Friday, September 6, 2019

Review: Supergirl #33

Supegirl #33 came out this week and I must admit I was something of a roller coaster of emotions. There are downs and ups and then a little bit of a down again.  The art by Kevin Maguire is great. Overall there are lots of wonderful moments in this book. There are bits in this book that made me say 'now that sounds like Supergirl', something that  has been very rare in this Marc Andreyko written run.

But after a year of Supergirl tooling around in space, this book ends pretty much back where it was at the end of the Orlando/Houser run. Which makes me quote Bugs Bunny. 'Was this trip really necessary?'

It is probably easier to just review the bits of the book that struck me and then give my end thoughts. There is a section in the middle which basically is a repeat of the Legion portion of Superman #14 so I wont be reviewing those pages here. Just know that Kevin Maguire's 2 page spread of the new Legion is just as prestigious as Ivan Reis' pages.

So let's jump right in.

We start out with the Els and General Zod in the Thanagarian prison they were taken just before the idea of United Planets is thrown out before the throngs.

In the cell is the burned out husk of Rogol Zaar's axe. As Supergirl notes, it is a weapon that has racked up a body count. And it seemed to belong to her now.

I suppose having the axe burn itself out is an easy way to get it off the board. You wouldn't want her wielding it long term. They have shown the axe has a strong affinity for her. So remove it, even if you don't explain how.

We then flash back to the battle in space we saw in Superman #14, albeit from a more Kara-specific angle.

She flies in and, as noted above, reclaims the axe as hers.

And then, to show how gritty and dark she can be, she unloads an energy blast that shatters Zaar's eye! Nothing like enucleation to show just how edgy Kara is. (Insert eyeroll emoji here.)

And then Zaar boasts that the only way she can defeat him is to kill him.

Kara thinks she is almost okay with that idea.

It is as if I am supposed to be happy that Kara only 'almost' thinks killing him is okay. I want Kara not to think killing is an option, not by a long shot.

But again this is Andreyko showing just how gritty his Supergirl is ... the Mistress of the Axe who almost is willing to kill. (Insert eye roll emoji here.)

Before the fight goes further, the Thanagarians pick up the lot.

Back inside the cell, Kara reflects on how she is always leading with her pain and anger.

Because that is what I want in a Supergirl comic, an angry, bitter, scarred superhero. See, for me, that isn't Supergirl. And that is the problem with all of these dark takes.

I have said it a million times and I am sure I'll say it again. Supergirl isn't a dark character so Supergirl fans won't like dark runs. And people who like dark characters don't like Supergirl so they won't buy these runs. It is a recipe for disaster and DC learns it every 5 years or so.

So after reading these early pages I was about ready to chuck the book in the air and declare the Andreyko run a complete disaster.

And then, amazingly, we get this complete left hand turn, a sudden change in tone. A sudden redemption arc.

Now that Kara has learned about the destruction of Krypton (I guess ... did we actually learn that Zaar did it?), and with Zaar in custody, she feels as if her rage is gone.

It seemed to define her for a while but now she feels human again. Hmmm ...

And Maguire absolutely sells it with the expressions on Supergirl's face as she works her mind around the problem.

With the UP established and the Legion gone, there is nothing left but the wrap up.

Z'ndr Kol, as adopted son of Gandelo, now runs the Trillium group.

Kara and him flirt before the transmission is lost. I guess we'll never see the Supergirl/'Brainy' date we wanted.

It seems like Andreyko is trying to wipe the slate clean of many aspects of his run. Time to move on I guess. No axe. No Kol.

I do love that Maguire returns to the famous 'finger to the mouth' physical quirk Kara has had since the Silver Age. It is such a throwback for old timers like me! Makes me happy.

And then there is a prolonged and great scene between Kal and Kara. And these pages are exactly the sort of Supergirl I want to read, which makes me think that Andreyko is trying to return us to a more classic Kara.

She is at peace now.

And guess what! She is going to not roam the starways! She is going to call Earth home!

So while this makes me happy, over the last 10 years I think I have seen Supergirl declare Earth her new home 5 times.

I don't need to see this again. Let's have her be an Earth hero for 10 years now. This scene is like Martha Wayne's pearls.

But again, glad to see it. We are getting back to normal.

And then a scene that all Supergirl fans, but especially us old ones, love to see. Superman says he is proud of his cousin. I love this. Wonderful. And sold so well by the panel by Maguire. You really feel Supergirl leaning into that hug.

There are some nice little flourishes at the end too. Supergirl says she was a science prodigy, incorporating Jor-El's teleportation system into her suit. That is a nice call back to Kara's history. I want to see more of the science guild Supergirl, tinkering with experiments.

And then she is back on Earth. She's home.

Whew. Quite a turn around!

