Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: Adventures Of Supergirl #3

Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 3 came out yesterday and was what I like to call a 'world building' issue. The first two issues really did a great job of dropping us into the Supergirl universe, giving us a high action hook to keep us riveted. A Supergirl who is early in her DEO career and, alongside her sister, fighting the Hulk-like Rampage is a great way to grab the reader.

With the action sequence set, writer Sterling Gates does a good job of easing off the gas, giving us a lot of character moments to build on. That's not to say there was no character progression in the earlier chapters just as I am not saying this issue is devoid of action. Instead, we really get to learn about who this Supergirl is and how she thinks.

Better than that, we get the backstory of Rampage. Building on the idea that Rampage had a sister, Gates is able to give us an origin which is similar enough to the Kara/Alex relationship to get me comparing and contrasting. It helps that this is still an early enough adventure that the Danvers are still feeling each other out in the field. While I have become a bit tired of sympathetic back stories on villains, this one works as it plays better as a reflection of Supergirl.

But for me the real juice was us getting a glimpse into Fort Rozz. The inner workings of the prison are unknown. The television show hasn't really told us anything about what life was like there. Seeing Rampage inside there is great.

Onto the issue.

Last issue we saw Rampage capture Supergirl. This issue starts with Supergirl awakening in a cell with a very human looking Rampage as her jailer.

We learn that Rampage is really Caren Falq-nerr of he planet Byr. The cell Kara is in was built to hold Byrnians, people as strong as Kara.

Now this is a nice little shout-out to the original Rampage, a Karen 'Kitty' Faulkner, a character created by John Byrne.

Caren had a sister named Moyer. In order to get control of their father's lucrative inertron business, Moyer poisoned him. The sisters were caught and thrown into Fort Rozz, ironically caged in inertron cells. At least they had each other. Perhaps this is similar to the Danvers, Alex leading Supergirl into a wild new life.

But I love seeing the inside of Rozz. There are sentries with empty S-shield pentagons. There are open cages. I hope we see more flashbacks like this, either here or the show.

When Rozz crashed on Earth, Moyer and Caren ran. The Earth's sun made them prone to hulking out and rampaging. The sisters had to head into hiding. And when Moyer seemed incapable of controlling her outbursts, she was caged for her safety. Eventually Moyer broke out of the inertron cell and ran off. Supergirl feels pity for this woman who lost control of her life.

Again, this mirrors the Danvers a bit. Was Kara hiding her powers (maybe with Alex nudging her in that direction) like 'caging her'?

But even more intriguing is the mention of a 'brilliant woman' who told Caren that the Danvers and the DEO caused Moyer's death. I assume that is Alura. But would Alura really jeopardize her niece?

Luckily, before Rampage can attack Kara, Alex and a DEO squad crashes through. I love that one of the troops is named Igle and yells 'hoo-ah'!!!

As a big fan of Kara and of Bengal's art, this was my favorite panel!

Alex wastes little time in trying to stop Rampage. Despite Supergirl's protests, Alex fires the dart into Rampage's neck.

I love Supergirl's internal monologue here. She humanizes Rampage, calling her Caren in her head. She is unclear what the DEO is planning. Are they just going to murder Caren? And hadn't Caren already served her time for being an accomplice? Kara might even sympathize with Caren's situation. All of this jibes with the Supergirl of the show, the one who always wants to offer a helping hand first, always tries to talk first.

Again, as this is early in her time with the DEO, Kara is still trying to figure out what their mission is. What ends do they hope to achieve and what means will they use to get there.

Rampage seems to be swept away in the water, possibly drowning. Supergirl flies the DEO team out of the flooding lair.

But the fallout of the fight still lingers in Supergirl.

While we don't see a body, Alex's attack may have resulted in Rampage's death.

She was lucky enough to have the Danvers take her in. Would Caren be a different person with that support? And what other secrets has Alex been hiding all these years? Is she a professional killer? Just Moyer with a badge? Who is Alex ... really?

That is some pretty heavy stuff to contemplate in a short 10 pages. And that is why I call this world building. We are getting some three dimensional characterization in the cast. We are filling out some of the questions I had about Alex and Kara starting to work together when I saw it on the show. That all got resolved pretty quickly. And we are getting some back story of Alex and Fort Rozz in this book.

The issue's pencils by Bengal remain top notch. From the transformation panels to the contemplative Kara to the action sequences with the DEO squad, the art just leaps off the page.

Add to that the brilliant name drop of Byrnian Caren Falq-Nerr, the inclusion of Inertron, and Agent Igle, and you have a pretty stuffed episode.

Overall grade: A


KET said...

It was a pretty good issue overall, although the way it ended left some questions in the air about whether Caren's sister is really dead, or whether Alex merely assumes she is. Perhaps Kara is going to investigate this pon her own, but the last page indicates that she'll likely be interrupted by Vril Dox instead.

Two weeks, which will be great, since March 7th is another skip week for the TV show. At least there'll still be this comic.


Anonymous said...

With some of the plot elements -- Fort Rozz, secrets between Kara and Alex -- I oouldn't help but feel some sort of tie-in with Ep 14 / Truth, Justice & the American Way. Otherwise the creative team otherwise continues to fire on all cylinders, and I'm loving this!