Friday, September 20, 2019

Review: Supergirl #34

Supergirl #34 came out this week and was the first issue since the Rogol Zaar storyline ended. It also was a strong tie-in to Event Leviathan, a book that I am loving and also enmeshed in the the Superman books. And on top of that, it also had a strong 'Year of the Villain' JLA hook as well. More than ever, Supergirl felt like a DCU book, involved in the events of the entire universe. Yes, it will be nice when this book is solely Supergirl's adventures. But this issue made it seem like Kara matters in the universe writ large.

All that said, this was also an opportunity for writer Marc Andreyko to bring Supergirl back to Earth and try to re-establish her here. There was plenty of stuff happening in the book before the Zaar arc, back when Steve Orlando and Jody Houser were guiding the ship. Thankfully, Andreyko picks up some of those plots. There are plenty of stories still waiting to be mined there.

Eduardo Pansic remains on art here and brings a certain scratchy feel to the proceedings. The issue runs the gamut of science fiction, character conversation, and street fighting, showcasing Pansica's range. There is even a sort of gratuitously grotesque scene in the middle making me think Pansica would be perfect should DC restart a horror anthology book.

Overall, this felt like a big step up from the prior angtsy, angry, axe-y books which preceded it. Hopefully, this means the tone of the book will be better. Just in time for infected Dark Kara?

Now the book opens with Apex Lex offering a Brainiac drone a gift, the key to the Fortress of Solitude. While the true Brainiac remains in the Injustice League working with Lex, this little drone is on Earth to retrieve Kryptonian science.

Given access to the Fortress, this Brainiac scavenger suddenly has access to knowledge, enough to elevate himself to feel he *is* Brainiac.

I know nothing of the back story of this little guy. Has this been shown somewhere else? And I also think it weird that Luthor would offer this drone this power, seemingly going against what the real Brainiac wants of it. Did Lex clear this with the Coluan? And what would Lex gain from giving this guy power? It seems weird.

Meanwhile ... hooray!!!

Supergirl is back in National City and welcomed by the populace!

I love this sweeping 2 page spread with Supergirl in a great iconic heroic pose streaking over the crowd.

But even better was the Ben Rubel sighting! And the poster showing he is looking for Linda Danvers! The supporting cast and the setting of Kara in High School was one of the big high points of the earlier run. I hope we get them back.

With this Zaar side adventure over, it is time to get back to Earth business.

 As for Kara, she is trying to get settled again. And that means finding her parents.

Despite Leviathan having demolished all espionage sites in the DCU, a black op site for the DEO remains unscathed. It seems a little weird given my assumption that most DEO folks have been folded into Leviathan and probably would have divulged this being around.

And while it was good to see Shay Veritas again, Andreyko has her smoking and drinking energy drinks ... which seems way off from her characterization prior. At least we are getting back to the book we had.

All that said, Kara knows that Veritas made Eliza's robot hand and that tech can be tracked.

 Last we saw Eliza, it seemed like she was going to join Leviathan. Instead Kara finds the robot hand and a decomposing corpse (presumably Eliza) in a local morgue. The page prior is a gruesome series of panels showing flesh decaying on a skeleton ... like a bit too much.

I like how attached to the Danvers Kara is. This scene of Kara crying when she remembers Eliza getting used to her new hand was a nice representation of her grief.

Of course, this could all be a hoax. Any one handed corpse in that state could be Eliza. Maybe this is a plant?

I was even more suspicious that this was the case when a group of Leviathan troops suddenly appear to attack Kara. Maybe they were waiting for her to track down Eliza? Maybe Eliza is alive, in the Leviathan organization, and knows this is what Kara would do?

Perhaps my favorite moment of this fight is that Supergirl is incensed that Leviathan would hurt Krypto. I hope Krypto remains in this book moving forward.

In the midst of the battle, the Leviathan agents pull out Kryptonite truncheons/light sabers.

Is it a clue that Leviathan has Kryptonite? Who would have access to it?

