Thursday, July 10, 2014

Supergirl in The Death Of Superman

With Superman Doomed heating up, I thought I would review Supergirl's history back in the original Doomsday story Death of Superman, from way back in 1992. Now, I freely admit that this particular arc reads a bit clunky early on. Running through Superman, Action Comics, Adventures of Superman, Man of Steel, and even Justice League of America, this arc reads silly in some places.

It really is the following arcs - Funeral for a Friend and Reign of the Supermen - that really shine.

But this is the Doomsday arc. And as such, we see Doomsday plodding towards destiny and wiping out pretty much every superhero that runs into him. From Guy Gardner to Maxima to Bloodwind (!!) to even lightweights like Fire, Ice, and Booster Gold all get trashed. And Superman skirmishes with Doomsday throughout the arc, leading up to the fatal battle in the streets of Metropolis.

So where was Supergirl during all this?

Well, this was the end of a low time for Supergirl. This was the Matrix Supergirl, protoplasmic creation from a pocket universe. She had returned to Earth as a slave of Brainiac. After being freed from his control, she became to girlfriend of Lex Luthor II (actually a young clone of the original Lex). And she basically loved him to the point of being overly obedient and defensive of him.

She still had a good heart, wanting to good, but all too often deferred to his whims.

So here, with Doomsday just starting to tear up the countryside, she want to go out and lend a hand, helping the falling heroes. But Lex doesn't want her to go saying he needs her nearby and ready to defend Metropolis.

(I do love how Tom Grummett drew her.)

Later on, the fight becomes even grimmer. Superman isn't winning. And people are getting hurt.

Again, Supergirl feels like she needs to rush out to help.

But once again, Lex tells her that she shouldn't rush out. It is Metropolis that needs her, not the outskirts of the city.

(I also loved the way Jackson Guice drew her during this time. Really lovely.)

The fight ends up in Metropolis. And Superman is really getting pounded.

Finally ... FINALLY ... Supergirl decides that she can't let Superman fight Doomsday alone. She flies out to his defense ... with Lex's permission of course.

Get ready for some action ...

(Jon Bogdanove is on art here.)

Actually ... there isn't much action.

Supergirl flies out into battle and is dispatched with one left hook.

And that has to be one of the more jarring panels I have ever seen.

Remember she is a protoplasmic being. So this punch is so great, it disrupts her ability to hold her shape!

And Bogdanove really plays up that power, having Supergirl/Matrix's eyes literally pop out of her face.

This was the power of Doomsday.

This moment, and this time period, was indeed a low point. But it also was a turning point.

Throughout Funeral for a Friend and Reign of the Supermen, Supergirl really emerges stronger, more independent, and more heroic. She plays a key role in the siege on Engine City, and really shines throughout.

For a more recent and more Kryptonian Supergirl fighting a Doomsday, I'll refer you toJames Robinson's Superman/Batman Annual #5 from a couple of years ago.


Count Drunkula said...

That shot of Doomsday smacking her so hard her face comes unglued is gruesome!

Anonymous said...

Yeah good old SuperGlob, such a vast improvement over Cousin Kara eh?
I give up on DC Comics, you'd think after twenty years someone would have the bright idea of pitting the Girl of Steel against Doomsday in a mano a mano one on one throwdown....but Noooooo-ooo she has to go careening across the universe in an inexplicable mask and Ms Marvel's olde costume and confront the evil heart of anger or some damn thing...
Just for once I wanna see her "Punch Above Her Weight" and win!! Is that sooo much to ask?

John Feer

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

Count, you are right. Grisly.

John, James Robinson had her come extremely close to beating Doomsday in the Batman/Superman Annual only to have victory snatched from her by teleportation. But I agree, she seems owed a big win.

mhunt said...

Kara Zor-El is the only Supergirl for me.. I had the opportunity to read this passage on the novel version. Matrix here goes against Doomsday as 'invisible', is able to strike him a few more times until Doomsday hits it as in the comic.

Jay said...

Ah, my first Superman comic book arc. Good times. Imagine my surprise though when Supergirl was reduced to a gelatinous blob, lol. Obviously wasn't aware of the changes she had undergone, or even what pre-Crisis or post-Crisis meant back then.

Anonymous said...

"but Noooooo-ooo she has to go careening across the universe in an inexplicable mask and Ms Marvel's olde costume and confront the evil heart of anger or some damn thing..."

Huh? That wasn't what happened in "Red Daughter of Krypton" at all.

"Kara Zor-El is the only Supergirl for me..."

Amen, Brother.

I don't hate Matrix or any of her replacements, though. They are not to blame for idiotic editorial edicts.