Thursday, January 3, 2019

Supergirl Best of 2018: Top Ten Comic Moments #10 - #6

It is that time of year, a time to look back and gauge the last 12 months. It is one of my favorite times of the year for this site as it gives me the opportunity to review all the places and all the stories that Supergirl has taken part in over the year.

2018 was an interesting year for Kara. Her own book was put on hiatus when I feel it was reaching a sort of creative zenith. The coming of Brian Michael Bendis meant that Steve Orlando and Jody Houser's Kara was shelved. So for a couple of months we didn't have a solo book.

But the arrival of Brian Michael Bendis meant Supergirl was going to have a new emphasis. First off, she played a big role in The Man of Steel, the introduction of Bendis' bold new direction. It also meant that her solo title, when resolicited, was going to have a very different approach and feel.

We also got to see Supergirl in other books - Wonder Woman, Injustice, and even a holiday special. She had small roles in Justice League:No Justice and other books.

But the big thing is, for the most part, she was treated well in all these appearances. She isn't used as a yardstick to prove how tough the enemy is. She isn't immature or foolish. And in some ways, she outshone the bigger names in these books.

As this would be a very long post if I covered all ten, I'll do the back end here. Covers, honorable mentions, and moments #10 - #6 will be covered here.

Onto the best moments of 2018.

I think I have to start the post with Supergirl's appearances on covers. It has been something of a banner year for Supergirl on the front of magazines.

She appeared on two variant covers of Action Comics #1000, one by Artgerm and another by Tyler Kirkham. She was also part of the 1950s montage Action Comics #1000 cover by Michael Allred.

She has had two excellent variant cover artists on her own book - Artgerm and Amanda Conner. Both of them have really shined. And I don't want to give the main cover artists - Terry Dodson, Robson Rocha, and Doc Shaner short shrift.

And I love the two appearances she made on Jenny Frison's Wonder Woman variant covers. The first one with her and Diana sharing an ice cream cone is just about perfect!

On to the comic book moments! And it really is the top thirteen moments of the year because of some honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention #3 - 'Another Photo Booth!' from Supergirl #18

Steve Orlando and Jody Houser, put together a great ending to their time on the book.

Here, it is the end of the year dance at the National City Technical High School. Kara is there by herself. But then an alien comes attacking and the DEO storms the building.

Kara has to speed into action as Supergirl. And with no phone booth around, she heads into the prom's photo booth. It is a classic moment, the photos showing how she changes from Kara Danvers to her superhero form. This is a fun shot by Carmen Carnero.

We have seen Christopher Reeve do it in Superman III, we saw it in Batgirl #14 issue (one of the best moments in 2010 ), and even in the Supergirl television show!

Honorable Mention #2 - 'A girl and her dog!' - Supergirl #24

Supergirl has head off into space to investigate Rogol Zaar and his role in the destruction of Krypton. Krypto has come along to help out. And almost immediately, it is clear it is a good thing her faithful pooch joined her.

What says action more than a barroom brawl! And when the customers aren't forthcoming with information, Supergirl decides to persuade them. And there is Krypto by her side.

Okay, mostly this made the list because this Doc Shaner 2 page spread is just too gorgeous to not bring out again.

Honorable Mention #1 - "A Kind of Justice League" - Wonder Woman #48

I don't know if there is much to remember from Jame Robinson's Wonder Woman run. I don't think much of it will stick. But there is a moment when Diana and her brother need to put together a team to fight the Dark Gods. They need a Justice League.

Superman is too busy so Supergirl steps in!

I always love Kara in the League. And this was maybe a cute nod to Robinson's run on Justice League which was made up of all Legacy characters. How can I not post a picture of Supergirl, side by side with Batman, Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Hawkgirl as they streak to fight a planetary threat! Majestic shot by Jesus Merino!

And now ... finally ... the Top Ten Supergirl moments of 2018, #10 - #6!

#10 - 'Kara, you're a hero too!' - Supergirl #18

We are back at that end of the year school dance. The threat has been vanquished.

Kara and her classmate Ben Rubel have been doing the awkward dance of teenage romance. Do they like each other? Why did he bring Belinda to the dance? Are they frenemies?

Anyways, the truth always comes out. Ben finally reveals that despite his blustery, almost conceited initial persona, he says he is in complete awe of Kara Danvers.

This just reminds me how important a secret identity and a supporting cast and treating Supergirl as a teen hero is key to her book. And I love that Kara has been so impressive in this run, just as much as Supergirl. How cool that Ben was overcompensating!