But the bigger clue is that these guys, while attacking Kara, seem more intent on capturing her. One of them pulls out cuffs like they want to bring her in. Perhaps Eliza thinks that Supergirl could be swayed to Leviathan's ways? After all they 'want the same thing' as Superman?

And maybe Eliza planted the one-handed corpse as a lure?

I am trying to make sense of it. 

 But before things can get too ugly, a new player appears on the scene, blasting one of the Leviathan troopers in the back, apparently killing him.

Just like that, the downed Leviathan men get teleported out. No closer look.

Turns out the shooter is Jeremiah in some Ronin gear!

Another character from the past now back in the fold!

We know that Jody Houser is already in line to take over the book in a couple of months. I wonder if this re-re-direction, back to what happened before, was an editorial decision when they asked Houser what she was hoping to accomplish.

I was happy with the book prior to the Zaar arc. So seeing all these elements I enjoyed coming back makes me happy as a reader. Supergirl works best when she is a hero on Earth, dealing with teenager stuff, and learning to be a hero. The National City set-up, while initially quite busy, was tighter and enjoyable prior to the creative change. So I am hoping we'll see a turnaround.

Not a bad issue. High praise!

Overall grade: B


Anonymous said...

Oh, my God. The former supporting cast and setting has NOT been ditched into "Never-To-Be-Seen-Again" Limboland?

Well, now we know why Elisa wasn't missing one hand in that Leviathan tie-in.

Now the Rogol Zaar garbage is over, it sounds like the book is returning to a workable status quo. Great. Except it is being derailed by events. Not so great.

I guess I should be glad that Supergirl isn't isolated anymore or ignored by the rest of the universe. It was one of my big complains during Orlando's run.

Now if we can get her join a team. Maybe Kara, Babs, Dick, Dona and Wally can form some kind of Mistreated Sidekicks team! But what would it be called like?

Martin Gray said...

Teed-Off Titans?

And yes, what a big improvement. And I now feel guilty about moaning about Eliza having a hand, but it was out of the blue.

As for Shay having a fag, Marc Andreyko is likely just missing Cameron Chase and Mr Bones.

Anonymous said...

In Andreyko's Manhunter series, Kate Spencer smoked. Maybe he uses it as a shortcut for characterization - hardboiled spy/detective/prosecutor - but does that really work now? It's not so glamorous anymore.

I wonder if Shay notified Leviathan, or Leviathan actually is aware of and monitoring The Block.

I'd like to know more about the blue-glowing net technology that Krypto can't blast his way out of. Was it laced with Kryptonite? And - they happened to have brought dog-sized nets with them? A very well-prepared squad.

(And while we all wonder where "Linda Danvers" is, I think you meant "Kara Danvers" is on the poster.)

This was not just better than recent issues - it was GOOD.


Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

Yeah, this was better.

I do wish we didn't have Dark Supergirl coming up!

William Ashley Vaughan said...

This was a definite improvement, especially the way Kara outwits her Leviathan assailants.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

Curious that Jody Houser is returning to write Supergirl again. I wonder if the original intention was for her to take over the book from Orlando, only to have that changed when Bendis signed on.

Anyway, it was good to see Supergirl FINALLY get back to National City, and to see Ben Rubel and Jeremiah again, as well as the reference to Cat Grant. It would have been nice if, sometime during the last 15 issues, Andreyko had thought to include some scenes of what was happening on Earth while Kara was out in space. He could have built up some sub-plots instead of getting sidetracked with all that Omega Men stuff.

And it looks like Supergirl and Kara Danvers were missing persons at the same time. How will she explain that? Maybe she should have a Kara Danvers robot stashed away just in case she has to go flying off on another long adventure. But where could she keep it? I understand there's a hollow tree on the outskirts of National City, but it's occupied by some elves making cookies.

Kinofreak said...

Wouldn't Kara ne able to check the DNA?

Martin Gray said...

In the superhero world, definitely, and she is a science whizz... but would she really have thought to examine Eliza’s and file it away? Seems a bit specialist.