Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: Adventures Of Supergirl #2

Adventures of Supergirl #2 came out yesterday and continued to be an absolute delight. Writer Sterling Gates and artist Bengal are really clicking together, meshing words and art in a way that elevates both side of the medium. This book is so much fun, so entertaining, and really builds on the television universe.

This feels like an early adventure for this Supergirl. Between her interactions with Alex, her use of her powers, and her interaction with Winn, I think this occurs around Livewire. Unlike the Supergirl in the current show who is dealing with some personal conflicts and tragedy, this is still a fresh-faced Kara. She is just joyous and smiling throughout most of this adventure, just happy to be helping out in public.

And I love how Gates injects some comic history and echoes of his original run on Supergirl into this book.

Last issue ended with Alex and a crew of DEO agents falling to their doom in a damaged helicopter.

We start right back up with Kara trying to catch the chopper, using some high level physics to cradle this thing to the ground. Fly to fast and you smash through the copter. You need to match speeds. It doesn't sound easy. It is a subtle way to tell us that Supergirl is intelligent, a science geek. (In some ways, this discussion also reminds me of the plane rescue sequence in Superman Returns in which Superman tries to catch a falling jet by its wing only to have it fly off. This isn't a cake walk.)

Of course, Kara is able to save the thing, but not with out things pinwheeling and crashing around. Bengal's images really have a nice kinetic feel, as you lean in with Kara, can sense the wind in her face and her struggle to slow down this descent.

But the best thing about this sequence is that last line. "I'm Supergirl. This is my life." That was the tag line of Gates' first run. And it is so apt for a character trying to wrangle some sense out of an insane life.

Rampage slips away during the rescue. But before the DEO gives up, Kara gets a lead from Winn. Someone posted Rampage on social media. It's a lead.

I like that Winn is sitting in a dark room, slurping noodles as he helps. That feels like him.

Again, this feels like early in the season as it is clearly before Alex has come to appreciate Winn and his skills. She doesn't even seem to know who Kara might be talking to. That isn't true nowadays.

And naming the location as David and Frank's is a nice Easter Egg for longtime Supergirl fans, name-dropping the creative team of the Earth Angel 90's Supergirl.

It seems that Rampage has headed to the sewers and the Danvers sisters give chase.

From a art point of view, there is a lot to love in this issue. But the top panel above is my favorite as it conveys so much with no words. Alex's determined face shows she is all business. But the curious look on Kara's face, including the sort of pinch-lipped tiny mouth, as if she is trying not to open her mouth is wonderful.

And that feeling is built on when Alex acknowledges it. Kara is giving the 'sister stare', knowing Supergirl wants to say something.

Again, we know that this is early in the season, right when Supergirl is starting out.

What Supergirl wants to talk to Alex about her role on the DEO. Just a short time ago, Kara thought Alex was an 'ambassador'? A business woman? I don't even know what Alex's cover was. Alex taking charge and leading soldiers is very new.

I think the Alex/Kara relationship is one of the best things about the show. Given the constraints of the show, I don't think this sort of 'settling in' to their new roles and realities was addressed enough. So if part of this story is Kara and Alex getting a handle on their new lives working together, I'll be very happy.

As the two walk through the sewers, Alex discusses Rampage's powers. Rampage can depower and look more human. She can hide amongst 'normal people'. It becomes clear to Kara that Alex seems to know more about Rampage than she is letting on.

Alex then says that in an early mission, she killed Rampage's sister.

I love that middle panel of Alex slumping down. Again, without words we know that Alex is weighed down by what happened. She doesn't turn around, gleefully retelling the kill. She seems remorseful. And while I love that Alex is a no-nonsense, very physical, take charge agent. I am glad she isn't happy about putting someone down.

Rampage does show up, getting the drop on the two and quickly throws Alex down from a walkway into the water. And before Supergirl can fly down to catch her sister, Rampage grabs Kara and batters her. Rampage is a physical match for our hero.

But so much to love here.

That sheer determination on Supergirl in that second panel is glorious, especially when you added that inner monologue and the repetitive 'I can catch her'.

And 'sulls'? I think this is the first Kryptonian unit of mass I have ever heard of. A cursory look through The Krypton Chronicles, World of Krypton, and the Superman Encyclopedia didn't have any measurement like this. Did Gates create it?

 And now the tables are turned.

Kara is in danger. And Alex needs to save her. Here she comes out of the water, something of a mess, teeth grit, and declares it's her turn. Nice ending panel.

But I think this is another comic homage ...

I couldn't help but be reminded of this Byrne panel from his X-Men work, in this issue where the newly formed X-Men infiltrate the Hellfire club. Intentional? Who knows. But effective.

No surprise I loved this. The action sequences are great. Kara's internal monologue is great. Alex's characterization is great. But that conversation between the two sisters, the quietest moment of this chapter, was my favorite part. Gates and Bengal are firing on all cylinders!

Overall grade: A


Doug said...

This truly is an enjoyable series. I was right there with you on the Wolverine panel, Anj, and I'd like to think it was intentional.

Great review, sir!

Martin Gray said...

Great spot on the Wolverine panel! I also liked the nod to Rokyn.

This was just another wonderful chapter.

Anonymous said...

Great issue again, and great review Anj! Still love how Gates has Kara's voice, and his "I'm Supergirl. This is my life" quip was icing
on the cake. Long(er) term, I'm not sure what they have planned for this--whether they'll shift to another storyline or what, but I'm
enjoying the ride all the same! Keep it up!