Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review: Supergirl #50 Part 2


The second story in Supergirl #50 was also very good and I therefore felt it deserved it's own post.

Titled 'The Hero's Journey' and a short but stuffed 6 pages long, it reminded me exactly why I am a Supergirl fan.

It is apparent that writers Jake Black and Helen Slater (!) just 'get' Supergirl. They understand the draw and the core of the character. I shouldn't be surprised. Of course, Slater played Supergirl and has a personal grasp of the character. And Jake Black wrote the Supergirl magazine for the Eaglemoss lead figurine and the Smallville DVD documentary on the character.

If I haven't said it plainly before, I am absolutely tickled that Helen Slater is embracing her place in Supergirl history and taking part in the current character's incarnation.



The concept of the story is deceptively simple. Ron Troupe is hosting a 'Meet the Press' style opinion show and the topic of the day is Supergirl. Is she a hero or a menace?

Acting as host, Troupe at first seems pretty unbiased. He takes more of a moderator's role. Much more opinionated is guest Cat Grant who continues to try to besmirch Supergirl's character.

This format affords Black and Slater the opportunity to explore Supergirl's career and the different ways her actions have been regarded by those around her, by the public.

And much of Kara's history is explored. So we see her fight with Power Girl from way back in Supergirl #1. Remember those early issues where it seemed Supergirl only fought other heroes? No wonder she could be construed as a menace.

And we revisit her brief time with the Titans, a stint that ended when an argument with Wonder Girl drove Supergirl away. (I think the issue where Supergirl quits the Titans is the first time Jamal Igle drew the character.)



And Cat even brings up Supergirl's failure in saving Thomas Price from cancer. Surprisingly, this failure is the one that seems to be brought up the most. I wonder if Kelley Puckett knew his story would have such an impact on the character.

When the preview pages of this story were released, I hoped we would hear from Mrs. Price herself. It would be interesting to hear what that character would have to say about Supergirl now that some time has passed. That said, I am glad she was at least mentioned. The 'Saving Thomas' storyline was a decent arc and showcased that lengths that Supergirl will go in order to achieve her goals.


Cat describes Supergirl as irresponsible, like a starlet famous more for being in rehab than for her acting roles.

At that point, Troupe allows a counterpoint to Cat's diatribe. A local expert on anthropology tells Ron that Supergirl is on the hero's journey and is at a point where she needs a mentor to help her. With that we are treated to a nice panel by Cliff Chiang reimagining the 'deep conversation with Superman' scene from Supergirl #34.



But the expert isn't sure if Superman is the right person to guide Supergirl.

I would say that he is obliquely referencing Lana but given the prior story in this issue, maybe not.



As I said before, Slater and Black really delve into this Supergirl's history in this brief story. So we hear from Brooke and Sara from earlier stories ... characters that Supergirl has helped immensely. These characters weren't being attacked by super-villains. They were people with personal problems that Supergirl helped with. They show that Supergirl is more than just a super-strong left hook.

And as a fan, I appreciate this look back. The early years of this title were difficult ... uneven. I am glad that the current Supergirl creators, whether it's Slater/Black or Gates/Igle, aren't just sweeping those stories under the rug.



My favorite part of the story comes right at the end as Ron Troupe signs off and sheds his impartiality. He succinctly states why I am a Supergirl fan.

He starts out by saying she has value. It is a simple statement. But one I sometimes feel I need to defend to other comic fans.

I had to include this panel in the review. It is too good not to share.



Troupe continues. He says Supergirl is trying to find her way, making mistakes but growing. In essence, she is on the hero's journey (hence the title).

On this blog, I have talked about how I think Supergirl is 'becoming'. She is becoming a great hero, but there will be bumps in the road. She learns and matures. That's why I love the character.

And I like that Linda Lang saw the show and appreciates Ron's sentiment. Supergirl needs to know there are people out there who support her.

So this is a great story for many reasons. One, it shows that other writers outside of Gates know the road this character is on. As a Supergirl fan, what could be better than knowing that Helen Slater is 'one of us'.

Second, for any new readers that bought this as their first Supergirl issue, the story gives a quick review of her current place in the DCU ... underappreciated a bit, heroic. But while this story is accessible to new readers it has nods for the more dedicated fan.

And lastly, it boasts Cliff Chiang art. I have gushed about Chiang's art before. I think he is so economical with his line work, his art conveying so much information so easily.

To see things like a couple of extra face lines on Cat Grant which scream 'trying to look young', to see a crooked eyebrow and a half-frown showing how distraught Supergirl is in the #34 homage panel, or the joy exuding from her as she is flying above Metropolis ... it's all there and not overdone.

It's sweet and can be appreciated by both new and established readers. It was a nice capstone for this over-sized anniversary issue.

Overall grade: A-

20 comments:

Saranga said...

i love chiang's art.

Manu Mane said...

This flight picture is beautiful...

Gene said...

It was a great piece.
I love of irony of Cat Grant accusing Supergirl of being a misguided starlet while wearing that outfit on national TV.

Jake Black said...

Thanks for the kind words, Anj. It was a labor of love.

Just a behind the scenes bit: the flight panel that everyone seems to love (it's my favorite in the story) was modeled after Helen's flight ballet in the movie. And the first shot of Supergirl on the screen was taken from the first Laura Vandervoort PR pic from SG's Smallville debut.

Just thought you'd be interested.

Bubbly Bunny said...

I really loved this because it also reminded me of why I love Supergirl. Also it gives me hope this isn't the last time we see Lana and Linda. Like maybe Supergirl left to keep Lana safe. Then when everything is over Kara will become Linda full time.....I hope. Like it sort of makes sense for Kara to have a master plan in this entire New Krypton arc.

TalOs said...

