Friday, May 8, 2009

Review: Supergirl Cosmic Adventures In The Eighth Grade #6


Supergirl:Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade #6 came out this week, the final issue in what has been a wonderful mini-series on many levels. This was one of those happy/sad moments in comic reading. I was happy that a new issue came out and continued to be of high quality. I was sad knowing it was the last issue ... at least for now.

Congratulations to Landry Walker and Eric Jones for collaborating on such a top notch product. This mini-series was truly for all ages, equally enjoyed by me and the three Supergirls at home (aged 10,7, and 5). When you appeal to all those levels of comic fandom, you know you have hit a home run.

One thing I will say about this issue is that it was very dense from a story point of view. As such, I don't know if there was room for the usual amount of Easter Eggs. I only noted a couple although one was the best of the series.


The issue picks up right where the last one ended with the city in shambles and a face-off between the Luthors, the Superman Family, and Mxyzptlk.

Belinda Zee activated the quasi-space communicator in last issue's cliffhanger and we learn that she has been turned into a crystal statue. Despite all of the wickedness she has done to Kara, Supergirl still mourns her perceived death. Well it turns out that Belinda is in some form of stasis and is able to communicate with Kara telepathically. The sudden intrusion of Belinda's thoughts sort of sickens Kara, a quick switch in her emotions now knowing that Belinda has not died.



Lena attempts to attack Supergirl but before she can Mr. Mxyzptlk captures them both and begins to gloat over his grand plan. I love it when super-villains monologue.

Trapped in the 5th dimension, he spied Kara on Argo City and realized her emotional state was perfect for some magical fun. It was Mxyzptlk who nudged Kara into hiding in the rocket, made the rocket land in Metropolis, and had it crash into Luthor's robot.

One thing I did like in these scenes was the use of actual panels from earlier in the comic to show the points where Mxy did his pranks.



But his plans were much more nefarious than just messing around with Supergirl's life. His hope was to absorb emotional energy from her to power a machine he had made. His hope was that Kara's emotional lability would super-charge his device.

Unfortunately, Kara in this comic is an eternal optimist. So despite manipulating the world to conspire against her, Supergirl always saw the bright side. No family ... alien world ... evil doppelganger ... murderous best friend ... nothing changed Kara's outlook on life. And that is one of the things that I love about this comic. I don't think this Supergirl was a 'pie in the sky' dreamer ... she just persevered and saw the goodness in everything and everyone. That *IS* Supergirl!

When Supergirl's emotions weren't aiding his plans anymore, Mxy (as Prinicpal Pyckelmeyer) began manipulating Belinda. He brought her to the peaks and valleys of pre-teen angst: popularity, loneliness, happy, sad, and mad. And she proved to be a great power source for him.

And powered by Belinda's mood swings, his device is now operational, slowly eroding the 3rd dimension and giving Mxyzptlk ultimate power over the entire multiverse. Although not shown here, the collapse of the 3rd dimension is shown as the universe degrading to 2 dimensional crayon drawings. I thought that was a clever touch.


But there is another hero here that Mxyzptlk forgot about. Supragirl and her time-altering powers is still around and is able to thwart the 2D decay because she is infused with 4D (time) energy. She frees both Supergirl and Lena but is forced to shunt back in time. This is where she returns to issue #2's timeline (wearing the crown and scabbard .. remember) only to dissipate.
We also know that Supergirl is still destined to meet Supragirl at some point in the 31st century. Hopefully we get to see that meeting.

With the universe in peril, Supergirl asks Lena to help modify her biological wavelength to chase Mxyzptlk down and stop him.

I love this moment above. A handful of pages ago, Lena was aiming an arm cannon at Supergirl. Here, maybe swayed by Supergirl's complete selflessness ... her willingness to head into unknown danger to save others ... Lena helps Linda and tells her to be careful. Maybe there is more than hatred in Lena after all.


