Friday, December 6, 2019

Review: Batwoman/Supergirl 100 Page Giant - 'Exit Interview'

The Batwoman Supergirl World's Finest 100-Page Giant came out this week and was something of a delight for me. I'll be reviewing the new Supergirl material here at the site including the team-up story tomorrow. But I think this book is a winner overall all and well worth the $4.99 cover price. Heck, the beautiful Joelle Jones cover alone might be worth it.

But the real treat for me was the new Supergirl solo story titled 'Exit Interview' by writer Andrea Shea and artist Mike Norton.

I very much like the early stories in the Supergirl title when Rebirth happened. There was a re-inventing of her character by Steve Orlando to make Kara a hero, a defender of Earth again. The 'Help, Hope, and Compassion for All' mantra was there.

But one thing that I struggled with was how the title tried to be everything we know about the comic Kara as well as throw in some of the things we know about the TV Supergirl. So she was an intern at CatCo and a DEO agent but also a high school student and a new hero. That was a lot.

This story seems to end one of those threads while starting a new one.

And while I don't know much of Shea's works, I think she captures Kara's voice nicely here. There are echoes of Silver Age Supergirl in some of the dialogue but in a good way.

Mike Norton delivers as he usually does. There are great emotional moments here as well as some action shots. All are done solidly, especially the expressive work.

On to this delightful story!

 We start in CatCo where Cat and Kara are looking over a demolished room. Some social media influencers, guests at CatCo, decided to tear up the green room. Kara was supposed to be watching them but, as usual, she 'vanished'.

Cat calls Kara the worst intern ever. And fires her.

I love the look of surprise and upset on Kara's face in that middle panel.

 We then get a series of panels showing super-heroics that Kara has been performing all while Cat berates her.

Kara can't keep a schedule.

And when she 'vanishes', she returns with flimsy excuses.

Of course, Kara is right on time when it matters - like saving a falling train or rescuing a kitten. I love that joyous look on her face when she gets the tabby out of the tree.

 In the best irony, Cat says Kara doesn't care at all about National City.

We see her battling a dragon over the city.

Yeah, I think she cares.

But it doesn't matter.

She's fired.

For me, it's okay. The CatCo part of this run of Supergirl felt the most forced. How could she do the demanding work of CatCo on top of everything else.

 Upset, she flies to Metropolis and sulks on the Daily Planet globe.

She might say she doesn't want to talk to Superman. But why go here if she didn't?

And good on Superman for sticking it out and saying 'try me'. That's my Superman.

 In a little nod to the Silver Age, she talks about how Superman's legacy is daunting. She is trying to live up to his example.

She misses the fact that she used to be able to head down to her lab and run her experiments. That's where things felt right. That was enough.

A Kara who compares herself to Superman and finds herself wanting? A Kara that is into science so much she has her own lab? Now that sounds like Classic Kara. I love it.

(Interesting it comes right on the heels of the Annual which showed a Kara more interested in history.)

 And then this absolutely wonderful Superman moment, a pure super-cousins delight.

He tells her she doesn't have to be a reporter. She should be who she wants to be.

And when she says living in his shadow is exhausting, he says she is too radiant to be in anyone's shadow.

This is the Super-family I want.

This is the Supergirl I want.

And that fear of not living up to Superman ... classic.

So if she doesn't have to be a reporter, she should do what she wants to do.

The last page is Kara at a job fair at STAR Labs.

Kara the scientist! I love it.

I hope this truly is a beginning and that we see this in the main title and soon.

I might put this as one of the best Supergirl stories of 2019, just beating the deadline.

I only hope it isn't missed because it was put in this anthology and not the main book!

Overall grade: A


Anonymous said...

Really glad you reviewed this here.

Andrea Shea is an associate editor at DC - I've seen her name in lots of credits. She's currently working on Harley Quinn, Wonder Twins, Dial H for Hero, Aquaman, Teen Titans, and perhaps other current books. She also wrote a new 8-page short story in Batman Giant #2.

Her Twitter bio is unfortunately not more specific.

The idea of a role at STAR Labs is probably just a trial balloon at this point, but the story does end with the suggestive "An ending but also a beginning," so we shall see. I think it would be a great setting if it gets introduced into the monthly - a grounded setting on earth yet with the possibility of endless fantastical stories.

I don't consider the memories in the Annual to necessarily be canon, because they were distorted by a dark influence. So, there doesn't have to be a contradiction.

On a sartorial note, while it's at times difficult to distinguish from shadows, I've decided Norton has definitely given Kara bike shorts, and Braga probably has as well.


Anonymous said...

Never realized the holographic eyeglasses not only hide the real hair color, but also disguise the real hair style radically. You really wouldn't think this is the same person. Very cool.


Anonymous said...

I too enjoyed it. It's been apx 5 decades since my last 80-page giant (25cents).
I hope there are more to come w/Kara...

Martin Gray said...

This looks and sounds great, it’s a shame it isn’t available online or in UK shops. I’d be very happy for this to be the new monthly team and yes, getting away from CatCo is great. Mike Norton draws a great TV-ish Kara.

A nice detail Is that the kiddie playing as Supergirl is a boy. Cute.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

It says something that 2 of the best Supergirl stories in recent months (this one and the Plourott story in issue 25) are both one-off stories away from the current ongoing storyline.

"An ending. But also a beginning". Kara pursuing a job at STAR Labs would make more sense in the main Supergirl book. But with THAT title mired in that stupid Batman Who Laffs arc, I'm afraid the idea is just going to fade quietly away.

Martin Gray said...

I wonder if Andrea Shea knows that in the Bronze Age Supergirl’s adopted father, Fred Danvers, worked at Star Labs.

Anonymous said...

So now Kara is gonna work in a lab that is the equivalent to a stone age cave to her? I never thought "Kara Danvers, Intrepid Girl Reporter" was a very creative idea for the character, but making her a nascent techie doesn't really make sense based on the disparate level of technology from Krypton to Earth.
On the other hand a complete career path change does smack too much of "The New Job Every Month" motif that was the down fall of the feature circa 1977...
If I Ran the Zoo, Kara/Linda would have an degree in English (on the notion that Krypton was a planet where a poem literally hadn't been written in over a thousand years, that deficit contributed to its downfall so our heroine thinks) and work as a freelance editor/agent in publishing. Plenty of time to devote to her "Other Job" with odd characters showing up now and again with their manuscripts to drive storylines.