Supergirl #48 was released this week and was fantastic.
After a year of stories tightly connected to the other super-titles, I have been craving a pure Supergirl story and that's just what this was.
As much as I have enjoyed the Superwoman/Reactron/Alura/Thara/New Krypton issues, I have missed what we first saw way back in Supergirl #34, the first Gates/Igle issue. I have missed reading about Kara and her world without someone else's story butting in a bit. Don't misunderstand me ... those are great issues that I loved.
But this was like a breath of fresh air. It was great to see Lana and Inspector Henderson and a non-New Krypton based villain.
The book opens up with Inspector Henderson investigating a crime in Suicide Slum on the corner of Austen and Byrne (a nice little 'shout out' to some comic professionals).
It is an eerie scene as Henderson and his men arrive seconds too late. After surviving an explosion of magical fire, the police find the dead body of a woman, her body covered in runes.
It is a good opening scene ... short, dense, powerful, creepy. In particular, this last panel with the victim's body awkwardly lying on the floor, bent like a rag doll, her face twisted in terror, her skin covered in magical text ... that's just eerie.
The smashing of the fruit bowl is a little strong ... I mean its Supergirl's fruit bowl too.
That said, I can understand Supergirl's anger. Despite Lana's claim that she didn't want to burden Kara more, Kara feels she should have been told. I like how Lana brings up that she didn't want to bring back the feelings Kara had when she tried and failed in the 'Saving Thomas' arc. It was a nice little nod to continuity.
I also think Kara's anger may stem from feeling guilty that she didn't notice Lana's condition. Supergirl has been so busy with everything else in her life that she hasn't been there for her friend.
At least we finally get some answers as to what is ailing Lana. Well ... more like what it isn't. It isn't a typical cancer or infectious disease. It is something new, something effecting Lana's immune system, something even the best doctors in Metropolis can't figure out. Anyone with any new ideas as to what this is?
Before Kara can process all this, she is called to the Metropolis Police headquarters.
It seems that Inspector Henderson needs some super-help with the case he is working on. I really like that he trusts and feels like he can count on Supergirl for help. It is just another tangible way that you see how much Supergirl has grown over this year. The police see her as a hero and an ally.
I am also glad that Henderson addresses the "Metropolis Three' incident. Mon-El and The Guardian have backed up Supergirl's claims of innocence. Of course, Kryptonians are still illegal on Earth as per the UN edict.
As always, it is the small things in comics that often make me the happiest. I love how Henderson's board includes the cover of and a panel from PAD's Supergirl #11, a panel from Supergirl #34, and even a still from the recent Superman/Batman Public Enemies movie.
The Banshee is looking to rid herself of the curse placed on her by her ancestors. She can rid herself of it by finding 7 family heirlooms.
In the past, Hendeson was involved in a case where an odd coin was found in the murder victim's hand. The police officer who was in charge of the case, Captain Tanner, was a friend of Henderson's. Tanner was scarred by the case and ended up commiting suicide. Henderson vowed to find out the significance of the coin and solve the case.
Unfortunately, he found out the significance the hard way. It is indeed one of Banshee's heirlooms. And she hasn't been able to find it because the coin hides within the people who have them.
Henderson removes a glove and shows the coin embedded in his palm, the rest of his hand covered in the same glyphs the earlier victim had on her body. The Banshee was able to recover the coin from that murder victim and now she wants the Inspector's.
The Banshee screams and deafens Kara. In a nice twist, Gates has the last scene unfold just with Supergirl's inner monologue. She cannot hear Henderson or the Silver Banshee. And as readers, we only see empty word balloons. Is he telling her to do something? Warning her about something? It definitely builds the suspense of the scene.
Kara sees a box on Henderson's desk she thinks must hold another heirloom and grabs it.
And then something incredible happens ...
Whew ... wow ...
What a phenomenal issue.
First off, this was clearly a Supergirl issue. She was in every scene but the first. The story revolved around her. No one else's story superceded or interrupted hers.
Second, it was great to catch up with the parts of the book that Gates initiated but have been put off for a while .. the Lana/Linda relationship, the burgeoning friendship with Inspector Henderson.
Third, the Silver Banshee is a great villain for Supergirl's rogues gallery. I like the new wrinkle to the Banshee back story. And that cliffhanger was unexpected and intriguing!
Add to that the best art I have seen by Fernando Dagnino and you had the recipe for a great issue. Dagnino's work here seemed softer, more fluid, more polished.
And next issue we have the end of Lana's story and the double sized fiftieth issue after that!
Overall grade: A+/A