Ahhhh ... and now my absolute favorite Easter Egg of the entire series. Bloated with his new found energy, Mxyzptlk giggles as he sees the multiverse in its entirety. It is his to play with ... that us until he sees a hand 'emerging from all reality'.

This scene has been played out in countless DC Comics. This is the beginning of the DC universe.


It was the Oan Krona who defied Oan law and first gazed at this sight (repeated here in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7). The true owner of that hand has never been revealed in comic history.

That is until now !!!


Yup ... that hand belongs to Supergirl! I don't know if I can tell you how awesome I think that is. I was absolutely giddy reading the comic when I first saw the hand emerging because I knew what was coming. Absolutely perfect!

I wonder if the original art is for sale!


And Supergirl isn't exactly happy with Mxyzptlk. Despite his claims to holding the keys that unlock the 52 layers of hyper-reality (another Easter Egg), Kara makes short work of him. First she has the 'Moon Gang' from her daydreams throttle him. Then she ties him to a giant stick of dynamite which explodes. Just as she is about to vaporize him, Mxy realizes that discretion might be the better part of valor and quietly retreats to the 5th dimension by saying his name backwards.

Well, I have to say it was fun to see Supergirl finally cut loose on someone after all she has been through. This wasn't the awkward shy Supergirl from the first issue. It is clear that she has grown.



The 5th dimension isn't exactly a safe haven for Mxyzptlk though. He drained his comrades of their power in his mad bid for universal domination and they aren't happy. They punish him by banishing him into a 2-dimensional prison.

Look in the background and you'll see an Easter Egg: a couple of other well known DC magical 5th dimension imps: Bat-Mite and Qwsp.


When her 10th dimensional powers wear off, Supergirl returns to Earth only to find a seriously injured Lena telling everyone to beware the red skies, a nice reference to the Crisis-y feel of this issue.

I also like the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 pieta pose here with Supergirl holding Lena.


Lex is able to rig a machine to drain off the destructive energies in Lena's body. When Lena awakens she tells Supergirl that she is her best friend. In fact, like many adolescents, she couldn't explain why she was so angry on the inside.

Well it turns out she was conflicted between her loyalty for family and friends. And when Lex saw that her loyalty to Linda was stronger, that Lena was rejecting hatred, he had to let her go. In essence, Supergirl robbed Lex of his last loving family member.


The ending is a nice capstone to the series.

First off, Superman, in talking with Kara, says that if Mxyzptlk returns that 'we can handle him'. 'We can ...'. Basically he is welcoming Supergirl into super-heroics. She isn't going to be tucked away at a boarding school any more.

Superman also gives Supergirl a key which will open up quasi-space and allow her to return to Argo. But rather than jump at the chance (something I think she would have done early in the series), she says she'll return later and zooms off to protect the planet. Nice!

I had to include the credits to make sure I thanked everyone on the creative team.

There are so many things I liked about this series but the thing I liked the most was the maturation of Supergirl over the course of the series. Reading her in this issue as opposed to the first issue, you can see how different Supergirl acts ... confident, strong, heroic. And I loved to hear Mxyzptlk discuss her optimism. Regardless of Easter Eggs, humor, and my love of Belinda Zee, this comic was about the characters and personalities. It is the strength of that characterization that made this such a great book.

As for primo Supergirl at home, she also thought it was great. She laughed out loud at the 'moon gang' bit. She giggled when Kara asked herself what she would do with a super-horse.

Overall grade (issue): A
Overall grade (primo Supergirl, issue): A
Overall series (primo Supergirl and me): A

I can only hope that a sequel happens. Come on DC !! Do the right thing!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I LOVED
LOVED
LOVED this book..This is the payback I finally got for all those years of wandering in the post-crisis wilderness holding firm to my Pro-Kara bona-fides.
Thanks to all...This is one TPB I will be buying ASAP.