The back end of this book with Kara being happy, at peace, in a loving family, and wanting to be a hero on Earth. So we are sort of back where we started aren't we. So did we really need this wild goose chase of archival stones and vague histories? Did we need the angry Kara nearly beheading people, wielding a rifle. Did we need an Omega Man side story? In 4 years, will people remember Gandelo and Z'ndr Kol? Did we need another 2 years of a darker Kara? I don't know.

And just when it seems like we are back to where we want to be ... wait for it ... a different Dark Kara, this one by the Batman Who Laughs, is around the corner!

I loved the back half of the issue.

Can we keep that sentiment for a little bit?

Overall grade: B


John (somewhere in England) said...

I confess, I only bought this comic because the Legion of Super Heroes is in it, but I was pleased with the optimistic note on which the story finished and I loved the art. Here's hoping for happier times for Supergirl fans!

Anonymous said...

Is it only me, but there seems to be something with Supergirl issue 33 / 34, least from the last couple volumes.
Consider :

Supergirl #33 - the issue just before Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle came onboard.
Supergirl #33 (New 52) - takes off the red ring, and declares earth her home.
Supergirl #33 (Rebirth) - from the points you mentioned Anj, we seem to be turning a corner, at least.

I'm wracking my brains what Peter A David's Supergirl was doing in issue #33, and I don't know about Supergirl's
incarnations further back than that.

can only see where things go from here. Like you Anj, I'm unsure about the cover of issue #36. I'm hopeful, but...


William Ashley Vaughan said...

Loved the Legion double page spread. Also liked Kara's kidding around with Jon at Zod's expense. Also her obvious admiration for Kal's decency. Hopefully, once she gets out from under the Man-Who-Laughs crossover, we can see brighter, better stories of her from Andreyeko or someone else.

KET said...

"I'm wracking my brains what Peter A David's Supergirl was doing in issue #33, and I don't know about Supergirl's
incarnations further back than that."

Well, she was dueling it out with an axe-wielding Murmur riding a I suppose an axe prop does carry over from that. Relatively minor skirmish of a story (although with guest pencils by Jason Orfalas). Of course, Supergirl won the fight, and thought she'd have the axe as a prize memento...but then it disintegrated in her hands.

I suppose it's sorta good the current space saga finally meets its end, although that "Year of the Villain" stuff coming up doesn't seem like much of a future improvement.


Martin Gray said...

Nice review. I liked it a little more than you, I grabbed every bit of light and made that glass full.

How funny that we both saw bits of Silver Age Kara in there!

Professor Feetlebaum said...

Any review that includes a quote from Bugs Bunny has got to be good!

"Supergirl isn't a dark character."

True, but that's EXACTLY why DC keeps going back to that tired old theme again and again. In their minds, there is something fascinating, maybe even satisfying about a "good" character going bad. ESPECIALLY a character like Supergirl, a Silver Age character who some see as Snow White, Cinderella, Shirley Temple and the Virgin Mary all rolled into one.

The axe burning itself out, and Kara's sudden turn around is typical of the way things just happen in this storyline.

And just when it looks like things MIGHT be getting better...there's another "Supergirl is turned evil" storyline right around the corner. Talk about "out of the frying pan and into the fire".

Anonymous said...

A last useless burst of gratuitous cruelty (Supergirl Fights Dirty and Maims a Bad Guy Just Like a Marvel Hero!!), 2019's Awesome Big Bad is locked up off panel (I guess the creatives lost interest & forgot about him) and then a sudden lurch to Sweetness and Light....This actually almost makes sense given the entire story arc has been a complete botch. Oh and Where did the Thanagarians get the Mojo that allows them to lock up FOUR Kryptonians presumably at Full Power? I must've missed that memo...
And I agree after a full year of this mishaugas and I am still not sure Rogol Zaar really destroyed Krypton and I know I don't care one way or another. Oh and Supergirl is sworn in as an acting member of the JLA (in that book) , cheated out of a berth with the Legion but we all know this is just filler until Supergirl can go full zombie in her own damn annual this fall.

How the hell did we get here? We keep saying it can't get any worse and yet it does...


Anj said...

Thanks for great comments!

This issue had ups and downs. Some looked more at the ups. Some more the downs.

I’m just bummed that despite the ending, we have an infected Suoergirl coming up.

SimB said...

Is the Batman who should have never reappeared(sometimes I think I'm the only one who has no interest in that character at all. Nice to know there are at least a couple of others) is responsible for Kara's next dark turn, so it's not being treated as an actual character progression but has NOONE in editorial looked and thought "too soon!"?
Thanks again Anj. I look forward to your Legion the future!(sorry I had to)

Anonymous said...

Thanks kindly for that :). Unfortunately I didn't have my PAD issues handy nearby to check prior to posting my response.

@Martin Gray
> I grabbed every bit of light and made that glass full.

+9000 to that. Or as Kara says "Hope, Help and Compassion For All!"


Travis Bickle said...

I hope Kara and Z'ndr in a future comic they have their date. Because if that don't happen, this all build of this character will be for nothing. :(
Besides, they have good chemistry and the story of two last children of their societies is something interest to see.