Friday, January 2, 2009

2008 Year in Review And Top 10 Supergirl Comic Moments

Happy New Year to everyone! Welcome to 2009, hopefully my first full calendar year of blogging!

In looking over the internet and blogosphere, it seems that an end of year review and 'Best of' list is near required writing. A year is a long time so this is a somewhat lengthy post.

Overall I would say that 2008 was a very good year for the character of Supergirl. While it began slow, it certainly ended on an upward trend. The first half of the year was notable for the finale of the 'Saving Thomas' storyline (an arc I actually liked quite a bit) and stagnant sales. However, in the second half we saw Kara taking on a bigger presence in the Superman titles as well as a revitalized main title by a great new creative team, a key role in Final Crisis, and a strong presence in the Johnny DC line. On top of that creative explosion in comics, we had Kara play a role on Smallville as well as continued merchandising of action figures and statues.

And so ... onto my favorite comic moments of 2008. It is important to note that most of these moments do come from the latter half of the year. This is not an indication of short term memory but more a sign of how greatly things have changed.

Honorable Mentions: Any Tiny Titans moments, especially those that feature Streaky. Kara marshalling forces in the Fortress of Solitude in Final Crisis #4 (October).



Number 10: "The Return of the Superman Family" - Action Comics #871 (November)



The world seems to be holding its breath as the US president meets with a delegation from New Krypton when Doomsday suddenly arrives. Rather than shrinking from duty, Kara is the first one to spring to action. As she puts him in a headlock, she says 'you're about to meet the Superman family', a simple statement of the new solidarity between the super cousins as well as a nice nod to the Silver Age Super family concept.


Number 9: "The Death of Zor-El" - Supergirl #36 (December)


We had just met the man a few months earlier when Superman rescued Kandor. Gone was the 'crystal hell, kill Kal-El' monster we had been forced to accept for several years. This was a more classic Zor-El, a loving father, a brilliant scientist. But just as quickly as we met him he was taken away from us.

This whole scene (as written by Sterling Gates and drawn by Jamal Igle) perfectly captures the anguish Kara is feeling. She had thought her parents were dead. She had just been re-united with them. And now her father is dead in her arms. How this loss will affect Kara is something I want to see in the coming year.


Number 8: "Supergirl Arrives" - Cosmic Adventures In The Eighth Grade #1 (December)


It's is a scene we have seen played out a number of times, a rocket from Argo arrives on Earth carrying Supergirl to Earth. But no prior versions better showed how disconcerting it would be to come from an advanced society and land in our paprazzi fueled world. Cosmic Adventures looks to be a great comic comparing the foibles of adolescence to the culture shock of being a teen from Krypton dealing with cliques on Earth. Life won't be easy, but Kara will survive.

And reporters calling Kara an 'emergency secret weapon'? Wonderful.


Number 7: "Taking Out Reactron" - Supergirl #26 (February)


I was thrilled to see the return of Reactron in the early parts of 'Saving Thomas'. He seemed to be the first villain in a new rogues gallery.

After first being fascinated by Reactron's powers, then being nuked by him, Kara decides to turn the tables. She engages him, grabbing a 'star bomb' he is about to employ and ramming it down his throat, immediately incapacitating him.

Kelley Puckett wrote a vastly better Kara than the Joe Kelly issues which preceded him. His Kara was idealistic and pro-active albeit with the curiosity and impetuousness of youth. I thought he captured the spirit of Kara nicely.


Number 6: 'Say Hello to Linda Lang' - Supergirl #34 (October)



No decision by Gates and Igle seemed to be more polarizing than the decision to give Kara a secret identity. As for me, I applauded it. The edgy Kara from the Kelly issues just seemed disengaged from real life and that distanced the character from me. That Kara - the rave dancer, the bar hopper, the unbelievably reluctant hero - was sort of unlikeable.

The simple decision to have Kara interact with people on a more personal level, by taking on the identity of Linda as opposed to constantly being in the costume, it humanizes her.


Number 5: "Implants" - Action Comics #868 (August)


Perhaps the opening volley of the Cat/Kara feud. In the moments before this panel, men at the Planet are falling all over themselves to get Cat's favor. In comes Supergirl who immediately becomes the center of attention. Then after calling Cat 'ma'am', she points out the 'weird plastics' in Cat's body. All of the above irks Grant to no end. But the befuddled look on Kara's face as she points out the implants as well as Cat's angry retort is just great.

It was funny and cringe-worthy, sort of a moment from The Office. It was clear that Geoff Johns had a good idea of who Kara should be.


Number 4: "A Day Without Sirens" - DCU Holiday Special (December)


I just recently reviewed this story so won't go into details.

The fact that Kara would take part in this crazy plan to bring hope to Gotham, the fact she did it quietly and anonymously, the idea she would give so much of herself ... well it was a great capstone to 2008. Gone was the Supergirl who seemed to roll her eyes when asked to help out.


