For some time on this blog, I have been saying that this is a good time to be a Supergirl fan. In fact, I never felt more optimism over the character than I did during 2010. There was so much to be happy about.
And yet suddenly, now, I have this sort of nagging sense of dread. Why do I feel like we are approaching a cliff? Am I too pessimistic? So I figured that I would open up to a poll ... to get some sense from Supergirl's fans. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about where we are going? Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
I tried to delineate some of what is going through my mind below.
Why should I consider the glass half full?
1) 2 + years of Gates/Igle: Let's face it, this was probably the biggest reason for my earlier optimism. I know that their run wasn't universally loved. But I think most people felt that they brought a sense of maturity and respectability to the character. All the nonsensical and insulting stuff from before ... the crystal spikes, the Daddy issues, the high school shooting, the reluctance to be a hero, the overwhelming angst ... it all went away. And then we had a Supergirl trying to be a hero, learning and growing, striving and struggling. Those are the stories I want to read ... and they were done so well.
2) She is a star in JLA: It's almost like being promoted to the major leagues. Suddenly Supergirl was the muscle of the JLA, the S-shield representative on the biggest most important hero team in the DCU. On top of that, James Robinson seemed to have a better grasp of her character than he did in Cry For Justice. Here she was an eager hero, willing to throw herself into the fray.
3) Statues galore: Between October and January, 4 Supergirl statues were solicited: the DVD maquette, the Turner mini-statue, the Dynamic statue, and the Adam Hughes Cover Girl full sized statue. She is going to be a segment of the Superman Family multi-part statue in July. She is scheduled to have another Women Of DC bust statue. And that doesn't even count the Ame Comi stuff I don't like and the Superwoman action figure coming out next month. With all this merchandise coming out, DC must realize they have a star.
4) Smallville: Supergirl has had a decent showing on Smallville in the past. This season she showed up as an actualized hero, even sporting some quasi-uniforms. The Maiden of Might indeed ... maybe there is a spinoff in there somewhere.
5) Superman/Batman: Apocalypse: She stole the show in the movie, growing from a reluctant hero to someone who chose that path. She squared off against Darkseid and ended up being responsible for his defeat. The more squirrely parts of the actual comic book arc was smoothed out. The movie paid her the respect she deserves. An animated Supergirl movie! Who'd have ever thought it was possible?
6) Hot Nick Spencer on book: Even as I lament the loss of Sterling Gates, there should be some optimism that Nick Spencer is coming on board. The guy is everywhere and is being lauded for his work on Jimmy Olsen and Morning Glories. He brings a buzz to the book and maybe that means new readers.
Why should I consider the glass half-empty?
1) Gates/Igle leaving: Not everyone gets Supergirl. These guys did. There were clearly more stories percolating inside them. The preview page in Superman #700 talked into next summer. But suddenly they were gone. I know Igle asked off of the book (at least he said so on his blog). I don't know about Gates. But their stories were the type of Supergirl stories I want to read.
2) Dark Supergirl taking her spot on JLA: Just when it seemed like Supergirl was making her mark in the JLA, I read that she is off the team and 'Dark Supergirl' is taking her place. That would feel like being demoted from the majors and your spot being taken by someone with the same talent but is a jerk, clubhouse nuisance.
3) Potential for Kara as the end villain on Smallville: I know she was great in the 'Supergirl' episode but I am absolutely convinced that she will be Darkseid's vessel on Smallville in the big finale. And until I see differently, I am going to believe this. There were too many hints. It just makes too much bad sense for Smallville not to do it.
4) While major character in Apocalypse, barely mentioned in ads: Yes, she was in many ways the star of the movie, but DC had such little confidence in her carrying the movie that her presence in the film was barely acknowledged in trade ads, previews, or the very cover of the movie. This was a Supergirl movie based on a story arc called Supergirl and it starred Supergirl. And yet, you would never know it if you picked this movie up off the rack.
5) Dwindling sales: Sales continue to suffer from a month to month basis. And now we have a new direction complete with a pink S-shield and no incentive covers. Is there going to be a point where DC thinks they should just pull the plug. I don't think Supergirl will get the same 'no worries' label that Jonah Hex and R.E.B.E.L.S. seem to enjoy.
6) A pink S-shield?
So how do you feel? Please vote!