Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: Supergirl #35

Supergirl #35 came out this week, the last issue of the Tony Bedard's all too short run on the title. From the beginning, Tony Bedard said he wanted to rehabilitate Supergirl, moving her away from anger and isoloation and more towards optimism and hope. And I think he succeeded ... amazing given that one of the editorial choices was to send Supergirl into the ranks of the Red Lanterns.

This issue seems to cement that new outlook by Kara. She rejects a 'bad boy', doesn't lose control, grows in a relationship, and (gasp) seems happy! This issue seems to be a repudiation of much of the tone that this title had in the first 2 plus years.

Of course, cement might not be the best verb as all of this is going to go away next issue when Kara heads off to outer space school. So maybe showcase would have been a better word. Still, this was a nice little coda for Bedard's run, an issue were the mission seems forgettable but sets up the characterization nicely.

The internal art is done by Jonboy Meyers who brings a bright, stylish, almost Anime-like feel to the book. It works nicely with the feel of the story and reminded me of Ame-Comi Girls.

The issue starts with Supergirl flying Michael's parents to their home so they can be reunited.

The interaction is sweet. The family thanks her, telling Supergirl that she didn't need to fuss over them, and makes sure that taking them home isn't taking her away from her Justice League duties. These are ordinary, nice people and I like them already.

But Supergirl's response is even better. She wants more friends like Michael, people away from the insanity of her adventures. It means she is embracing Earth as her home, looking for a community to be a part of, and a circle of friends to be part of. The smile on her face says even more.

That is about a light year away from the Scott Lobdell Supergirl who called Earth a 'ball of mud filled with sweaty humans' (I'm paraphrasing from H'El on Earth).

Unfortunately life isn't always so simple. When Supergirl enters Michael's apartment who is there waiting for her ... Red Hood.

Even this internal monologue tells us so much about the current Supergirl. The Red Hood is trouble. And she is 'sick to death' of trouble.

You get the sense that Kara recognizes the pandemonium of her time on Earth up to now and just wants to catch her breath.

 She grabs Jason and flies right through Michael's window to get him away from the family.

Now I really have never cared for Jason Todd since his resurrection. Here he is sporting some new super-powers. And he is a true anti-hero. He wants to stop alien weaponry to hit the streets and he needs some back up. This wraps up the 'alien gun runner' plot that Lobdell started and dropped in Superman. (Remember Brainiac Lois freezing a whole city block?)

And Jason liked how Kara and he teamed up on Warworld. And he thinks Supergirl won't be so controlling as Batman would be. I suppose that means that he thinks she is something of a loose cannon who might look the other way if he decided to use lethal force. Again, I can't help but think this is a look at who Supergirl was and where she is now.

There is a lot of punching and flipping and shooting, an almost afterthought in this issue.

But I did like how Supergirl acknowledges that maybe she is drawn to 'bad boys'. But admitting you have a problem is the first step of beating it? She also calls him obnoxious. And the tone in my head was that she wouldn't get sucked into a web of chaos again.

The initial battle leads them the the stronghold. To get the information, Red Hood had to threaten to kill one of the thugs, something Supergirl didn't appreciate.

One of the thing that Supergirl writers seem to struggle with is how to have her be a part of the super-family but not be defined by Superman. Her adventures shouldn't be Superman adventures with Kara simply as a stand-in.

I liked this panel. When Red Hood asks Supergirl to look the other way like Superman does with Batman, she says outright that she isn't her cousin. I actually like the annoyed look on her face. She might aspire to be a hero like Superman. She might be striving to honor the S-shield. But she isn't a follower. She is her own person. 

 Then there is more action as the two shut down the weapons ring.

And Supergirl helps mop things up. Red Hood can't help but be impressed. She is something all right.

It reminded me of this moment in Superman/Batman Annual #5 where Dick Grayson (acting as Batman) calls Supergirl magnificent.

Or this moment where Damian Wayne says she has earned his respect.

I like that the Bat-family recognizes Kara for the greatness she is.

 With the adventure over, we actually get to see some downtime between Kara and Michael.

One thing I liked was how Supergirl replaces the window she smashed, even putting on a red bow.

Michael and Kara care for each other. He worries about how alone she is. And let's face it, she has been alone for most of her New 52 life. Heck, she created a true fortress of solitude, someplace she could be completely alone. It was only with the Reds that she had someone to lean on.

But I think Bedard ends this chapter of Kara's life. She leans in and kisses Michael. She has someone who cares for her. She has someone she cares for. It is progress.

She kisses Michael.

And then she dismisses any concerns about her falling for Red Hood.

She wants something normal and real.

It is a very nice last panel for this particular run. We have gone from out of control, angry, isolated, disaffected Supergirl to a heroic Supergirl, embracing Earth, helping people, finding romance, and being part of the super-family.

Of course, it is also ironic that the last panel is that she wants some normalcy because we know next issue is anything but normal, sent to a warrior school in space. So we finally get to a place I like with Supergirl only to blow things up completely again.

Still, I will enjoy this issue for what it was. And I will again applaud Tony Bedard for bring Supergirl much closer to what I see in her and farther away from an abomination. I can only hope this isn't the last chance that Bedard gets to write the character.

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Top review, amen to everything.

It's all very well Jason saying Superman looks the other way, but Batman is never threatening lethal force.

Anj said...


I think Jason thought she might look the other way. And maybe that is the vibe the angry isolated Kara gave off in this DCU.

Anj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Just picked this up... beautiful, just beautiful. With Action Comics #35 repairing the supercousins, and her own title showing
her out of the morass of the last couple arcs... it's just with that trepidation that TPTB (willingly or unwillingly) refuse to
provide much in terms of the "next directions" for our favorite superheroine beyond the standard party line.

Once again, a BIG thanks to Tony Bedard for giving us back a Supergirl that can be heroic and something other than ragey / angsty.

Now we can only see where things go from here.


Anonymous said...

Not mentioned in the summary, I did like the panel of Jason near the end, watching Kara with Michael and listening to her speech, and he says "Good for you, Supergirl" with a smile on his face.