Monday, October 29, 2018

Bullet Review: Superman #19


One of my missions recently has been re-collecting the earliest appearances of the Matrix Supergirl in the John Byrne run of Superman. I wasn't collecting Superman books on a monthly basis until Panic in the Sky and many of these issues were lost in 'the Parental Purge' so finding them again has been something of a fun little side mission.

This week I was lucky enough to stumble on Superman #19 in the dollar box. This is definitely an early appearance of this 'Supergirl'. We first saw her frozen in ice at the end of Supergirl #16.

So get ready to meet this mystery woman again!

Down in Antarctica, she has been thawed and is very much awake.

She is downright ginger and totally Lana-ish. That is completely appropriate given who this Supergirl turns out to be.

But she is also confused. She know she has a mission and she knows she needs to get to ... Smallville.
Back then, we Supergirl fans were as confused as she was. We had heard over and over, and seen over and over, that Supergirl was she was in the pre-Crisis DCU was gone. Heck, we weren't even supposed to mention her name!

And yet, here was this woman.


I wonder if this was a coloring error but I like the look of the blue leggings on this panel.

It reminds me very much of what Landry Walker and Eric Jones had her wearing in Cosmic Adventures. Of course in the very next issue, this flipped to the standard skirt that we are used to.

And this is also a rather mature appearing super-woman here.

Interesting, in looking at the site, I have never reviewed The Supergirl Saga, the end of the Byrne run on the Superman books. Hmmm ...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coloring error, probably. That's because she is a redhead. John Byrne has complained about it:

"Was it your idea to bring back the character of Supergirl or was it something that DC said needed to be done?"

"JB: That was my idea. I felt it was probably not a good idea to let the copyright on the name slip away, and, what the heck! It was a chance to do a storyline guaranteed to mess with some heads, a significant part of my job description! Unfortunately, several coloring errors -- Supergirl being a redhead when she should have been a blonde, etc, tipped the hand and made the story, probably, even MORE confusing than it was meant to be! (11/2/97) I planned to have her as a recurrent character in the Superman titles. When I left the book, Roger Stern came up with the "Matrix" angle, and progressed her story from there. (10/9/2005)"

Source: http://www.byrnerobotics.com/FAQ/listing.asp?ID=2&T1=Questions+about+Comic+Book+Projects#33

Anyway... yes, this was a blatant bait-and-switch. DC could get away with this kind of tactics back then because online communities were in their childhood, but I can't imagine this sort of "we're going to bring your favorite back, just not" strategy would go well nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Did Byrne plan for Supergirl to be a sort of "SuperLana" or did he have some other concept in mind? It couldn't be any more convoluted and contrived than the eventual Matrix Origin believe me...and to think fans used to complain about the silver age Supergirl's allegedly hackneyed origin, its a model of sparse simplicity by comparison.


JF

Anj said...

She does reveal herself to be imprinted from Lana in that arc. But quickly she adopts the blond hair and more classic 'non-Lana' SG look.

Anonymous said...

A woman found in ice dressed similarly to Superman (and reminiscent to readers, of course, of Supergirl) was a promising and intriguing start.

This got turned into:

1) Lex sent her back to the distant past to give Superman "more time" to find her. That's just - silly.

I forget if it was intended for her to land in ice - if it was, it's even less likely a time-travelling Superman would have found her. If it wasn't, well then Super-Lana would have had a longgggg boring time waiting even for baby Kal-El to arrive on earth, while hoping grown-up time-travelling Kal-El would find her.

2) The "excuse" for her to appear in the Supergirl costume was that Lex "dressed" her in clothes that would make Superman trust her more, to make Superman willing to return to Lex's pocket universe to help with the threat there. But: (1) they fight, so it sure didn't work, and (2) in the end, she never actually asks him to come back with her. She gives him no choice. She just pushes a button and presto, they are back in the pocket universe. (I guess that could have been corrected with 2 lines of dialog: "Will you come back with me to help?" "Sure!" But that dialog never happened.)

It seemed to me that all they had when they started the story was the intriguing 1-page teasers over the course of many months, and struggled to reverse-engineer something semi-coherent.

And boy was the purple Matrix-slime just gross! Wish they had found a somewhat more appealing version of the Matrix essence.

T.N.

Anonymous said...

"Did Byrne plan for Supergirl to be a sort of "SuperLana" or did he have some other concept in mind? It couldn't be any more convoluted and contrived than the eventual Matrix Origin believe me... and to think fans used to complain about the silver age Supergirl's allegedly hackneyed origin, its a model of sparse simplicity by comparison."

Fans who complain about SA Supergirl's hackneyed origin are usually 90's fans who can't care less for the Pre-Crisis "relics" and haver never read those comics. I still remember a Post-Crisis Superman fan saying Pre-Crisis Superman had a more convoluted origin and backstory...

"It seemed to me that all they had when they started the story was the intriguing 1-page teasers over the course of many months, and struggled to reverse-engineer something semi-coherent."

Well, I like JB's art, but he isn't the great plotter and writer their more ardent fans would like believing he is.

Devdigs said...

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