Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Ame Comi Girls #5: Supergirl

Ame Comi Girls #5, featuring Supergirl, came out in print form last week and the cover isn't kidding when it says the women of the DCU are reimagined here. This is about as Elseworlds-y a book as you can get.

Outside of the heroes only being women, and ridiulously dressed to boot, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray threw a major curve ball into the plot this week with revelations about this universe's Krypton and its destruction.

Unfortunately, despite featuring Supergirl and initially casting her as the hero of the issue, Palmiotti and Gray take a step backwards and have her end up working for the villain. I am sure that there are a number of reasons why Dark Supergirl is so alluring, not the least of which is promoting the Dark Supergirl Ame Comi statue. But in a week when Supergirl is the main villain in H'El on Earth, a book where she threatens to kill Superboy, I was pretty disappointed in this turn of events.

One of the reasons why I like this book is that it is simple fun and entertainment. There is a feeling of irreverence here, a world not bound by continuity or even sanity. I suppose I should just ride the wave and not be so caught up in a Dark Supergirl sighting here.

Santi Casas provides the art in this book and brings a very heavy anime feel to the book which works well given the material. Casas also does a good job with the crazy battle sequences here, changing perspective and panel size nicely to capture some of the kinetic energy of the fights.

On to the review.

The book starts in flashback, just before the destruction of Krypton, with the brothers El ... Jor and Zor ... defending themselves before a tribunal of some sort. They warn of an impending disaster on Krypton and, per usual, are ignored. I kind of like the idea of the two working this closely together.

And again, this looks amazingly like the Donner films Kryptonian justice system. Those films are 30 years old! But there influence is incredible.

It turns out the threat isn't some internal instability of Krypton or her sun. The threat is Brainiac.

Now I don't quite know how I feel about this next part. It turns out Brainiac created Krypton as well as Earth. When the tribunal rejected the Els, the two brothers decided the best answer was to detonate Krypton's sun in hopes of taking Brainiac out with it. They hoped to save the universe by sacrificing their world. Of course they save their daughters. And they fail in stopping Brainiac.

So, in essence, Jor and Zor are guilty of genocide. I suppose Brainiac would kill the Kryptonians anyways. But it seems a bit too off.

Kara was sent to Earth to stop Brainiac here. She has to face Brainiac herself. Sounds like she might be the hero in this story.

And Power Girl has her role to play as well. She needs to shut down the central Brainiac mainframe in the center of the Earth.

At least for now, and for once, the two Karas are acting together ... like a team.

One things I appreciated here is that this massive battle of Manhunters, Kryptonians, and Brainiac drones does not go unnoticed by the other heroes we have seen. Steel, Robin, Flash, and Catwoman all show up and dive in, buying Supergirl and Power Girl some time to get the heavy lifting done.

I have to say, these costumes are ridiculous. 

While the other women remain on the ground battling the drones, Supergirl streaks towards Brainiac's ship.

On board are the villains we have encountered before - Duela Dent and Poison Ivy - as well as a barely covered and rather buxom Brainaic. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by Brainiac's look here.

And, an unfortunate leftover from the Loeb/Churchill Supergirl stories is Black Kryptonite.

And much like in those Loeb Supergirl stories, Black Kryptonite transforms Supergirl into Dark Supergirl. At least in those Loeb stories, Dark Supergirl sprang from Supergirl creating a good and bad version of Kara.

Here, unfortunately, Supergirl is basically overpowered by the Kryptonite, becoming a pawn of Brainiac.

Kind of a bummer that ... and this seems to be true everywhere right now ... Supergirl isn't even a hero in her own book.

Because once she is brainwashed, Kara heads down to Earth and starts to battle the heroes of the planet.

So Supergirl, who shows up as the only person who can save the Earth becomes a pawn of the villain just a few pages later. Logically, the other heroes are confused.

And outside of Power Girl, none of these heroes are in Kara's league.

Luckily, there is another hero, someone I have been waiting to show up again, Wonder Woman. Nice cliffhanger.

And ... in another odd coincidence ... Wonder Woman will battle a Supergirl who is a pawn for a world destroying villain ... just like in Supergirl's own book!

So I look at Ame Comi as a fun comic in my pull list, a book that is fun and entertaining but not tied down to any continuity. And the prior issues fell nicely into that sort of niche. There is a lot of action, some fun re-imaginings, and definitely more humor than is in your normal comic. I have enjoyed these way more than I thought I would.

That said, this was, for me, my least favorite issue. Between the questionable genocide maneuver by Jor and Zor and the corruption of Supergirl, this book just struck some beats that I don't want to revisit anymore. And I think it was made much worse that it just happened to come out in print form the same week of Superboy #17 which showed a similar patsy Supergirl. After Superboy #17, I was looking forward to Ame Comi as a sort of piece of candy to eat after vomiting, something to get the bad taste out of my mouth. Unfortunately, it just didn't work that way.

Still, this book is a sort of whirlwind ride through this version of the DCU. And, it remains a fun and wacky book. There barely is a moment to breathe in this book, the pace is so swift. Hopefully, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray will allow Supergirl to shine at some point.

And, again, the anime influenced art by Santi Casas works well here.

Overall grade: B


valerie21601 said...

It was simply bad timing Anj. This story originally came out months ago. It does get better for Supergirl I won't ruin it for you but I will say instead of fear by the other women. She is given understanding over what happened.

The way Krypton died could have been done a different way. It was good story telling but goes way too much against the grain for the El family.

I am sure you will enjoy the Hawkwoman story line when it kicks in I found it surprisingly touching with the emotional tragedy she has to deal with in it. When Ame-Comi Girls turns to the space heroines and they in turn get help from the Earth ones.

I enjoy how Ame-Comi Girls doesn't go the stereotypical heroine route in it and avoids typical pitfalls in their stories. When given the chance instead of fighting someone they just met they don't duke it out they talk it out.

Gustavo Delamarques said...


Anonymous said...

I was disappointed too, when this came out. It looks nice, but the forward momentum of the story (for Supergirl) ends right there and does not improve in later issues.
-- DW

Anonymous said...

So Supergirl throws ONE PUNCH at Brainiac,,,and ends up the android's chump?
Wow DC breakin' new ground there to be sure, Class All The Way, Class All The Way.
Jobbed out again kids, this was NOT a good month to be a Supergirl fan.
Get the impression someone in DC editorial really hates us?


Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

I guess I'll have to see how it all turns out. But it was bad timing. I really do think DC has no idea what to do with Supergirl.