Number 3: "Note to Cat" - Supergirl #34 (October)


Supergirl #34 was the first issue by Gates and Igle and represented a soft reboot for the character. It opens with Cat Grant writing an editorial which seemed to quantify all the things that I did not like about the way Supergirl was being portrayed in comics.

At first Kara is despondent about the editorial. She doesn't understand how people could misunderstand her so much. How did things go so wrong. But rather than wallow in angst, Kara decides to re-focus and prove Grant wrong. This sly little note Supergirl slips onto Grant's desk shows a new determination in her character. She is a hero and she isn't going anywhere.

This was my favorite moment from an overall excellent issue.


Number 2: "Kara's Apartment" - Final Crisis #3 (August)

In one panel, Grant Morrison injected more character in Kara than we had seen in the first 2 years of her title. She paints. She sews. She plays guitar. She is designing new costumes. She is a cat person and loves her little Streaky. And if called upon, she'll be drafted to fight the hordes of Apokolips.

We had all read how there would be a showdown between Kara and Mary Marvel in Final Crisis. We had heard about Grant Morrison's love of Supergirl, how he felt she was sweet, dedicated, and heroic. And then we saw this. It just encapsulated my feelings about who Kara should be.

All that in one panel!!

And .....

The number one Supergirl moment from 2008:

"Kara Saves Earth!" - Action Comics #871 (October)

How great was this! First off we get a Supergirl-centric variant cover for Action Comics.

Then we get the story. Geoff Johns had done a great job of showing what a place of dread Brainiac held in Supergirl's heart. Brainiac was a city-killer ... the equivalent of a Kryptonian boogey man. He had stolen friends of Kara from her. She would shake with fear even from seeing an inactivated probe.

But she had to put those fears behind her when Brainiac shows up on Earth and fires a solar aggressor missile towards the sun. She needs to save Earth. Sure, it takes a little chuck in the arm from Superman to rouse her from her terror. But look at her resolve, her courage.


She streaks towards the sun and intercepts the missile, flinging it away with disdain. The look of satisfaction on her face is amazing and appropriate. There is a 'new' Supergirl now; someone who will overcome her fears, put herself at risk, act heroic, and succeed.

Kara saves Earth! Just a powerful moment.

Anyways, that's the year as I saw it. I would love to hear other fan's memorable Supergirl moments. Did I miss one? Was I completely off base?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I swear to ghod, Gary Frank must have a tidy collection of Laura Vandervoort's headshots taped to the side of his drawing board when he sketches kousin Kara...am I the only one seeing this???

:D

John Feer

Heath Edwards said...

yay 2008 and supergirl. its been a good year, and we only look forward to more up, up, and away :)...

TalOs said...

Well said Anj! :D

It truly HAS definitely been a year to remember for our favorite girl indeed come 08! :D

And now that latest RIH issue has officially given us back Linda Danvers I think it may even be a BIGGER year for the 2 Supergirls in 09 henceforth too! Here's truly hoping that our Kara finally encounters Linda where Linda passes on her "Matrix" era themed costume to her to wear henceforth while Linda dons the mantle of "Flamebird" to sync up with the whole "New Krypton" arcs time line! :D

VIVA KARA AND LINDA IN 09!!!

Nikki said...

great list!
I particularly love tiny titans. I bought some issue's from art's site and got sketch cards of supergirl, streaky and brainiac 5 with them. So cute.

Anonymous said...

Honorable Mention: Laura Vandervoort as Kara Zor El on Smallville.
DESPITE the obvious emnity of the writers and producers and the torpid attitude of the show's cast, she shone as Supergirl proving once again the character was superior to the venue.

John Feer

Anj said...

great list!
I particularly love tiny titans. I bought some issue's from art's site and got sketch cards of supergirl, streaky and brainiac 5 with them. So cute.


Thanks for the post.

I think Tiny Titans is a hoot. Nice grab of some original art!

Anj said...

Honorable Mention: Laura Vandervoort as Kara Zor El on Smallville.
DESPITE the obvious emnity of the writers and producers and the torpid attitude of the show's cast, she shone as Supergirl proving once again the character was superior to the venue.


Good shout out to Vandervoort.

I only ranked comics moments, but she did play Kara as well as she could have given the scripts.

And yes, I see Frank drawing Kara as Vandervoort like he draws Supes as Christopher Reeves.

TalOs said...

Anj said...

Good shout out to Vandervoort.

My sentiments exactly! :D

And yes, I see Frank drawing Kara as Vandervoort like he draws Supes as Christopher Reeves.

Hmmm, at first I was truly hopping that Frank would draw her in Helen Slater's likeness really but I think that may be saved for Superman Secret Origin #1 cover by the looks of it's Lara being depicted there. (At least I truly PRAY this is to be the case here! :D)