Friday, April 1, 2016
Kole Comic Box Commentary
There have been times on this Supergirl blog that weariness has set in and I have wondered if I would have the strength to continue.
At times the character has been written so horribly that I felt maybe I should just quit because it was hard to review.
Right now Supergirl is at the height of her popularity with a show, and merchandise, and a new book on the horizon. Professional sites are numerous and are covering her better than I ever could. They can get interviews and free giveaways and previews from CBS, WB, and DC Comics that a small run fan site like mine would never be able to. Maybe this "small business" blog should be put out of business by the "big box store" Supergirl web sites. Just yesterday, I read a long diatribe on a big site from someone who claimed to be a Supergirl fan, both comics and television, who then wrote a giant article misunderstanding her and misrepresenting the show. But that will get way more hits than I could hope for here, becoming the basis of Supergirl knowledge for someone just learning about her.
Lastly though, we are approaching 8 years of blogging about Supergirl. Maybe I have simply run out of things to say about Kara Zor-El and Linda Danvers.
So I'm quitting.
But I don't want to leave the comic community all together. And so just like I did 8 years ago, I have decided to focus on a misunderstood character who needs some love and coverage.
So welcome to Kole Comic Box Commentary!
And what better place to start that focus than with New Teen Titans #9, her first appearance. Written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by the legendary Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (praised be his name), the issue is the ending to a long arc while introducing us to our hero!
I am going to try to catch us up as best I can in a short time. The true Titan Thia has come to Earth to reclaim her daughter Lilith. Thia has decided to take over Mount Olympus and has imprisoned most of the Greek Pantheon as well as the Amazons of Paradise Island in a crystal prison. The prison has been made by someone named Kole. Once in power and unopposed, Thia will bring a bloody rule to Earth, forcing humanity to worship the Titans as they should.
The Teen Titans and a handful of freed Greek Gods are outside Olympus trying to mobilize their forces to free the captured gods and Amazons as well as repel Thia's forces. But earlier skirmishes have been pretty bloody including the deaths of a number of minor gods.
Garcia-Lopez really shines here in this fantastic landscape filled with wild characters. I loved this page construction, having the goddess Mnemosyne use her body as a tapestry to show the history of the Titans to all around.
But Themis, the Goddess of Justice and Wonder Girl Donna Troy aren't going to let this end. Both vow to free their comrades and bring justice to this world.
The discussion is interrupted by Thia sensing that Kole's crystal prison is under attack.
Again, Garcia-Lopez shines in these pages as it is all out craziness. As an old school Donna Troy fan, I love his Wonder Girl, strong and determined throughout the issue.
Before Wonder Girl can try to smash the prison, Kole makes her first appearance!
She phases through the crystal walls. She says she 'spun this crystal' herself. And then, showing how powerful she is, Kole simply crystallizes Wonder Girl.
I love this panel, showcasing Kole and her costume nicely in this first appearance page.
It amazes me how much Garcia-Lopez can do in this small 1/8 of a page. Kole's costume showcases the crystal aspect of her power. Remove the word balloons and this could be a t-shirt for the character.
Now you might think that Kole killed Donna. But somehow she simply encases her in crystal. We hear that Donna is still breathing, although somehow solidified into crystal.
And Kole is no slouch. She skirmishes with Starfire and is able to briefly get the upper hand. Like Donna, Kole comes close to transforming Kory into crystal (Kory-stal?). But a starbolt is able to break the process.
Vic using his sonic gun attachment is able to shatter the crystal around Donna freeing her as well.
In a sign that Kole isn't evil, we see our Crystal hero begin to cry in fear. She is afraid that Thia will be angry and will punish Kole, turning her into a 'crawling creature'. Kole isn't a follower of Thia. She is a slave to her, abused by her.
With Kole clearly conflicted, Donna flies to the prison and shatters it with a massive punch.
The amazons are freed!
Kole reveals some of her tragic backstory. She asks Hippolyta for forgiveness. She was forced to imprison the Amazons. Thia had kidnapped Kole and forced her to obey Thia's commands.
She is clearly contrite. Head held low, almost embarrassed, Kole asks for absolution.
Again, this panel is a quarter of a page but Garcia-Lopez stuffs it full of artistic wonder. Look at Donna's defiant pose and contrast it to Kole's contrite one.
Thia realizes that her plan for total domination is slipping from her fingers.
But in contrast to Kole, instead of asking for some sort of reconciliation, Thia stands angrily and defiant. Lilith's pleas go unheard.
If Thia cannot control Olympus, she will destroy it and all her enemies. She calls on the fearsome monster Typhon to rise and raze it all.
But the Teen Titans, the sympathetic Titans, the freed Gods all band together to fight it.
I love the insane picture of Thia looking over the battle. Just wonderful.
We get splash pages galore of the melee.
And within the fight, Hyperion, Thia's husband but also a Titan who recognized his time has past, embraces his wife. He releases all his power, immolating both himself and Thia, killing them both.
Freed from her shackles, Kole unleashes her powers to their utmost, transmuting Typhon into crystal, ending the fight. She is the ultimate hero in this last battle.
We also hear a little more of her origin. Her father gave her these crystal powers. She was kidnapped by Thia and forced into service.
But now she is free. Free to live her own life and write her own story.
There is nothing left but the wrap-up. The Olympian gods are freed from their chains. Zeus, in a seemingly rare moment of clarity, embraces equality. He invites all the gods and all the Titans to live together freely. It is time for peace.
But he calls on Lilith to live there. She doesn't belong on Earth. She belongs with her own kind. She accepts.
And so, the Teen Titans, with Kole in tow, return to Earth. Their time with the gods and the titans is over. And Kole's story is only beginning.
Hopefully this has whet your appetite to learn more about the new focus for this site. Hopefully you will see some of the aspects of Kara and even Linda Danvers in this story. And hopefully you want more.
Because Kole Comic Box Commentary is one four the ages!