Back in early December, I began to review the Supergirl issues of 2013 in anticipation of making my best of/worst of lists. As I began sifting through the moments and panels, it was clear that the worst moments were going to far outnumber the best moments. It seemed that month in, month out it seemed there were cringe-worthy moments. DC was committed to make Supergirl angry, isolated, and moody. They didn't treat her like a hero. And in crossover stories, she was either the patsy or an unhinged bloodthirsty combatant.
I didn't necessarily want to pick all the scabs of the year, so instead focused on the top five worst moments of the year. And since I don't want to be morose, I will do my best to infuse some humor into the proceedings.
Of note, perhaps the worst moment was the above announcement that Supergirl is abandoning hope, optimism, and love, instead embracing rage, and vomiting blood on her friends. Since these stories haven't happened, they aren't included in the list below. But anyone who sees those images and thinks 'That's Supergirl!' doesn't know the character very well.
On to the Top Five Worst Moments of 2013!
Number 5: The Poor Dad Award Winner: Zor-El
Poor Zor-El. In the post-Crisis universe he didn't exist. Then in the reboot of Supergirl he is a creepy vicious bastard, having his teenage daughter prance around him nude. Then he is pushed to an even nuttier extreme, having visions of spirits from the Phantom Zone possessing Kryptonians. He has Supergirl join him as they gun down her high school. Then he decides the only way the spirits could be defeated was for Supergirl to kill Kal-El.
Even after Geoff Johns washed away that past, bringing back a scientist Zor-El on a domed Argo City, Zor-El wasn't long for the world, killed by Reactron.
In the New 52, he becomes a desperate and secretive man using science and genomics to experiment on his daughter and trying to save Argo City. He leaves his wife in the dark. And his measures fail, killing everyone on Argo just months after the destruction of Krypton.
Now that would be a rough life across 3 incarnations. But things got worse in 2013.
As if being a dad that made his daughter into a potential world-killer wasn't bad enough, he is scooped up, barely living, by Brainiac and turned into the killing machine Cyborg Superman.
That's right, Zor-El is now a supervillain, oblivious to his earlier life as Zor-El and now eager to kill Supergirl. It almost seemed like a parting shot by Nelson, a last dagger to Supergirl.
Number 4: The 'Seriously' Face Palm Award: Supergirl in Krypton Returns
H'El has tried to bring Krypton back for no clear reason. He doesn't think Jor-El is his savior. He wants to rule Krypton. Or he wants to destroy Krypton himself. Or he wants to rule Krypton and then destroy it. Forget it ... his motives make no sense.
Regardless, H'El bring back Krypton has set off a Time Tsunami, a storm destroying the universe one star system at a time. Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy get sent back in time to stop H'El from successfully saving the planet to begin with.
Now remember, THE UNIVERSE IS UNRAVELING ...
So what does Supergirl think? She is actually happy that Krypton is back. Who cares if untold billions are dying as the tsunami destroys planet after planet. Who cares if the universe will eventually die.
She doesn't see what the big deal is!!!
This is classic Scott Lobdell Supergirl. Self-centered. Gullible. Stupid.
Amazingly, she was treated better in this arc than in H'El on Earth.
Number 3: The Irritated 'Ridiculous' Award - Ame Comi Supergirl
I am usually very happy to see Supergirl featured in as many comics as possible. When she is supposed to be prominently featured, I am even happier. In 2013, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and a bevy of artists produced an digital first comic based on the Ame Comi statues. This was an interesting world where there were no male super-heroes or villains, Power Girl was the equivalent of Superman, Jimmy Olsen was the Lois equivalent, etc. I bought and reviewed the print version.
I didn't think I would enjoy the comic but it was a fun and fast little book with an Elseworld sort of feel. Plus, Supergirl was going to be featured and even have her own solo issue!
Imagine how sad I was when Supergirl arrives on earth and a couple of pages later is brainwashed by Brainiac, turns into Dark Supergirl, and fights on the side of the villains. She didn't get treated well in her own issue!
After being cured, she remains in a coma/stasis for several more issues. In the final big story arc, she is seen in the background and got very little screen time.
It was clear ... and appropriate I suppose ... that Palmiotti and Gray wanted Power Girl to shine in this series. But did Supergirl really need to be treated this shabbily? Ridiculous!
Number 2: "What did I just do" Face Palm Award: Trying to kill H'El
I could probably put all of H'El on Earth as one of the worst moments for Supergirl all time. Duped, a patsy, overly emotional, gullible ... it was a poison pill of a story for Supergirl. Looking back at that story, only Mike Johnson's issues of Supergirl tried to show Kara in some sort of favoring light. Otherwise, she is basically one of the villains for the bulk of the arc.
In Supergirl #17, after finally realizing that H'El isn't the dreamy prince she thought he was, Kara decides to take matters into her own hands.
That's right ... Kara decides to try and murder H'El, burying a shard of Kryptonite into his heart.
Now the naysayers will say it showed self-sacrifice on Supergirl's part as the Kryptonite was going to kill her too. And some will even say that this was a justified murder since H'El was going to destroy Earth.
But these are comics and these are supposed to be heroes. Supergirl is supposed to be a teenage girl striving to be a hero. I don't need to see her as a murderer. I don't need to see her burying a weapon into a villain's chest.
That isn't Supergirl.
And this is everything wrong with DC's understanding and branding of the character.
But this is number 2. What could be worse than this??
Number 1 - "Crisis #7" Face Palm - Supergirl Dying
I have talked at length over these 5 plus years about the things I love about Supergirl. One of the things is her bravery. Another is her tenacity. And yet another is her strength.
In Supergirl #23, Michael Alan Nelson brought a Kryptonite poisoned Kara onto the malleable world of I'Noxia, ruled by the Cyborg Superman. In that issue, she is battered about and finally brought into the Cyborg's main lab.
Utterly defeated, she kneels on the ground sobbing and crying, begging to be saved.
Imagine a Batman comic where that would happen to him. A Superman comic. A Wonder Woman comic. Imagine Captain Marvel, crying on the ground begging her enemies to stop.
It just wouldn't happen. It shouldn't happen.
Ah, but we can't end there.
Nope. Nelson has Supergirl actually die!
Crying, screaming 'no', in pain, she is completely disintegrated.
When Superman dies, it is as a hero fighting Doomsday. When Supergirl died in Crisis, she is saving the universe.
Here she is bawling, broken, and vaporized.
It is a terrible moment. And this is in the book she is supposed to star in.
Yes, she returned the next issue. Yes, Zor-El repents and saves her. But that means a good moment for him was predicated on an awful moment for her. And the way she dies is so demeaning.
And those were the worst Supergirl moments of 2013.
Anyone else have a scab they want to pick?