Again, these last issues by Steve Orlando, Jody Houser, and Robson Rocha were really hitting their stride. Here Carmen Carnero injects some of that awkwardness we all feel sometimes. The book was focused a bit in scope and tone. So, of course, the powers that be pulled the plug.

#9 - 'Sorry Kal' -Supergirl #21

Marc Andreyko took over the Supergirl series after Man of Steel reset the super-family field. Suddenly Supergirl was filled with rage, a desire for vengeance, and a need to discover the truth. She was going to head into space to investigate Rogol Zaar.

In the immediate aftermath, Superman doesn't want Supergirl to rush off. Maybe she can take a breath. But she wants no part of it.

In a tremendous set of small panels, we see her briefly reconsider going, shake her head, steel herself, and then tell Kal no. Kevin Maguire hits it out of the park there.

While I don't know if I agree on an angry Kara. But I like that she doesn't kowtow to Superman. She can make her own decisions. She isn't in his shadow.

And, of course, Kevin Maguire's artwork and expressive story-telling is top notch.

#8 - 'Tis the Season' - Supergirl #25

A last minute entry!

Last month, we got a holiday story in Supergirl #25, written by Dan Jurgens with art by Tom Derenick. In the story, Supergirl tries to track down a beloved stuffed animal from Krypton which was accidentally given away. She finds it at an orphanage where a sad refugee child has it and loves it. Realizing someone else who has been forced away from home needs something to have for comfort.

It is a nice way for Kara to see her origin in someone else but realize how much she has grown. Very nice.

#7 - 'Want to go for a ride?' - Supergirl #21

We are once again in the first issue of the Marc Andreyko and Kevin Maguire run. While she may have been all iron-willed when facing Kal a few moments ago, that was probably bluster. Remember, she is a teenager. She has just established herself in her home and her school. And yet she is going to uproot herself into the unknown. She has every reason to be scared and nervous. So who better to bring along as a companion than Krypto!

Again, Maguire rocks it here. That first panel shows some of that uncertainty. The next shows how thrilled she is to bring her pet with her.

It is a sweet moment. And frankly, the inclusion of Krypto is one of the big winning points of this new direction.

#6 - 'The World has a Freaking Supergirl' - Injustice #24

I haven't read Injustice regularly but when I have picked it up I have been very impressed with how writer Tom Taylor has treated her.

There is something of a nod to her Silver Age origins as she is hidden from the world and maintained as an 'emergency secret weapon' to fight the evil Superman.

In Injustice #24, the time is right for her to leave her 'orphanage', reveal herself, and save the world. She takes the Amazo robot to the moon and outright destroys him, crushing his head. And there is Blue Beetle to just say 'the world has a freaking Supergirl'. It is a great moment, her big reveal to the world where she shows how powerful she is! That middle panel of the Earth looming in the background is powerful. Great art by Bruno Redondo!

But the Injustice Earth is a place without hope. Superman is a fascist. Bastards like Black  Adam are heroes because they are the lesser of evils. And now, the Earth has a Supergirl, a true hero.

When I read this, I thought for sure it would crack the top five. Soooo close!!!

So excellent moments to open the list! Tomorrow, the top five!


Anonymous said...

Love those Jenny Frison Wonder Woman covers. She is a fantastic cover artist and has created an exceptional and unique, largely thematically consistent, run on WW.

Ben Rubel still shows up occasionally in Titans, so who knows - perhaps they will meet again. He's going to wonder where both Kara and Supergirl went. Or, he should.

It can't be an accident that Ben of all people was written in io Titans. Not like he was prominent or had some history. DC must have, or have had, a reason to keep him around.


Anonymous said...

"She isn't used as a yardstick to prove how tough the enemy is."

Hmm... I'd argue she did. In No Justice #4 she turned up, was shot down by Brainiac and never mentioned again. And in AC #1000 she was easily blasted down by Rogol, but I guess we can roll over it since Rogol stomped over her cousin, too.

"So, of course, the powers that be pulled the plug."

Of course.

Good choices, although I think I'd rate Supergirl and Krypto's bar brawl higher than Ben's praise. Supergirl 21 had several good moments, although maybe my favorite scene was when she stated the reasons why she isn't like her cousin.

Dan Jurgens' short story surprised me nicely. I didn't think he cared for Supergirl. It makes me wonder what could have been a proper Kara Zor-El featured in the Super books during the 90's.

That scene in Injustice 2 rocked. A pity it is part of the "SuperHitler vs BatGod" universe.

I look forward to your top five moments.

Martin Gray said...

What a terrific round-up, Anj, the only one I’d toss out would be the Ben bit... he certainly improved, but mainly, gets on my nerves!