As many know, I have wavered with my enthusiasm for this title. I have tried to maintain some sense of optimism and hope around this new Supergirl ... optimism in the face of promotional material and interviews which make me think that DC and the current team are going in the wrong creative direction with the character.
I don't think this panel makes me feel better about the book. And most of that unease is about the logistics of the new costume.
I like the idea of a leotard like uniform. And I like the idea of the more regal appearing high collar on the cape.
But all along I have been wary of the shrinking width of the bottom of her outfit. And I have never been a fan of the kneeless boots. And this panel crystalizes my concerns.
It is a nice action-filled panel, a sleek and tough looking Supergirl ripping the head off of a mecha while debris flies everywhere. And that should be the focus of this panel. The action.
But it isn't.
First off, the lack of knees in the boots has always looked a little off to me. This is the first time I have seen what they will look like from the side and they just don't look right. They certainly don't look functional or comfortable. But the boots are just a minor quibble.
It is really the bottom of the leotard, the lack of coverage on this teenage girl, that is simply distracting. How high is the costume going to be cut? How thin is the lower costume from behind? Is it a thong? Is there a reason why the costume is cut like that outside of the prurient delights of some readers?
But the basic question is 'is that consistent with Supergirl?'
Perhaps worst of all is that it is simply distracting. As I said, I should be looking at this battle-ready Supergirl as she destroys the battlesuits that are attacking her. But instead of focusing on the action aspects of the panel (as seen in the cropped panel above), I was immediately drawn to the sheer amount of skin being shown. I keep wondering why Supergirl would be in something like that. Or, more importantly, why DC thinks that she should look like that. And as a result, I am not drawn into the dynamics of the panel. Doesn't this panel bring you in more, the taut arm holding the wreckage, the look of determination on Kara's face.
Comics work best when the story and the art mesh, become a creative 'one' where each complements the other. Here the art is distracting to whatever action tale is being spun. When I saw this panel, I thought of Mike Deodato's run on Wonder Woman where the titillation of the art simply overwhelmed any story that William Messner-Loebs was trying to say.
This isn't Witchblade. This isn't Bomb Queen. This isn't Empowered. This isn't Grimm's Fairy Tales. Or the new Suicide Squad. Or the upcoming Voodoo. Or any of the other titles where this would fit into the story; there are plenty of them. This is Supergirl, about a teenage girl on a hero's journey. The question is do we need Supergirl to be thematically or visually with the books on that list. Or is there room for something else.
And it just makes me wonder if we are going back in time to the earliest issues of the last volume, where style seemed to overwhelm substance, where there seemed to be too much sizzle and not enough steak. When Supergirl was unlikeable and hardly heroic. Remember that? It didn't work.
"The dream isn't over?" You're right. It suddenly feels like a recurring nightmare. I can only hope that the book is better than this PR material is hinting at.