Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: Supergirl #1,000,000

Back in late 1998, DC Comics ran a large company-wide crossover called DC One Million. It had all the earmarks of something special. It was written by Grant Morrison when he was still the new cool kid on the block. It was a wild time travel story featuring versions of the DC universe from the far-flung future. And it was 4 issues long but was released on a weekly schedule!

To be honest, I don't remember that much about it. I remember that it took place in the 853rd century because that is when Action Comics would reach its millionth issue (alas with the DCnU renumbering that doesn't compute any more). And I know that Solaris, the thinking evil sun-computer is featured as a villain. And I do know the DC One Million's Superman has shown up in other Morrison books like All Star Superman. But outside of that ... well ... I can't really tell you much. Maybe I should find them and reread them.

Part of the event was having a #1,000,000 issue of all the ongoing titles in the DCU. The Superman issues were about the 1,000,000 Superman working in the present. But other issues looked at the legacy of the heroes in the far flung future or even who wore the mantle of that hero in the 853rd Century.

Which brings us to the oddity known as Supergirl #1,000,000, written by then-Supergirl scribe Peter David with art by Dusty Abell and Norman Lee. And trust me, it is odd. The 853rd century Supergirl is a very young girl who shows just how dangerous it would be to have someone who acts like a 4 year old and has super-powers live in the universe.

This Supergirl is named R'E'L, phonetically like Ariel I suppose. And given that that is one of David's daughter's name, I assume this was written as something of a love letter to her.

The issue starts with a warrior named Dura recovering from a battle within a nutrient bath. He is awakened because he is needed by his employers, the Blffgh race. Their enemy, the Xyanteri, are invading, a massive fleet heading to the Blffgh homeworld. Dura is needed by his chancellor to defend the realm.

As he awakens, we see that he has scratched a crude S-shield onto his chest, a scar that will 'never' heal, Why an s-shield? Well, we never really learn the specifics. But we get an idea why his soul is cursed with that scarlet letter.

Within the command room, the Xyanteri fleet is being scanned by long range sensors. But something is amiss. A small blip is noted to be flying around the ships at great speed.

A close look with the scanners show that it is a young girl sporting an s-shield as well. The very sight of her frightens Dura who calls her the Destroyer of Worlds! Look at the shock on Dura's face. Who is this girl?

Why it's Supergirl 1,000,000 of course. We never get a true confirmation of her age but her behavior makes me think she is in the 4 to 6 year range.

And she has the energy of someone that young and powers to boot.

Here she isn't calling for a horse Comet, she is chasing a real comet, crashing through it and reducing it to dust.

Remember, she was flitting around the Xyanteri fleet. Dura's bosses wonder if she might help their cause by harming the Xyanteri. Yes, she might harm the Xyanteri ... but like a force of nature she will probably harm them as well. As it is, Dura is the sole survivor of his planet because this Supergirl destroyed his world and everyone else. She truly is a destroyer of worlds!

Crashing into the Xyanteri lead ship, Supergirl begins to annoy the aliens the way some well meaning toddlers can. Strolling around the ship, she asks lots of questions, marches like a cymbal player, and generally seems like a bundle of too much energy. The use of repeat images of her in the same panel as well as the aliens odd pose convey the feel of speed here. He can't whirl around fast enough to keep up with her!

And as things go with toddlers that energy leads to her accidentally breaking things. I don't think she is malevolent. I think she is a little one, exploring the world she is in, and unfortunately able break stuff with super-strength.

While singing 'miss me miss me, know you have to kiss me', she wanders into the engine room and smashes the power cores. The ship explodes taking out much of the Xyanteri fleet.

Meanwhile, Dura knows what is happening next and gets in his ship and skedattles.

Look at how sad Supergirl is. I think she just wanted to play. But she destroyed everything. That is just the look you get when a child breaks something accidentally and feels remorse.

But one Xyanteri ship escaped the conflagration.

But, again unwittingly, Supergirl brings about disaster.

She flies that Xyanteri ship straight into the Blffgh homeworld planet's core, obliterating the planet and race.

And, despite fleeing, Dura is still too close to the explosion and his ship is flung on a course into the sun.

But he is saved.
By Supergirl.

She calls Dura her Daddy. She is finally named R'E'L. And she shows the emotional lability of a child. She wants to stay with him, live with him, love him. She cries when he denies her. But then he relents.

He will raise her if she promises to stop blowing up planets. And she promises she will.

But that sounds like a promise that is impossible to keep.

This isn't the only place we have seen R'E'L.

At the end of Many Happy Returns, when Linda Danvers leaves the pre-Crisis DCU and sets all timelines back to normal, she has a vision of her and Superman's daughter, living a life of endless youth and happiness. It is Supergirl 1,000,000.

I have no idea how to grade this issue. It is nonsensical and tries to have the feel of a Looney Tunes cartoon but isn't up to that par. But I wonder if proud father PAD loves this issue.

For a Supergirl collection it is definitely of low importance if not no importance. It is an oddity, a sort of issue that is in a Supergirl collection for completeness sake and, as such, might be a rare find.

All that said, I miss Linda Danvers. And scanning that panel from MHR, remembering the pain she felt after that arc, it reminded me ... again ... of what a great character she was.


Yota said...

Ah, nostalgia...

Anonymous said...

Yep. I miss Linda and Ariella, too! I'm headcanonizing them as living in an AU fighting crime together. Best. Characters. Ever. Of. That. Series.. :3-ealperin

Anonymous said...

I bought this issue off eBay a few years ago and yup, it really is an oddity. It'd almost have been better as a really short backup story in some other comic rather than having a whole issue to itself. Oh well, I didn't pay much for it!

Also, Anj - and apologies if you've mentioned this before and I've missed it! - have you seen this?: - Jamal Igle's new comic that he's funding via kickstarter. The main character is a young girl who seems to be slightly similar to another character he's worked on before, or at least she appears to think she is. Now who could that be?

Anonymous said...

As long as we are discussing "off model" Supergirls, I'd jut like to note that Pendant Audio has discontinued it's fan-produced Superhero series, including "Supergirl Lost Daughter of Krypton". I just wanna that "Dragon X. Blink" was a superlative Supergirl voice artist and no mean writer for said series as well.
I wish all and sundry the best I enjoyed that series thoroughly.


Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

I miss Linda Danvers a lot too. But I don't think there is any hope in the DCnU of her showing up. I suppose better than the Reign in Hell abomination.

As for Molly Danger, I think I need to do a 'friends of Supergirl' post catching up with the prior creators.

And I never listened to Lost Daughter. But thanks for the tip and I extend the kudos.

Anonymous said...

YES!! Please do, Anj!!! A "where are they now" post sounds awesome!!! And I second "Lost Daughter"!!! Great work by the folks at Pendant Audio!!! I love issues 34-35 and onward! Then again, every episode of theirs is FANTASTIC!!!-ealperin