Friday, October 17, 2008

Review: Brave and Bold 19


This week Brave and Bold #19, the second part of Marv Wolfman's Raven and Supergirl story, was released. As you may recall, this storyline seems a continuity throwback to the Joe Kelly style Supergirl, the brash opinionated young girl who does not want to be a super-hero and whose father is trying to convince her to kill Superman. Last issue she sought out Raven for help all while an unknown villain goes on a murderous spree on a college campus.


This issue starts in Kara's mind. She is on Azar meditating and is internally confronting her father. And so we start the issue with a foul-mouthed Kara flying through her father. Hopefully, as someone who does curse now and then, I am not being to much of a hypocrite here by saying I don't know if I want Supergirl to be a frequent curser. In fact, I think I could live with her not cursing at all.

Despite Supergirl flying through him, crushing him, and vaporizing him with heat vision, the Zor-El apparition reforms and continues his 'Kill Kal-El' rant.


Kara seems ready to continue this fruitless battle but is interrupted by Raven who feels they must head to Earth to stop the college rampage. Here we see an angry Kara stating she will do what she needs to do to keep Zor-El dead. Not the best sentiment, even if it is only a figment in her mind.

Also, for a storyline that seems to want to seriously delve into father issues, the above panel with the 'surprised Raven face' in a thought bubble seemed a bit too much like the Teen Titans cartoon.


Supergirl tells Raven she cannot leave because she needs to continue killing Zor-El. I think we get the point, Wolfman wants us to know that this Supergirl is willing to kill her father.


But Raven does not heed Supergirl and instead teleports them to the college to stop the villain of the piece. Supergirl does not like this and let's Raven know it by telling her that she could kill Raven many ways for kidnapping her. So rather than save people from a super-powered maniac, this Supergirl would rather kill an avatar of her father in her mind. In fact she wants to do it so much, she is angry to the point of threatening violence to another super-hero for interrupting. I guess Wolfman would call this 'Kara being edgy.'


And to hammer the point home we get to hear Kara again say she killed Zor-El three times. Now, I understand this was not actually killing someone and instead was more like trying to squelch a thought in her mind. But the word 'kill' is thrown around so nonchalantly by Kara here I just found it a bit unnerving.

Raven and Supergirl finally confront the man on the killing spree who is in some trance, hooked up to an experimental machine which will help him expand his mind and get in touch with his own father issues, a father we know had super-powers and may have been a villain.

Raven mind-links with him and discovers that the killer's father was Triumph, a super-hero turned villain in JLA history who may or may not be dead. In a bit of convoluted story-telling, Raven discovers that Triumph oscillates between this reality and other dimensions. Every time he manifests on our Earth, he takes a piece of his son's soul. I know ... I don't quite understand it either. Regardless, because of her mind-meld, Raven's soul becomes vulnerable to attack.


In a rare nice moment for Kara in this issue, she sees a vision of Trigon and sympathizes with what Raven has had to deal with all her life. She actually hugs Raven as a show of support and comfort!

But just when I think Wolfman might show some redeeming qualities in Supergirl, he has her almost defer from helping Raven defeat Triumph's son saying that 'do-gooders' will kill them all. At least he has Supergirl decide to join the fight after all.


But rather than listening to Raven, she attacks Triumph's son head-on, resulting in Raven and Kara being sucked into a quasi-reality the man has made. Kara states she didn't listen to Raven because she has a problem with authority. So she is a killer, a very reluctant hero, and now a rebel.

Within this Matrix-like environment (that's Keanu Matrix, not Linda Danvers' matrix), Supergirl and Raven succesfully face and defeat images of their fathers. They then realize they can make the super-villain face his own father in the same way.


When confronted with a vision of Triumph, the boy states he was only looking for love and answers. Triumph tells him that he is angry that his son has tainted his legacy by killing. That his son needs to give up his powers, and that he will love his son forever. The two disappear with an explosion and Raven and Supergirl are suddenly back on Earth.

