Thursday, December 29, 2016

Best Of 2016 - Top Ten Supergirl Moments In Comics; #10-#6

We are nearing the end of my Best of 2016 posts, looking at the back half of the Top Ten Supergirl Moments in Comics this year.

Unlike some years, there was plenty of great moments to pick from which means plenty of comics that Supergirl appeared in! In fact, looking at this list, there are moments from 7 different titles. That's pretty incredible.

And, as is typically the case, I had a very hard time picking the #1 moment. The top two moments flip-flopped in the top two slots in my mind so many times I thought I should label them 1a and 1b. But that felt like cheating. So I had to put my mind to it and just choose.

Lastly, I always ask that folks let me know what you think of the list. Is there a moment I completely missed? Is the order wrong? Should something else be number one? And what are your thoughts of the year in total for Supergirl.

I might rank this as one of the best years in her history given how much she has exploded in popularity. But that is really something to look at from a distance. Given how long one post covering the top ten would have been, and based on a fan poll result on Twitter, I split this into two days of coverage. So settle in for #10-#6 ...

Best Moment of 2016 #10: Off to save the day! (Superman/Wonder Woman 29)

It was the Final Days of Superman, the New 52 Superman that is. A #Rebirth, a redemption was just around the corner. And a slowly dying Superman was facing off against a fiery human injected with a portion of the Man of Steel's powers.

Supergirl hadn't been seen for months in comics but we just learned that she herself was basically de-powered and hanging out at the DEO where they were trying to re-energize her.

When Supergirl hears her cousin is in trouble, she doesn't waste any time. She grabs her cape and leaves to help him. Semi-powered or not, she would not be stopped.

After the rather strained relationship Supergirl has had with Superman in the New 52, it was refreshing to see that Supergirl cared for her cousin so much she was willing to risk her own life to help him. The resurrection or rekindling of the super-cousin relationship was one of the best things from #Rebirth for me.

Best Moment of 2016 #9: Can I count on you? (Action Comics 51)

We then see the familial relationship from Moment #10 from the opposite direction. Whereas in the prior moment it was Supergirl streaking to save Superman, here we see the esteem that Superman has for his younger cousin.

In Action Comics #51, written by Peter Tomasi with art by Paul Pelletier, the New 52 Superman reveals to Supergirl that he is dying. In a scene reminiscent of 'V' showing Evey the Shadow Gallery, Superman shows Kara the Fortress and says it is hers. He also asks her to take up his mantle and protect Earth.

"Can I count on you?" he asks. And she says "Yes. Yes, you can."

Again, remember that this was the New 52 Kara, the one who wanted to live alone in a Fortress at the bottom of the ocean, the one who kissed H'el and called Earth a stinking mudball. She got on a space motorcycle and flew into space abandoning the planet. While Tony Bedard, K.Perkins, and Mike Johnson did yeoman's work rehabilitating the character in the latter issues of her own title, the overall tone of this Supergirl was one who wanted to reject Earth.

So seeing her, without pause, say that she was ready to be everything Superman was, to love and protect Earth, felt like a turning point.

Best Moment of 2016 #8: Alura angst! (Adventures of Supergirl 11)

I think the majority of Supergirl fans were thrilled when DC finally announced that Sterling Gates would be writing Adventures of Supergirl, a digital first comic based on the Supergirl television show. Trust me, this was a great series and we'll see more from it soon.

One of the underlying plots of the show was Supergirl realizing that her parents weren't perfect paragons of virtue. Her mother Alura , the great judge and defender of justice, is somewhat flawed. She knew Krypton was dying. She used Kara as a lure to arrest Astra.

In chapter 11 of the Adventures of Supergirl, beautifully drawn by Cat Staggs, Supergirl learns that Alura was aware that a violent and unhinged Facet was in charge of security in the Fort Rozz prison. In fact, Alura and Facet were friends. While Alura may not have agreed with Facet's methods, at the very least she looked the other way.

On hearing this news, and knowing the torture that some of the prisoners endured, Supergirl sits quietly, thinking about what it all means. How could her mother have done that? Does Alura know what those decisions have meant?

It is a silent moment but potent. Everything isn't always rosy for Kara. And it is hard to learn your hero is flawed. Wonderful.

Best Moment of 2016 #7: I'll never abandon you! (Supergirl Rebirth Special 1)

The announcement of a new Supergirl title, written by Steve Orlando, was dropped at the #Rebirth press conference. Orlando said all the right things about the character, talking about her optimism, her giant acts of heroism and her compassion. One of the things he said was that this Supergirl was someone who would stop you from being a villain but would then visit you in prison to make sure you were doing well.

In the Supergirl Rebirth Special, written by Orlando with art by Emanuela Lupacchino, Kara confronts Lar-On the Kryptonian werewolf. While she does fight him, desperate to stop him from killing anyone, she tells him that she cares for him. Her father Zor-El may have abandoned Lar-On, sending him into the Phantom Zone. But she isn't her father. She won't do that.

That sort of compassion for her foes, that bright outlook on things, is a great #Rebirth for the character. Gone is the angsty angry loner. Here is someone who wants to help everyone.

Best Moment of 2016 #6: Science Guild Novice ... and Comet! (DC Superhero Girls Finals Crisis)

I have talked throughout the year about how great the DC Superhero Girls are. The shorts, the toys, the comics, the merchandise ... it all has just been fun and engaging. The creators have given each of the characters a unique personality and some quirks. It would have been easy to make the girls one-dimensional.  But writer Shea Fontana has really fleshed them out.

In particular, Supergirl has been given a lot of depth. She's fun, innocent, quirky, maybe a bit dorky. She also is quick to action and fierce when she needs to be. This high school Kara has all the character elements that made me love Supergirl to begin with.

Here in DC Superhero Girls Final Crisis, Fontana with artist Yancey Labat, gives us a peek into Kara's past. On Krypton she was a whiz at science (destined for the Science Guild I'm sure), creating a serum to grow sun crystals. But she is bullied a bit, teased for riding her horse Comet to school.

A compelling back story in an all ages book? Awesome. But as I say, all ages includes old timers like me.

And that's the first half of my Top Ten 2016 Supergirl Comic Moments! This was a very good year!

The best is yet to come!


Anonymous said...

Great list Anj, and some moments I missed and/or didn't catch myself... but altogether brilliant
and beautiful! Thanks for mentioning Finals Crisis, as you said, Shea Fontana has really fleshed
out each character within, especially Supergirl. Her "Tests were my kryptonite before even before
kryptonite was my kryptonite" comment still cracks a smile on my face.

Looking forward to part 2 tomorrow! May the rest of 2016 be great, and may 2017 be happy for all!


Hamilton said...

My favorite was your #6! Comet's back! DC Superhero Girls comics have been a favorite with our 5, 4, and 1 year old all year long!

Martin Gray said...

Great commentary, of these five, I'd put number nine in the top position. So much heart.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments.

Kara in DC Superhero Girls is so much fun. I am glad she hasn't been a one-dimensional 'clumsy' girl.

And yes Mart, that conversation with Superman was great. Totally needed to happen!

Anonymous said...

Great list. Personally I'd put number nine and ten way higher.