Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Back Issue Review: Superman Family #220

The Supergirl show has been a veritable treasure trove of DCU ideas and characters, from Livewire to Fort Rozz to the Black Mercy. We recently learned that the Master Jailer would a recurring character on the show and that has prompted me to look at the time Supergirl fought the prison-themed villain.

Superman Family #220 was the middle chapter of a three part story where Supergirl fought the Jailer but this one had a nice bonus. We have the Atom as a guest star! And with Legends of Tomorrow on the television, this story also resonates with the television universe nicely.

Now this isn't a great story. But it has some fun moments. So here we go.

"Battle Beneath the Brooklyn Bridge" was written by Paul Kupperberg with art by Win Mortimer and Vince Colletta. We start out with a decent splash page which recaps the first chapter nicely. The Master Jailer has turned Supergirl intangible. That forced Kara to send out a Supergirl robot to fight her battles. During that melee, both the Supergirl robot and the Jailer's device were destroyed. Supergirl is now stuck intangible and invisible.

I actually like the Jailer here, head cocked as if he is cracking his neck and getting ready to brawl. Not bad.

The story picks up right where it left off. The Jailer flees the bank he has just robbed. Using his usual prison-themed gadgets, like instantly appearing barred doors, is able to elude the police.

Unfortunately, Supergirl, still dressed as Linda, is stuck watching on in her ghostly form.

Cue the mandatory 'Linda disrobing' Win Mortimer panel. Figuring she should be in her fighting togs, Supergirl then flies off to figure out how to become solid again. And she has an idea.

She heads to Ivy Town to find the Atom. She knows that when Ray Palmer is full-sized, that his Atom costume becomes intangible and invisible. Figuring that Palmer must have some idea about intangible items, Supergirl hopes to get his help. As an intangible wraith herself, she can see the Atom costume. But how can she contact Palmer for help?

Anyways, we see Atom in action a little. And we see that he plays a mean game of tennis at the men's club!

When Ray hits the shower, he hangs up his intangible costume in his locker. (That might be one of the weirdest sentences I have written on this blog.)

Supergirl disrobes one more and slips into the Atom costume herself. Intangible people can put on intangible clothes apparently.

When she shrinks herself, she suddenly becomes solid again.

It becomes apparent that Supergirl's atoms are in an unstable state thus leading to her intangibility. By shrinking and compressing her atoms, she has regained some solidity.

Luckily Atom has a machine that can re-stabilize Supergirl's atoms. She flies into a machine in her tiny form and comes out fully grown and solid.

It is a bit of comic book science. Ray simply says he can fix her problem and does.

Still it was pretty sweet to see Kara in the Atom costume.

Thrilled that she is back to her solid form, Supergirl lays a big old kiss on Ray's lips!! She even raises one leg in a sort of coquettish way. Hmmm ... no wonder Jean Loring has trust issues!

That was too silly not to include.

Flying around New York, Supergirl sees that the Brooklyn Bridge's base now has lead doors and walls. It stands out as suspicious especially since Supergirl knows lead wasn't part of the bridge's construction.

Breaking in forcibly, Supergirl sees the Jailer in a cell of his own making. She has access to everything in his base but him.

Now I have to say, I was pretty confused about this, although I suppose that the cell could keep Supergirl out as much as hold the Master Jailer in. Anyways, the place is lined with booby traps and tricks. The bars of the cell are an energy weapon, for example. But none of them slow down Kara too much.

She grabs the Master Jailer and flies off to bring him to justice.

But turnabout is fair play. This Jailer is a robot double, one laden with explosives. Kara has to fly high into the sky to spare the city any damage. That means he is still on the loose, ready with his 'insane cell-schemes'.

Outside of the scene with the Atom which was fun (I always wished Supergirl crossed paths with more superheroes in her career), this story is pretty silly. There is a lot of comic book science in this as well, stuff I simply accepted as a kid. Stuff I have to shrug my shoulders and accept now. And having her face the Master Jailer was nice as well. Kara had too many one-off nonsensical villains to fight. Pitting her against an established villain was appreciated.

I have more love for Mortimer's Kara than many. He isn't in the Supergirl pantheon by any means. But the art is fine and Supergirl looks good.

As with most of the Superman Family run, this isn't crucial to a Supergirl comic collection and is of low importance. But when you see it in the $1 bin at a convention, crack the wallet.

Overall grade: B-


Martin Gray said...

I love how smart Kara is here. And while it is indeed 'comic book science', it's established comic book science, Ray's invisible costume dates back to his earliest appearance. It makes perfect sense to me that he'd have a way to sort things out for a Kara in the same state as his costume!

I don't see Kara as especially asking as she's saying 'ta-ta' (very Lana Lang!) to Ray, that's pretty much her standard take-off pose. And it's not like we don't see Superman continually ripping open his shirt!

I like Mortimer a lot too, sometimes clean, straightforward art is just the job!

Great review.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that smackeroo was charming, remember when Supergirl was a charming character?? And anyway I always thought if her cousin had the edge in experience and public esteem, Supergirl compensated with her excellent Kryptonian education and overall figuring out how to track "intangible couture" would be easy peasy for Kara.


Anonymous said...

OT : In case anyone interested, I just reviewed May DC Solicitaton, and the only place our Supergirl is even mentioned is...w-hoa! "WW/Superman Satanic Comix"...
Seems the DC Titanic has one final way of propping up the moribund WW Bull"#$%& flagging sales...
and it is by placing Supergirl in it...