I have a preamble for the Top Ten Supergirl Comic moments of 2016 yesterday when I covered #10 through #6. As I said then, this was a great year for Supergirl in comics. It took me a while to sift through everything to come up with this list. And I had a hard time picking the number one moment for the year. As always, I love dialogue so please let me know if you think I missed something, put something in a wrong ranking, or was just plain nuts.
Without further ado, here they are, the top five comic moments for Supergirl in the year 2016.
Best Moment of 2016 #5: All the Supergirls (Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 7)
There were plenty of moments in Adventures of Supergirl that could have made this list. Sterling Gates has such a respect and love of the character that you just know you are going to get a great, high quality read.
Gates respect for the character's history was evident in AoS chapter 7. The main villain was classic Supergirl nemesis Psi, And in the story, Psi batters Supergirl's psyche with dream visions. I absolutely loved how Gates acknowledged all the different incarnations of Kara in this psychic attack. Earlier we saw the New 52 Kryptonian armor, got Nightflame name-dropped, and heard of Supergirl sporting flame wings. Here, lusciously drawn by Emanuela Lupacchino, we see Supergirl fighting the Timm-verse version, the Red Lantern Kara, and even the 'pink Halloween costume' Supergirl.
Having a writer like Gates recognize the importance of the character's diverse and long comic history was just fantastic. When I read this, I thought for sure this would be in the top 3 moments of 2016.
Best Moment of 2016 #4: We're not killers! (Justice League 3001 12)
Justice League 3001 was a wild roller coaster of a title. Writers Keith Giffen and JM Dematteis were having fun with the readers bringing in threads from prior incarnations of the DCU into a dystopian future. The League members were flawed clones of the original members. There was political intrigue; identity politics; the Bwa-ha-ha Booster, Beetle, Fire and Ice; a dark Legion, and a rather Silver Age looking Supergirl. A ton of ideas were thrown against the wall. Much of it stuck. Alas, it was canceled before many of the stories could be closed.
But the Supergirl in this comic was a revelation. Powered like a Silver Age Kryptonian, young and impetuous, fierce in her fight for freedom, and resolute in her ethics, she quickly became the de facto leader for a team in hiding, rebelling against a universal despot.
Think about that. On a team with a literal goddess (Ice), a version of Wonder Woman, a veteran like Fire, and a tactician like the Teri Flash, it was Kara who the team named leader. I think that showed the respect for this character that Giffen and DeMatteis had for Supergirl.
In this scene, with the team fighting for their very lives against the armies of Lady Styx, Supergirl shows that even in the face of disaster, the heroes need to remain heroes. She stops Diana from killing saying that they are the Justice League, they aren't killers.
That is a showing of great moral fortitude. And I loved it. Thank you Mr. Giffen and Mr. DeMatteis for giving us this Supergirl for the brief time she shined.
Much has been written about the brilliance of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman. And I agree. That book is about as perfect a Superman story that there is.
One of the things often mentioned is the sparse but powerful 4 panel origin for Superman told in eight words: Doomed planet, desperate scientists, last hope, kindly couple.
In regards to Supergirl, in the past, the similarities between super-cousins' origins have been noted. But more recently, it is the differences which have been highlighted. Kara truly knew Krypton. She was immersed in Kryptonian culture. She lost much more than Superman did and would have a harder time acclimating to a new life on Earth. She is truly more of an immigrant.
In Supergirl #1, writer Steve Orlando and artist Brian Ching really do a great job showcasing that difference dramatically. We get the same feel of that classic Morrison page, four wide screen panels retelling her origin. We see her walking the streets of Krypton with her parents. We see the doomed planet. But there isn't a kindly couple at the other end of that rocket trip. Instead, we get a crash in the cold desolate north, and a lone figure stumbling out.
We know that Kara is a bright, optimistic soul. We know she is a caring individual. But this shows just how shocking this transition is. This shows she might not be able to easily embrace Earth. And it leads nicely into Orlando's vision of Supergirl. This is shorthand to her origins, just as the Morrison/Quitely was for her cousin.
Best Moment of 2016 #2: Sacrifice (DC Bombshells 12)
The first year of DC Comics Bombshells was a very entertaining Elseworlds look at the coming of group of women heroes in a world plunged in a World War. This was a comic based on pin-up art, a merchandising line putting DC's female heroes in images similar to the art painted on WWII bombers. I had very low expectations for this book and was floored with the quality of the story that writer Marguerite Bennett was giving to us. Add to that the cadre of amazing artists on the book and you had a winner.
The heroes were three dimensional, far from kittenish caricatures, and strong. The storylines were delivered in the form of film styles - war, romance, propaganda. And the disparate plot threads all eventually wove into a climax in Europe with the Bombshells uniting to stop a Nazi-backed demonic invasion.
In one of the most powerful moments, the heroes realize someone needs to sacrifice themselves, throwing themselves into the Hellhole and ending the threat. As they debate, we see Supergirl mulling over her thoughts. Her eyes seem puffy, like she is crying. And then,she volunteers.
It is something Supergirl would do. She would never expect someone else to sacrifice their lives when she could in their stead.
And as a long time Supergirl fans, still suffering from her death in Crisis and wondering if/when DC would kill her off again, this made me catch my breath. I loved her making this decision. I feared that it would happen and she would die again.
Any time you can get a well-seasoned, grizzled, and somewhat disillusioned old reader like me to be shocked, to care, to both dread turning the page and desperate to see what happens next, you have succeeded. Add to that the nuanced and superb art by Mirka Andolfo and you have a perfect page.
When I read this, I thought for sure that nothing could top this moment. This clearly was going to be the #1 moment of 2016. What could possibly top it?
Best Moment of 2016 #1: Hope, Help, and Compassion For All (Adventures of Supergirl chapter 13)
And so we come to the Number One Supergirl comic moment of 2016.
Adventures of Supergirl as a whole was a fantastic book and story. I loved how Sterling Gates was able to insert the Facet plot into the overall story of the first season of the show. In fact several times he was able to add something into it which plugged some of the episode's plot holes.
But this was a story of growth for Kara and those are always the best ones. She had to come to grips with Alura's politics ... again. She had to deal with the knowledge that Alex has some skeletons in her closet. And she tried her best to help her villains, bringing some relief and aid to Rampage and Psi.
The book ended with this wonderful coda of a panel. We get Kara's monologue about her life. She has come far over this first year acting as Supergirl. She will fight for what she believes in. She will never waver in her defense of Earth.
And then the #Boom moment ... a new tagline.
She says she stands for "Help, hope, and compassion for all" ... and that says it all. That is exactly what Supergirl is all about.
And so ends 2016. Hopefully I didn't miss anything major from the year. And if you have any moments you want to bring up please do.
This is a time to give thanks for this year and celebrate what we love.
Happy New Year!