As the heroes fly off, Raven tells Supergirl that she will not strip Zor-El from Kara's mind because she needs that pain to grow.

As readers of this blog know, I was never a fan of the ultra-edgy, self-absorbed, potential killer Kara that we saw in the Joe Kelly run. So I was never to keen on re-visiting that incarnation, especially after Kelley Puckett's run and the Gates/Igle issue. I am not asking for a cotton-candy 50's Kara. I understand that some edge, some conflict, some growth is necessary for Supergirl. This version just takes all of those to the extreme ... this is Supergirl written as Wolverine. Who wants that? Indeed, this issue reminded me of all the reasons why I did not really like that Kara.

She seems unfazed by killing, even if it is simply an image of her father. But it is her father; shouldn't that be difficult for her ... to symbolically kill a loved one?

She threatens Raven with physical harm. It did not come off like playful banter but more serious.

She does not want to do the 'super-hero thing' and only reluctantly joined in a fight against a super-powered murderer.

She has 'authority issues.'

Sigh. Hopefully with the current reboot by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle, we will never need to re-visit this chapter in Supergirl's life, at least not in so extensive a way.

Phil Winslade's art is okay, with decent facial expressions and a sketchy style.

Overall grade: D

8 comments:

Mauricio said...

Bad issue for a number of reasons:

Editor/writer faisl once again to know the state of the Supergirl character, this issue could only fit before Supergirl is kick out of the TT by WG.

The lead was Raven, Supergirl just joins her, regardless of how the story started. There's rumors that Mark Wolfman don't like Supergirl at all.

Artwork is good but repetitive.

The Fortress Keeper said...

If I were you I'd just consign this story to Earth-Bad.

To be honest with you, Kelly's Supergirl was more likable than the brat who appeared in this piece of garbage.

Anj said...

The lead was Raven, Supergirl just joins her, regardless of how the story started. There's rumors that Mark Wolfman don't like Supergirl at all.

Thanks for the post.

You're right in that Raven was considered the 'good character' here with Supergirl acting as the foil.

I think Marv Wolfman should be kept away from Kara.

Anj said...

To be honest with you, Kelly's Supergirl was more likable than the brat who appeared in this piece of garbage.

Thanks for the post.

You know ... you are right. It is hard to believe that *any* Supergirl could be less likeable. But this one was. That's scary.

TalOs said...

Unfortunately, I have to agree. :/ Although in having had said that (i hate to say it) but I also miss her more 'standing up for herself/taking no crap no matter what' attitude (that re reading Supergirl #34 is hinted at come that scene where Cat reads the note Supergirl has left for her) that Wolfman unsuccessfully tries to tap into come this 2 part arc here. *Sighs*

Oh, and definitely count me as another who wants Wolfman as far as possible from ever being able to write Supergirl for any DC title in general really.

Anonymous said...

To think Marv got his start at DC writing a Supergirl story for her run in Adventure Comics....I guess he is embarrassed by that byline for some reason.
Marv came out of fan-dom into the ranks of the pros and he has all the vices of a onetime fan-boy....ergo he lacks the professionalism & artistic technique to effectively execute on behalf of a character he does not like. He hates Supergirl thinks of her still as a "barnacle" on Superman's mythos and cannot put that disdain aside when assigned to write a story featuring cousin Kara.

Or so it seems to me.
John Feer

Anj said...

He hates Supergirl thinks of her still as a "barnacle" on Superman's mythos and cannot put that disdain aside when assigned to write a story featuring cousin Kara.

Thanks for the post. Did he actually use the word barnacle?

The funny thing is he wrote Kara so wonderfully in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Her scenes in #7 were so powerful and heroic. It is funny to hear about (and subsequently read) his disdain of the character.

Of course, she died in that Crisis #7.

Anj said...

Oh, and definitely count me as another who wants Wolfman as far as possible from ever being able to write Supergirl for any DC title in general really.

Thanks for the post.

I think we are all in agreement that Marv Wolfman should stay away from Supergirl.