Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day Back Issue Box: Supergirl #55

Our national nightmare is soon to be over.

Today is Election Day 2016 in the United States and after a long horrible year of odious politics, it will finally be over.

I have never seen an uglier year in politics. I am one of those people who doesn't like either candidate. I can't believe that these two people are the best we have as possible leaders of the free world. I just can't. And I have been a little repulsed by the muck and hatred that both sides and their followers have slung at the other. 

With that in mind, I thought I would review Supergirl #55 today, a book from early 2001 which touches upon politics a smidge. In this book, Supergirl is disgusted that Lex Luthor is the President of the United States. She wonders just how something as inconceivable as this horrible villain landing in the oval office could happen. And yet, she also is compelled to defend him from an assassin. This Supergirl's conflicted feelings about Lex are well known but adding the layer that he is the Commander-in-Chief is an nice wrinkle.

The art on the issue is done by fill-in penciller Derec Aucoin. His style is similar enough to usual artist Leonard Kirk's that it felt pretty natural. I thought the art here was solid.

A bit of background. This is the Linda who has been stripped of the Earth Angel aspect of Supergirl. She has powers more akin to the Golden Age Superman, leaping not flying, and relatively invulnerable. And she is on a quest to find demons and bring her closer to reclaiming that part of herself.

On to the book.

We start out with an ominous splash page. A killer, clearly aping Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, is aiming a 50 caliber assault rifle, Luthor's face in the scope. He fires the rifle at a target with Lex's face and declares it'll be the day of the mule.

But his words are so apt for today.

"I had such hopes, such dreams for this country. Such incredible dreams. And yet now all I'm left with is the taste of ashes in my mouth. Ashes, and knowledge that the wrong person is in charge."

Cut to Linda and Buzz driving around Washington D.C., following the chaos stream in hopes of tracking down the Supergirl spirit.

They are cut off by (presumably) Rush Limbaugh. The driver (Limbaugh) calls Linda a 'mealy-mouthed, ultra-liberal, Hillary-lover'.

Who would believe, 15 years later, this joke would still be relevant.

Anyways, Buzz talks off changeling demons, minor entities which replace humans and cause havoc. Linda wonders if Luthor could be a changeling. And she wonders just how America 'could be so stupid as  to elect someone like Luthor'.

Buzz can say that Lex isn't a changeling but Jake Mullet, the presidential candidate for The Techno Party, was. Mullet was a third party candidate and got 3% of the vote. Maybe that 3% would have helped the other candidate beat Lex.

After a bit of prisonyard bargaining, Linda gets a vague location of where Mullet is from Buzz.

Changing to Supergirl, Linda heads to the neighborhood where Muller is supposedly holed up. But she can't exactly find the address. Of course, she runs into a group of young male thugs who sound like they might assault her.

Of course, Supergirl is ... well ... Supergirl. She pretty quickly cuts through them and rips the information from them.

I have grown rather fond of this white shirt costume.

We then get back into the head of Mullet. He had an environmentalist message mixed with a progressive technological platform. But at one of his rallies, a donkey sat on Mullet. Luthor pounced on the image, ridiculing the candidate and dubbing him 'Mule Mullet'.

Mullet won't take this lying down. Luthor will be on the D.C. mall grounds that evening listening to a children's choir concert. And that'll be his place to strike.

We see that Mullet is a true techno. The bottom panel is him on a floating platform.

Meanwhile Supergirl is able to track down Mullet's apartment. It is a scary sight filled with high-powered munitions and anti-Luthor papers and posters. It seems clear that Mullet is going to try to kill Lex.

But notice anything else in this scene? What's with the rolling pin and mixing bowl? Seems out of place, doesn't it?

Linda knows that Luthor will be in the open at that concert at 7:00 PM. She only has minutes to save him.

In a nice use of decompressed story telling, we see that Linda actually is contemplating not saving Lex. After all, she finds him horrible in all ways, evil.

But then her heroic ethics kick in. She has to save him.

I think this device of repeating a panel to show the passage of time is overly done these days in the decompressed story-telling style. But here it works nicely.

As for Lex, we see that he is unhappy being at this concert. He whispers he is in hell.

Linda thinks she could sit by and do nothing and wait for someone to rid the world of Lex. But she can't.

She thinks how smug he is. An elitist. And that 'all that has to happen for evil to win is for good people to stand by and do nothing.' Sigh ... that's 2016 all over.

If only we, as a country, could go back to the primaries and rethink things.

The moral ambiguity of both hating Luthor and protecting him is bothering Linda until she discovers Mullet on his battle platform. Indeed, this is part of my problem now. I am voting for a candidate because I dislike the other candidate more.

She still thinks Mullet is a demon in human form. But Mullet is confused by her words. He does know that he is here for a reason and fires a missile at the dais Luthor is standing on.

Even though her invulnerability is dramatically decreased (she can only withstand up to a bursting shell, again mirroring the Golden Age Superman), Linda knows she needs to stop this thing.

She dives in front of the missile, successfully blocking it.

But it turns out that it isn't a standard explosive device. It was filled with pies. Mullet wanted to humiliate Luthor with a pie in the face. Now the baking equipment in the apartment makes more sense.

Had Supergirl known that was all it was, she might actually have let it hit Luthor. But Mullet couldn't tell her. No one trusts anyone these days.

Sigh. That is also still true these days.

In the end, Mullet turns out to be a human, not a demon. Buzz was pulling Linda's leg. And for his little joke, Supergirl shoves some of the pie missile in Buzz's face.

This was a fun rest issue. I liked how David continued to mine the Supergirl/Lex relationship now and then. This second long arc in the book, with Supergirl trying to reclaim the angelic being, was a decent story showing how much Linda had grown as a person. But it didn't grab me the way the first 50 issues did.

If this is in the bargain bin, it is a good enough issue to own. 

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

I don't remember this comic at all, no I am totally bought it sounds a lot of fun, I liked tee-shirt Supergirl too.