Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 Year In Review Part Two: Top Supergirl Moments: Honorable Mentions

I have to say that these end of the year reviews are both a lot of fun to put together and some of the more difficult posts to put together.

2011 was an interesting year for Supergirl. There were 2 creative teams on the old volume. There was the relaunch and the DCnU. She was the muscle in the Justice League and suffered through another bout of 'Dark Supergirl'-ness. She was a member of the Superman Family as it fought through the Reign of Doomsday. And she continued to pop up in other places like Tiny Titans, DC Retro-Active, and even the DC Universe Online Legends comics. It's great that Supergirl has been such an active character in the DCU.

And that made it unbelievably tough to cone down to just the Top Ten Moments. As in the past, I have some Honorable Mentions, the events that almost made the cut to Top Ten.

# 5 - 'Red Skies' - DC Retro-Active Superman 1980s
With the DCnU around the corner, DC put out a number of Retro-Active books, a look back at some of their key characters in the prior decades. Superman got a Retro-Active treatments for the 70s, 80s, and 90s and Supergirl appeared in the first two. It was great to see those older versions of Supergirl, both in attitude and costume, one last time.

Marv Wolfman wrote the 1980s Retro-Active and the story revolved around the Monitor testing Superman's will, his resolve to continue to fight when faced with overwhelming despair. Superman is shown all the parts of the grim and gritty DCU that would happen in the near future. And then he is shown the death of Supergirl in the Crisis. That was the key moment in testing Superman. Would the Man of Steel wilt in the face of Supergirl's death. It did the opposite, making Superman want to fight even harder.

In this scene, Superman calls Kara to talk after waking from the visions the Monitor barraged him with. I have to say, it was interesting to see Wolfman, the man who killed Supergirl, acknowledge that her death would be a monumentally huge event for Superman. And it was fun to see this Supergirl again, albeit briefly, hanging out in her pajamas and petting her cat.

#4 - 'Affection For Humanity' - Action Comics #904
The Reign of Doomsday was the last story arc for the old Superman and the old Action Comics. And I will admit, I enjoyed it more that I thought I would. It was a wild, action filled story with crazy fight sequences even if some of the plot points were muddled.

Supergirl had some very nice moments in Paul Cornell's issues, enough to merit a couple of honorable mentions. Throughout the arc, and in this scene, Supergirl is shown to be extremely strong and a leader. And she often voices her feeling about how she is fighting for more than just herself. She cares about her family and the people of Earth. She isn't going to let anything hurt them ... not if she can help it. And that includes even unstoppable villains like Doomsday. Just pure heroics here.

#3 - 'The Meaning Of Heroism' - Action Comics #904
Reign of Doomsday was also picking up on some of the aftermath of Grounded (which was churning to a close in Superman). In Grounded, Superman was constantly questioning himself ... his role on Earth, his duty to the people of Earth, his purpose. I love how Supergirl can see through all that nonsense and set Superman straight.

When Superman wonders if he should continue to be a role model to people if it sometimes leads to tragedy (like the death of the Eradicator). Supergirl states the obvious, personal sacrifice for the betterment of all is a good thing, it is what it means to be a hero. Of course that's a good thing!

The student has become the master here. Superman needed to shake off the angst he was carrying and move forward.

#2 - 'The New World's Finest' - Batgirl #23
In a short period of time and over a couple of key crossover issues, Steph Brown/Batgirl and Supergirl became very good friends. There was something pretty magical about their crossovers. They seemed so natural together, easy pals still learning the ropes of super-heroics and willing to team-up and learn together. There was joy in these issues. What a great new World's Finest.

In this scene, Batgirl was trying to break up a prison riot and interact with her father and knew she needed help and called on all her friends, including Supergirl. Supergirl wonders out loud if their teaming up should be a regular thing. I would have loved to see an annual cross-over between these two but sadly it won't happen in the DCnU, at least not anytime soon.

This scene was the favorite of blog friend Gene.

#1 - 'Know The Risks' - Supergirl #62
James Peaty had a tough task ahead of him, following Sterling Gates on Supergirl while trying to pick up the pieces of Nick Spencer's plots.  And yet, he and artist Bernard Chang put together a great arc. For me, the best part of this arc was just seeing a more mature Supergirl understanding what she needed to do and then going out and doing it. Yes, she was still her own worst critic in this arc, a part of still being on the hero's journey, but that didn't stop her from being a hero and being recognized as a leader by others.

This scene seemed to encapsulate so much of that. She understood that there was a major threat out there, she knew she needed lead other heroes against it, and she knew that there was some risk in facing off against this enemy. And yet, despite that, she forged ahead. Knowing the risk isn't belittling it. It means going in with open eyes against the threats ahead. This was a calculating Kara ready to do what was right no matter what. And that showed a more mature hero. One with an unshakeable resolve. This scene almost made the top ten.

And those are the 5 honorable mentions for the Top Supergirl Moments for 2011. Tomorrow, the year wrap up and the Top Ten Supergirl Moments in 2011!


Gene said...

"This scene was the favorite of blog friend Gene."


Anonymous said...

Ah Marv Wolfman, he has the courage of his restrictions I'll give him that.
Is he the one who called Kara one of the "barnacles" on Superman's hull?
No matter he is the prime exponent of the premise that Superman's decline is somehow SuperGIRL"s fault and can only be atoned by "blood sacrifice" AKA COIE #7. Everyone likes to talk about how cool Supergirl's death was, how it gave her character meaning and redeemed her from mediocrity blah blah blah. Operationally speaking though, the light from her funeral pyre was supposed to provide a more powerful spotlight for Superman nothing more.
THAT is why she was forced out of continuity, she'd served her like a disposable styrofoam cup.
As far as I"m concerned, if that is what it takes to keep Superman selling then maybe it's time to board up shop and decamp for the caves.
Y'know, an all female super team, run by Steph and Kara would have been a great notional book IMHO. It would have given Supergirl a natural leadership role (Something most of the year seemed to build towards in the olde DCU) and given Batgirl a team affiliation (something the character never seems to have in any incarnation)'road not taken.


Anonymous said...

"No matter he is the prime exponent of the premise that Superman's decline is somehow SuperGIRL"s fault and can only be atoned by "blood sacrifice" AKA COIE #7."

Yes, that mindset was stupid and preposterous. It reminds me of Marvel blaming Spider-Man's low sales on MJ and their marriage and then trying to jettison Mary Jane and erase their marriage from continuity.

2011 was a great year full of great moments, right?