Man how I equally and truly adored Jake and Helen's 6 page collab theme piece which even included some of Supergirl's past supporting cast members making a surprising cameo too.

@Jake - I immediantly recognized both Smallville's Laura and Helen's "ariel ballet" Easter eggs that were included (very cool by the way) but was that depiction of Supergirl ready to take on Superwoman based on the scene in the movie where Supergirl smashes through the mirror at super speed with Bianca ducking for cover?

Regardless sincere thanks to you and Helen for giving us the 6 page gem! :-D

mathematicscore said...

While I enjoyed the whole issue, I too was taken aback by the ending of the main story. On second examination, it is a genuine story developement in an odd setting, likely due to editorial/larger story requirements; one of the drawbacks of the shared universe.

That said, this ending story was exactly the palette cleanser required, and more than that, the kind of thing I really enjoy in comics. Ron Troupe is awesome. Even despite having his marriage and baby erased, and his former wife now insane, he still rules.

Anj said...

I love of irony of Cat Grant accusing Supergirl of being a misguided starlet while wearing that outfit on national TV.

Great point! I guess I am so used to Cat dressing inappropriately that it doesn't faze me any more. LOL.

Anj said...

Thanks for the kind words, Anj. It was a labor of love.

Just a behind the scenes bit: the flight panel that everyone seems to love (it's my favorite in the story) was modeled after Helen's flight ballet in the movie. And the first shot of Supergirl on the screen was taken from the first Laura Vandervoort PR pic from SG's Smallville debut.


Thanks for the post!

I love Supergirl Easter eggs so thanks for pointing them out. I bet Helen Slater loved seeing Chiang's interpretation of the ballet scene!

Hope I wasn't too verbose in my discussion! I really liked the issue and can occasionally wax philosophical about Supergirl.

Anj said...

Thanks for the kind words, Anj. It was a labor of love.

Actually, I'd love to ask a question.

How did you and Helen Slater actually interact on the story. Did you talk about the story format and then pitch it? Did one of you plot and the other script? I am a glutton for behind the scenes creative details.

I hope she knows how beloved she is amongst the Supergirl crowd.

Anj said...

Also it gives me hope this isn't the last time we see Lana and Linda. Like maybe Supergirl left to keep Lana safe. Then when everything is over Kara will become Linda full time.....I hope. Like it sort of makes sense for Kara to have a master plan in this entire New Krypton arc.

I think most people hope that the Lana/Linda story isn't tossed away and is eventually revisited.

This hero's journey is far from over!

Anj said...

That said, this ending story was exactly the palette cleanser required, and more than that, the kind of thing I really enjoy in comics. Ron Troupe is awesome. Even despite having his marriage and baby erased, and his former wife now insane, he still rules.

Thanks for the post.

Palate cleanser is a great way to descrobe it. It was a very sweet story ... the perfect way to end the story.

Has the Troupe/Lane marriage been retconned? I assumed yes but I might be wrong.

TalOs said...

Apparently DC are officially keeping Lana and Pete being divorced and having a son (who's name is "Clark Ross") in main continuity yet Ron and Lucy's own marriage and child have been rectoned out of existence.

Jake Black said...

Hey Anj,

I discuss how Helen and I worked together a bit on jakeblack.com

And as far as the Ron/Lucy marriage--no one said it was retconned away (in fact, we specifically discussed it before including Ron in the story). Keep reading! ;-)

Jason said...

Wow...this seems like it was a nice, touching story that really paid tribute to Supergirl. Thanks, Jake and Helen, for putting together this story and sharing it with us. Thanks for the easter eggs. Thanks for stopping by this very blog to talk about the easter eggs and some of the behind the scenes work. I wish Helen could come on here and comment. Jake, if you are still in touch with her, it would be great if you could convey to her how much the fans appreciated this story and still embrace her as the original onscreen Supergirl. And now I'm intrigued about the Ron/Lucy marriage!!

TalOs said...

@ Jake: so Lucy is a divorced U.S. government agent evil psycho "Super mom" who Ron has sole custody of their child as of now then? o_0

I also whole heartedly 2nd passing on just how truly loved Helen is world over by us Supergirl fans and would be sincerely honored if she were able to take time out of hectic schedule in order to kindly willing to interact with us even. :-)

Anonymous said...

I was expecting something a little more elaborate from Ms. Slater & co.
What we got was a visual recreation of the sentiments she expressed in her intro to the "Who is Superwoman' TPB.
However I won't carp at it, I happen to agree with those sentiments wholeheartedly.
I'm glad Helen Slater has made her peace with Kousin Kara, the character is the stronger for it. And anyway as of 2-22-2010, 8:07pm Helen Slater is STILL the only actress in living memory with the guts to wear the costume with pride!
No small achievement IMHO...

John Feerr

Anj said...

I discuss how Helen and I worked together a bit on jakeblack.com

And as far as the Ron/Lucy marriage--no one said it was retconned away (in fact, we specifically discussed it before including Ron in the story). Keep reading! ;-)


Thanks for the post.

How interesting that Ms. Slater wanted the Titans in ... maybe as a way to show she really is a team player.

And thanks for the Ron/Lucy info!

Anj said...

I also whole heartedly 2nd passing on just how truly loved Helen is world over by us Supergirl fans and would be sincerely honored if she were able to take time out of hectic schedule in order to kindly willing to interact with us even.

I agree with everyone in saying how happy I am that Helen Slater seems interested in the character.

Hopefully she can feel the love!

Mart said...

Ron and Lucy may still have been married? Now that's interesting, I assumed that the Steve Trevoring (ageing up) of Ron was a visual cue that he and Lucy never got together. Plus, this Lucy is very different from the one we've had post-Crisis.

Given her advanced army rank, it might make sense for Lucy to now be the older of the Lane sisters.