BTW when SG picks up Mxyie and studies him like a gnat WHAT Is the dealio with her pupils...Look at em' if'n yew don't believe me.
Mind you I think there was some headlong clunkiness to the script (Kara becomes omnipotent in one quick panel) but they had to wrap things up quick and stuff like that is to be expected.
The heck with Supergirl returning to Argo, I say Zor and Alura should visit her on Earth...Pick up some supplies for Argos...Check in with her teachers etc.
"Supergirl: Amazing Adventures on Parent's Day!"
Think on it!!!
Also loved the panel where the skinny 8th grader flexes her biceps and SHATTERS the kryptonite chains, nice allusion to that Neal Adams "Kryptonite Nevermore" cover back in what, 1971?
I too want more, another mini at the very least, something in this style in "Wednesday Comics...or (dare I say it?) an Animated Series???
:D
A Fella can dream can't he?

John Feer

Nikki said...

Who must Supergirl fans pester at Comic con now that Jann Jones has moved on?

I just knew that Morrison had it wrong with Superman as the 'founder' of the multiverse. Deep down I always knew she was their god, I mean she died for the DCU right? Then she rose from the dead to her disciple Linda Danvers and the faithful Deadman for a Christmas miracle! :p

Anj said...

BTW when SG picks up Mxyie and studies him like a gnat WHAT Is the dealio with her pupils...Look at em' if'n yew don't believe me.Thanks for the post.

I noticed the square pupils but also saw Mxy had the same. Probably some result of the dimensional energy she had absorbed.


Mind you I think there was some headlong clunkiness to the script (Kara becomes omnipotent in one quick panel) but they had to wrap things up quick and stuff like that is to be expected.I agree. This 2 issue story could have easily been 4 issues. All the more reason for this to become an on-going.

Also loved the panel where the skinny 8th grader flexes her biceps and SHATTERS the kryptonite chains, nice allusion to that Neal Adams "Kryptonite Nevermore" cover back in what, 1971?I can't believe I brain cramped and didn't see that!!! That is one of my favorite issues ever!

I'll post a side by side soon!

Anj said...

Who must Supergirl fans pester at Comic con now that Jann Jones has moved on?Thanks for the post.

I don't know a specific name. I was thinking about a general letter to DC.

I just knew that Morrison had it wrong with Superman as the 'founder' of the multiverse. Deep down I always knew she was their god, I mean she died for the DCU right? Then she rose from the dead to her disciple Linda Danvers and the faithful Deadman for a Christmas miracle! :pExactly!

Awesome!

Landry Walker said...

Two other Easter egg type things:

Lena (in her deeply injured state) references the Space Brain, the source of the Silver Age Lena Thorul's psychic abilities. Cosmic Supergirl, just at the end of her confrontation with Mxyzptlk, is shown to have wings of fire. Didn't come out quite as clearly as I had hoped, but space was tight.

@John Feer:

So how many panels should it take to properly illustrate transcending to a state of complete omnipotence? :p

@Nikki

The phrase in my head that I chose not to use for the series was: Supergirl: The most important girl in the multiverse!

It's a bit awkward and weird, so I discarded it. But the underlying concept behind the description remains valid for this story.

TalOs said...

Landry, my sincerest heart felt thanks for being able to give us this l'il gem of a mini title for it will be forever treasured for years to come (including it's eventual trade treatment) and I just can't thank you as well as all involved enough for giving us this pure fun ride when said and done!

Sincerest thanks,

Anthony Arfuso

P.S. will be sure to be praying and keeping our fingers crossed that our letters result in DC having you able to make this an ongoing or at the very least be able to give us a sequel! BD

Anonymous said...

So how many panels should it take to properly illustrate transcending to a state of complete omnipotence? :p

Well, I dunno about how many panels it takes, but it sure does require an ongoing series to execute the notion properly.
:D
"Supergirl: Daring New Adventures in the Audio Visual Club"
:D
John Feer

Mauricio said...

