Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Adventures of Supergirl #4

Adventures of Supergirl:Chapter 4 came out digitally yesterday, starting a new mini-arc within this 13 chapter storyline. Writer Sterling Gates continues to have a great hold of the characters' voices. This is still a show Supergirl who is early in her career and so still working out the wrinkles of being an active hero. So seeing her response to difficulties here, both inflicted and self-inflicted is spot on.

The new villain is Vril Dox, an old frenemy of Supergirl's from the R.E.B.E.L.S. days and close enough visually to Brainiac 5 to make their encounters a bit more juicy as a fan. This storyline dovetails a bit with the recent Indigo episode, focusing on computer threats.

Jonboy Meyers comes on board as artist and brings a very stylized look to the book. I'm used to a more cheesecake-y take with Meyers but he reels that in nicely here. There is a jagged sort of electricity here to the proceedings, best scene in a panel shown below. And that Cat Staggs cover is electric. I like the mix of photo-realism with Supergirl/Benoist mixed with the pixel-y Brainiac screens.

Gates continues to shine, no big surprise. There is a wonderful mix of character moments, nice little riffs on his prior runs, homages, and action that really makes this crackle.

The last mini-arc started with Supergirl disrupting a football game. It ended with Supergirl flooding a sewer site while trying to apprehend Rampage.

CatCo's response? #Sewergirl. It turns out that rescue interfered with the water system of the city.

Again, this is early in the show's run when Supergirl was dumping oil into the water and trying to become an inspirational hero. Later in the show we see Cat ardently defend Supergirl from her detractors.

But early on? I guess all is fair game. And if pouncing on Supergirl sells some papers, that Cat would go with it.

James calls Kara to speed into work because a SWAT team on the premises. Initially Kara is worried that they are there for her. But she is surprised to see that instead they are after Winn.

We learn more later but I liked how Winn tells Kara not to look into things any further. This is a warning and shows that maybe Winn is stronger than he initially might appear to be. He doesn't want his friend endangered when he can handle thing on his own.

This also is intriguing because this is clearly pre-Toyman reveal. That relationship might be an easy reason to jump to his being arrested.

We have learned a lot about Cat over the show. She started out as something of a callous narcissist. But since then we have learned about Adam, her struggles as a woman in a position of power, and even a story she buried that haunts her.

But again, we are early. Kara and the staff don't know any of that yet.

So we get a sort of a maximum 'Devil Wears Prada' feel to Cat here. She could care less about the SWAT team taking away an underling. All she wants is her latte so she can recover from an all night party.

I think JonBoy Meyers was born to draw Cat Grant. This is the Cat in my mind's eye. Impressive!

Heading to the CatCave, James reveals that Winn was arrested for doxxing someone.

This might be my favorite exchange in the book. Kara has to let James now that doxxing is threatening, intimidating, and dangerous ... especially if you are a woman on the internet.

It makes me wonder about Kara's past encounters. But the stern look on her face, bathed in the glow of the monitor, is a perfect representation of her sentiment. When art and words complement, comics is the best medium.

On a slight down continuity note, that is the most hair I have seen on James ever.

When the system boots up, James and Winn are greeted by V.R.I.L., an acronym. VRIL says he is Winn's 'helper daemon', a supposedly souped up Siri.

I have seen enough horror movies and read enough Oracle stories to know this isn't good.

But initially VRIL seems to be helping, pointing out that Winn's personal information has now been leaked. It includes false information like he was behind a terrorist attack in Leesburg Virginia. That info seems to rile up the SWAT team who has him in custody.

Now doxxing and internet threats were just on the show. So this resonates a little.

And a Leesburg reference is always appreciated.

As I said, there was a lot to like in this issue. This is my favorite action panel. Supergirl rips the top of the armored SWAT vehicle off to grab Winn. I know the 'glowing eyes in a dark face' is an image that has been overused to death. But when used sparingly and it makes sense (the sun is behind her, of course it'll be blazingly bright around her and her face will be in shadows), it is a nice effect.

Claiming she is 'grabbing the terrorist', she takes off with Winn.

Again, it's early in her career. Interfering with a SWAT team and leaving with a suspect can't be looked upon as a good act. I wonder if we will see fallout.

Safely away, Winn reveals that he has uncovered proof that the world's best hacker, someone nearly unstoppable, isn't human. He is an alien named Vril Dox. V.R.I.L. is no helper daemon. And now he knows Kara's secret identity and has a helpless James in the office.

I can't help but see some similarities between this opening chapter and last week's episode. I also saw much of the ideas of Master Jailer in Rampage chapter discussing sentence lengths. I don't know if this synergy was done on purpose but it does resonate nicely. I also wonder if Winn's knowledge of alien codes and viruses in Indigo will be born here.

I thought this was another entertaining chapter in the Adventures of Supergirl. Between the learning Supergirl, the discussion with James, the stylized art and a certain Coluan, this was a great opening chapter.

Overall grade: A


mephosto said...

the politics bother me. i'm personally not a fan of the less than stellar attempts at feminism that show up it the show and now here.

Anonymous said...

If there is an intentional linkage between this and the TV series, all the more power to them. LOVING this series and can't sing its praises enough!

Thanks again for the review Anj!


Anonymous said...

I am left a bit perturbed by the SJW/New World Order PC tactics in some eps of the show and in this comic book myself. I had enough of fake left propaganda as it was in college!

KET said...

Funny how topical issues pertaining to women today are dismissed so casually as 'politics' or 'fake left propaganda', when the very subject underlining this chapter dovetails perfectly with this week's headlines. Erin Andrews definitely could be able to relate to Kara's concerns over the leak of personal information in this issue. This is definitely the kind of material that IS a perfect 'job for Supergirl', although she's not normally a techie like her BFF Winn. Next issue could be rather explosive if Vril Dox follows through with his perceived threat upon Kara.

BTW, this news just in...cover artist Cat Staggs will also be doing interior art for issue 10 of Adventures of Supergirl.


Anonymous said...

I agree with KET. Supergirl's only real-life superpowers are her abilities to entertain, inspire, and inform. The comics can't just be Supergirl punching her foes until they fall down.

And, I have even better news: Supergirl has been renewed for Season 2!



Godzylla said...

Can't imagine why whiny anonymous losers troll the internet to insult people, but oh well. The show's fun, though it has some problems. I'm waiting to pick the series up in print, so I'm looking forward to it. Thanks, Anj!

Martin Gray said...

Well, I didn't see anything particularly political here, but given that this version of Supergirl is in part a workplace drama, a few 'feminist' moments are entirely appropriate. Young girls and boys are watching the show and empowered women - whether said power is super, business, strength of character, whatever - should be seen; people need to know they don't have to accept that glass ceiling. I'm in the UK, where it's been estimated that gender pay parity will take decades, and if wanting such basic equality upsets the odd dinosaur, fine.

But that isn't what this chapter was about - it was another really well-scripted, energetically drawn chapter for Kara and Krew, with a sterling (sorry) cover. I can't wait to learn more about this version of Vril.

'Catcave'! Nice one!

Anj said...

Thanks for comments.
I don't see a heavy agenda in this comic at all.

I think this is pretty fun ...

Uncle Screensaver said...

I hope this means we'll eventually see a SupergirlxBrainiac 5 storyline. *Sigh* Sgirl and Brainy, my OTP. :P

Anonymous said...

Sterling Gates just "gets" Supergirl....I hope he mines even the most questionable reaches of her silver bronze age catalogue I know he can extract value from Jerro the Merboy and Dare I Say It......"Wanda Five"??