her time as a demon; indeed she is mad.


Supergirl awakens from her battle in Hell. She meets Lord Satanus who derides her for freeing the Banshee from her prison. He tells Supergirl that the Banshee cannot maintain her current form for long; she will need to possess a kindred spirit or she will dissipate. Also throughout this conversation, Satanus begins to drop more hints about Supergirl’s current status. He tells her that Linda’s soul, destined for Hell, has been saved by Matrix’s sacrifice; but also Matrix has been saved as well …elevated from a mere simulacrum.


He also calls Supergirl ‘the Blue Angel’, one of the ‘Chosen Ones’, and a ‘Guardian Angel.’

While many did not like this Earth Angel storyline, I really enjoyed it. It was compelling, interesting, and original. I never had a problem with accepting this semi-Vertigo feel to the character. I also had forgotten this meeting between Satanus and Linda in the past; how interesting now that Reign in Hell is ongoing.


After a skirmish in Linda’s hometown Leesburg, Supergirl appears to have beaten the Banshee. However, just as she is about to fade away, the Banshee finds a kindred spirit to merge with, Linda’s good friend Mattie Harcourt.

Mattie was an interesting character. She was a physician whose brother was killed in a random act of violence. She then resuscitated her brother’s killer in the ER. She had lingering issues that many of us have … why wasn’t she there to save him, why do bad things happen to good people, why is her brother dead while his killer lives?


In a fit of anger, Mattie/Banshee swears she will kill her brother’s murderer. And to make sure Supergirl cannot interfere she will kill the hero. She screams ‘Supergirl’ which, given the Banshee’s powers, should kill Supergirl if that is her ‘true’ name.


Remarkably, Supergirl lives. She is not Supergirl … she is Linda. Or Linda is her. Either way, this moment of joy as Supergirl realizes she is real, a human, not a thing is one of the best moments of this story.


Supergirl races to the local home for the criminally insane to stop the Banshee. There she tries to draw out the inherent goodness in Mattie to break her possession. She tells her she needs to let go of the hate in her soul, let go of the malice she has for her brother’s killer. Supergirl reveals her identity to Mattie; she is Linda, a friend, who is there for her. They embrace and Mattie is released from the Banshee’s control.

Supergirl then holds the Banshee and comforts her about the fears Banshee’s original mortal host had. Without a body, the Banshee fades away.

I feel I am in the minority of Supergirl fans when I say I loved Peter David’s run, especially the first 50 issues, which were heavy on the philosophy and religious themes. The growth of that character, her slow fall from grace, and subsequent redemption makes that run one of my favorites of all time.

The art here is by Greg Land, and it appears to be before he went heavily into his ‘100% cheesecake, lightboarded recreations of models’ style. His art is solid here.

Overall grade: B

13 comments:

John M said...

Very nice review of Supergirl's past encounter with the Silver Banshee!

When I was young I found Peter David's Supergirl very difficult to read. Now that I'm older I have grown to love and appeciate Linda Danvers and Peter David's take on Supergirl.

My favorite issues are 51 through 80 when Linda lost some of her powers. But overall the entire series is excellent!

TalOs said...

anj wrote...

That Supergirl was the manifestation of the Earth Angel of Justice, a physical representation of God’s will formed when someone (in this case the Matrix protoplasm Supergirl) sacrifices themselves to save someone damned (here Linda Danvers a demon-worshipping murderess).

Er, "a demon-worshiping murderess"? All due respect anj, are you entirely sure that upon Buzz having lead Linda astray that during that whole time she had actually killed someone? Because I honestly don't recall that ever have being the case myself. :/ I mean, yeah she DID do alot of nasty things but killing though? I honestly don't recall her having gotten to doing that during her time with Buzz. :/

I also had forgotten this meeting between Satanus and Linda in the past; how interesting now that Reign in Hell is ongoing.

True. Only, in accordance to Reign in Hell it's actually NERON instead that orders Lilith to summon those that are in debt to him (rather then Satanus), enter Shadowpact facing off against Linda, remember. ;)

I feel I am in the minority of Supergirl fans when I say I loved Peter David’s run, especially the first 50 issues, which were heavy on the philosophy and religious themes. The growth of that character, her slow fall from grace, and subsequent redemption makes that run one of my favorites of all time. Not so! For like your good self as well as john m I too simply adored PAD's run, especially after he combines Matrix "Mae" and Linda Danvers in to one at the beginning of his run! (Not to mention "Many Happy Returns" Linda meeting Pre-COIE E-1 Kara Zor-El too! ;))

Mike said...

