Supergirl #5 came out this week and was something of a statement issue for this new direction. Writer Steve Orlando fills this issue with scenes showing Kara's strength, resolve, and her sentiment towards her new world. If you want a primer on who this Supergirl is, you might start here.
One of my minor complaints about this Rebirth book has been the theme of Supergirl needing to recognize Earth as her home and say goodbye to Krypton once and for all. While that is clearly an important aspect of the character's life, it had been told already ... and recently.
I suppose DC might say that not enough people were reading the last title to have it be in the collective memory. After all, one point of Rebirth was to bring in new readers. But for someone invested in the character, some of the ideas bandied about here - Kara missing Krypton, unsure how much she likes Earth, even a little annoyed by the low-tech here - has been well trod material.
Still, I should be lighting a candle here. Based on the things Kara does and says here, it looks like this plot isn't going to linger. We know how Kara feels about Earth now and she sounds pretty resolute in her acceptance and love of the planet. I am thrilled.
Brian Ching brings a real energy to the proceedings too. I have to say I am slowly warming to his style. Some things still irk me a little. But overall, this issue really buzzed art-wise. There was a real dynamic feel that flowed. And there can be no denying that Natalie Dormer is his model for Supergirl. Look at every panel and see if you don't see Dormer there. Uncanny.
On to the book.
The issue opens with Zor-El and his advance guard of re-animated Argo City citizens to rush National City. The plan is simple. These Kryptonians will steal the odic force (or life energy) everyone in the city to truly resurrect Argo.
The DEO is doing their best to hold these things off but we see them draining people.
But the background story of Zor-El's misguided thoughts in thinking this is what Kara wants is the backbone here. Zor might think that he is doing this for Kara but we know this is his own curse, trying to correct what he thinks was his worst failure.
I love this first page showing us that Jeremiah Danvers is a man of action. Over the panels we see him uncoil like a snake, guns drawn.
I also love how Zor-El complains about Jeremiah's Earth accent when saying Kara. Does this explain the Car-a vs Care-A pronunciation debate???
That is until Supergirl arrives. Here we see her save Maggie Sawyer from being crushed by a thrown car.
I beamed when I saw this panel. Supergirl is smiling! She is carrying a car, an iconic pose. And she clearly is happy to be there to help. Even the slightly snarky 'what did I miss' works.
Seriously, this is Supergirl.
And we see how fierce she is when she literally wraps that car around one Zor-El's troops.
And we see her have to perform the famous rescue scene of catching someone falling out of a skyscraper. This time it is Kara's school rival Ben Rubel. That catch is another stunning splash.
But I like how Ben is ruffled a bit at being saved by Supergirl. We have only seen him as a cool, unflappable, confident young man. Seeing him a little panicked and a little sweaty is a nice peek behind the curtain. And Kara's smile might be a little too satisfied.
I have some ideas why Ben's family ostracized him.
Orlando seems to have a great handle on Cat. She is willing to die to save her workers. She is willing to work with Supergirl. But she is stern. I love her body posture in the second panel here, strong and defiant.
But as I said in the intro, this whole issue is built on Supergirl truly denying this abomination of Krypton and accepting Earth as her home.
And nothing said that more than this sequence. She gets between Cyborg Superman and Jeremiah.
"Father. Get the hell away from my dad."
That is a great line. Father is so formal. Dad is a term of affection. It is clear who she loves. And this position, fists clenched, ready to fight. She has chosen sides.
And then this page. Kara has just told her father that the price to bring back Argo ... killing National City ... is too high.
Those panels of Cyborg are fascinating. It feels like in that first panel he is actually mulling over if she is right. But then he doubles down, saying she is too young (read immature) to understand. He simply doesn't respect her.
So Kara gives this great speech. Zor could have resurrected in other ways than draining National City. That action shows that he is doing this because he is ashamed and angry. Earth is her home, her family, her protectors.
And the art, her facing off screen, chin out, poised to attack. I love this page!
But Orlando keeps the hits coming. As I said, this is going to be the foundation of this Supergirl.
In her fight with her father, glass shatters from skyscrapers, endangering bystanders. She breaks off the fight to collect the fragments.
When Zor-El questions if she truly thinks she can save everyone, she says she knows she can.
Another excellent moment. I am usually a fan of being shown something not being told something. But all of this dialogue from Kara, aimed at her past and her father, just works. These are all the things Supergirl should be saying.
This doesn't stop Zor-El from pressing his attack, both physical and psychological. We already heard him say she is too young to make important decisions. Now he says she is too weak to do what's right. He can't imagine why she wouldn't want Krypton to come back. And as if to prove it he bring Argo City to Earth.
I have said before I feel for Zor-El, a character who has gone through many awful iterations in the last 20 years. This one is pretty terrible. He is a narcissist. He is petty. His responses to Supergirl are almost immature, lashing out at Earth out of spite. But this emotional barrage against Kara is particularly cruel. We saw at the beginning of the New 52 that these two had a good relationship. So seeing him descend into this kind of villain is sad. I keep hoping we'll see a glimmer of the old guy shine through.
This was a fabulous issue, my favorite of the run for its overt message. Kara is a hero. Based on Earth. Where her family lives. And she will save everyone. Just perfect.
Overall grade: A+