Yep, nice issue, hopw they do more, btw, check this out, there was some showing of Eric Jones artwork:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/k-dj/3503807034/

Anj said...

Lena (in her deeply injured state) references the Space Brain, the source of the Silver Age Lena Thorul's psychic abilities. Cosmic Supergirl, just at the end of her confrontation with Mxyzptlk, is shown to have wings of fire. Didn't come out quite as clearly as I had hoped, but space was tight.Thanks for the post, as always!

Looks like I'll have to do a second Easter Egg post after all.

The Kryptonite chains and space brains ones kill me. I should have picked up on those.

Thanks again for a great series. And please let us know about your next projects (even non-Supergirl). I can only hope that a new Supergirl series happens. Would brisk trade sales help out?

Gene said...

Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade is fun to read because its mixture of excitement and emotional sincerity makes it fresh and original.

The final scenes between Lena and Kara were very satisfying. The end result is a worthy contribution to Superman lore by demonstrating how Lex's undying hatred cost him the love of someone very close to him.

One minor complaint was the sudden appearance of the key to Quasi-Space on the last page. It left me wondering how it actually worked and if it allowed Kara to travel back and forth between dimensions, or just a one way trip? The key reminded me of Dorothy's ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz.

My favorite panel is the one after she asks what she will do with Comet. You can see her mentally checking off all that she had experienced in the past six issues before she asks about Mxyzptlk.

I hope DC makes Cosmic Adventures an ongoing series because it provides excitement and a strong emotional bond for its audience.

You will never go hungry with us Landry, we'll either be buying your comics or buy you lunch if we ever cross paths with you further down the time stream.

Gene said...

John Feer: "This is the payback I finally got for all those years of wandering in the post-crisis wilderness holding firm to my Pro-Kara bona-fides."

Isn't it nice that Kara has finally come full circle after nearly 25 years by saving the Multiverse instead of dying for it?

I also love your idea for an animated series. Perhaps Bruce Timm at Warner Brothers Animation can make this arc into a direct to DVD animated movie?

Saranga said...

Landry said: "Cosmic Supergirl, just at the end of her confrontation with Mxyzptlk, is shown to have wings of fire"

Oh yeah! I didn't spot that earlier, probably due to sever brain ache this morning.

May I put in a request for more Streaky-as-Kitten?
2D Supes vs Lex was awesome. The panel where Kara is holding Mxy like a gnat was very very powerful.

I don't think I got any of the easter eggs in this issue, so thanks for explaining Anj and Landry, tis much appreciated. :-)

Anj said...

The final scenes between Lena and Kara were very satisfying. The end result is a worthy contribution to Superman lore by demonstrating how Lex's undying hatred cost him the love of someone very close to him.

One minor complaint was the sudden appearance of the key to Quasi-Space on the last page. It left me wondering how it actually worked and if it allowed Kara to travel back and forth between dimensions, or just a one way trip? The key reminded me of Dorothy's ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
Thanks for the post.

I agree that the last scene with Lex where he 'loses' Lena was powerful. His 'take me back to prison' said through grit teeth was a great moment.

As for the 'quasi-key' it did have a deus ex machina feel to it, but I think these whole last 2 issues have felt pretty stuffed. I almost wish this could have been stretched an extra issue or 2.

Anj said...

May I put in a request for more Streaky-as-Kitten?
2D Supes vs Lex was awesome. The panel where Kara is holding Mxy like a gnat was very very powerful.

I don't think I got any of the easter eggs in this issue, so thanks for explaining Anj and Landry, tis much appreciated. :-)
Thanks so much for the post.

I also loved Streaky who despite being de-powered was still trying to claw Mxy. Too perfect.

Glad you enjoyed the Easter egg talk too!

Landry Walker said...

"You will never go hungry with us Landry, we'll either be buying your comics or buy you lunch if we ever cross paths with you further down the time stream."

Those are very kind words. I am genuinely touched. Thank you.