Ame-Comi Girls #2 came out last week and concluded the first overlying story arc of 'Rise of the Brainiac'. It also marked the second issue of the 'monthly' title meaning that digital sales must be brisk enough for DC to make this an ongoing series rather than a string of interconnected character specials.
The series has been fun and entertaining so far as writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray immerse us deeper and deeper into this world where only women are super whether that be hero or villain. While I have had to come to grips with the more inane and 'barely there' costumes, I have enjoyed seeing the roles these heroes have on this planet. In fact, the most satisfying part of this issue is the aftermath of the battle where we get to see the true formation of a super-team, the difficulties of being a teenage hero, and some familial love between the super-cousins. It is that fleshing out of personalities and world-building that I find as satisfying in comics as big brawls.
That doesn't mean I don't have a couple of quibbles with the issue.
For one, this is yet another issue where Supergirl spends the entire time trussed up in Wonder Woman's lasso and basically off-panel. I understand that with a cast this size someone has to melt into the background. I also understand that her lack of participation is part of the story, her being turned evil by Brainiac. But it feels like poor Kara just can't catch a break.
I mean, when the opening page sports Steel and Duela Dent and not Supergirl as a part of the roll call, something is amiss.
I also worry ... just a bit ... that this series will somehow morph into Power Girl and Ame-Comi girls. It is clear (and appreciated) that Palmiotti and Gray have a soft spot for Karen. And I love how they write her, even here. I was a huge fan of their Power Girl series.
But in this issue, she is clearly the star, disconnecting Brainiac from her mainframe, convincing Brainiac's drones to reverse the 'anti-intelligence' attack, and saving the day. She even has a dramatic splash page all to herself. Yes, the other characters are in the mix but even they all need to be saved from suffocation by Karen.
I love Power Girl but in this ensemble book I hope everyone gets some face time.
Power Girl does come to the defense of Supergirl, demanding that Wonder Woman release her from the lasso and taking her to the Fortress.
So Supergirl just really has suffered a bit in this book so far. In her own issue she is easily brainwashed and attacks the heroes. She is thrashed in combat by Wonder Woman, hog-tied, and left on the battlefield while everyone else, including the villains, go to save the day. And then we learn she is poisoned, dying, and needs to be held in suspended animation.
I know I am looking at this from a Supergirl-centric viewpoint. But really, no other character in this book has been treated this shabbily. Heck, even Cheetah was treated better.
I hope Supergirl gets a chance to shine here eventually.
As I said before, the real sweet spot for this book is the aftermath of the battle. The women decide that the world needs them to be a team in desperate times. But that isn't as easy a decision to make as it seems. The U.N. needs to get involved. They are Americans and the country disapproves of vigilantes. Where will there base be ... the Fortress, a Kryptonian embassy? Themyscira? Wonder Woman thinks she should lead. Robin and Batgirl are minors. And when Power Girl informs their parents of their other identities they are basically grounded.
There is a lot of details to work out before they can hand out communicators and set up a mountain HQ in Happy Harbor. It is these small details which feel real which elevate this book away from being just 'scantily clad manga girls fighting'.
As I said, this is a fun book, always well drawn, and has a nice mix of action and story. And it is an interesting world I am looking forward to learn more about.
But throw me a bone and have Supergirl actually be a hero for a little bit!