I really regret not reading Peter David's Supergirl, especially since the full run has never been collected. I don't know if I want to try to start tracking down the single issues. I wonder if DC would ever do an Omnibus edition.

My favorite part of "Many Happy Returns" is when Linda tries to fast-talk pre-Crisis Superman with Silver Age Kara's origin. Never fails to make me chuckle.

Anonymous said...

Y'know I'm sorry but I just can't work up any real interest in Peter David's none-too-original notions about religion, angels and good versus evil.
He could have just as easily grafted those notions onto Hawkwoman, Lady Blackhawk or Power Girl for that fact. he just needed the big red S to fetch in some fans all the quicker.
Consequently the book never really felt like a "Supergirl" title...merely a vessel for Peter A. David's monthly sermonette.
I bought the book but at that point I was suffering from "battered supergirl fan syndrome"...a bad reason to indulge brand loyalty all in all.
Oh and PAD's origin for Supergirl? Possibly the MOST convoluted thing I've ever read and I've read Hegel in my time.
:D
Good review though, keep up the fine work.
John Feer

Anj said...

Er, "a demon-worshiping murderess"? All due respect anj, are you entirely sure that upon Buzz having lead Linda astray that during that whole time she had actually killed someone?

Thanks for the post.

There is a scene shown in flashback early in the series where she either takes place in murder or witnesses it first hand. I tend to think she took part in it given how low Buzz took her. I have some panels of that scene (shown only in snippets in a couple of issues) in this entry here.

http://comicboxcommentary.blogspot.com/2008/08/review-reign-in-hell-1.html

I think David wanted Linda to go as low as she possibly could go so that her redemption would be that much greater.

Anj said...

John M said:
When I was young I found Peter David's Supergirl very difficult to read. Now that I'm older I have grown to love and appeciate Linda Danvers and Peter David's take on Supergirl.

It is definitely an acquired taste. Either you love it or hate it. Few had middle of the ground responses.


mike said:
I really regret not reading Peter David's Supergirl, especially since the full run has never been collected. I don't know if I want to try to start tracking down the single issues. I wonder if DC would ever do an Omnibus edition.

I doubt it will ever be collected in an Omnibus because it is sort of a niche title.

But the issues are routinely in the $1 boxes at comic book conventions and worth searching for.

Thanks for the posts!

Anj said...

I bought the book but at that point I was suffering from "battered supergirl fan syndrome"...a bad reason to indulge brand loyalty all in all.

Thanks for the post!

I certainly thought it was a step up from the Luthor canoodling Matrix.

And it was clear that David loved the character as he threw in as many references to 'old school' Supergirl as he could.

But, as I said, it was hit or miss, even for Supergirl fans.

TalOs said...

Hmmmm, actually, as I seem to recall it as being at the time it was in fact Mr. Dan Jurgens who had proposed to PTB up at DC to bring in his Kara of a FALSE Argo City from Superman/Aliens cross over special in to the main DCU proper of then and thus have HER come that issue of Supergirl #50 itself be in turn reunited with Superman as well as having her shortly after become a member of the Teen Titans as DC's henceforth true Supergirl! But DC said a big fat NO because they wanted to incorporate the then success of "Superman The Animated Series" very own Kara In-Ze/Supergirl in to their at the time main Supergirl title (at least come costume design wise) yet KEEP Linda all the same as THE Supergirl of their then Post-COIE DCU continuity in tow too.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow...

I didn't know she had a fight with the previous SG...

Well, whaddya know?

:D

I wonder If she/Silver Banshee even remembers that far back.

:D

-ealperin

Anj said...

Oh wow...

I didn't know she had a fight with the previous SG...

Well, whaddya know?


Thanks for the post! And glad to help!

You can probably get these issues for next to nothing.

Anonymous said...

Wait...

Who exactly killed P.J. (Mattie's brother)? Carnivore or Tempus (Buzz's possession of Richard)?

-ealperin

Anj said...

Wait...

Who exactly killed P.J. (Mattie's brother)? Carnivore or Tempus (Buzz's possession of Richard)?

-ealperin


Neither. With the town descending into animal madness due to a Gorilla Grod spell, her brother is killed by a racist liquor store owner who assumes Mattie's brother is there to rob him.

Anonymous said...

oh!

Thanks....

I'm doing a ff, that's why I asked.

It's called "Supergirl: Legends".

you can read it here:

www.fanfiction.net/~ealperin



-ealperin


P.s.

Don't worry I put disclaimer in 'em.