Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Supergirl Best Of 2019: Comic Honorable Mentions

Happy New Year's Eve and welcome to part 2 of my annual Supergirl review. Yesterday I looked at all the non-comic events with Supergirl in 2019. Today I turn my eye towards comics. I'll take a look at comics in general and showcase some Honorable Mentions for the best Supergirl comic moments of 2019. Tomorrow I'll announce my top ten Supergirl moments for the year.

As always, settle in. These end of year posts tend to be long! I have 12 months to cover!

 First off, from a blog point of view, there were two secondary threads which were highlighted this last year on the site.

First off, I ran through the early history of the second incarnation of the Supergirl character in a segment I called Matrix Monday.

I'll say that it was pretty fun to look back at the growth of that Supergirl character over time, from her initial concept to her time as a Luthor lover to ultimately embracing her role as hero. I hope folks like that run.

Less Supergirl-centric but just as fun for me was my coverage of Event Leviathan and my various Leviathan Theories. Turns out I was wrong this time. But breaking down the comic for a variety of clues both overt and subtle was really fun for me and kind of re-energized me.

In fact I was so enmeshed that writer Brian Michael Bendis caught notice. And now I will be an agent of Leviathan in this February's Leviathan Dawn special. So look out for my comic debut!

But enough about the blog! Onto the Honorable Mentions for the best Supergirl Comic moments of 2019.

First a couple of side mentions.

First off, kudos to ex-Supergirl scribe Steve Orlando for sneaking a sort of Supergirl moment into his initial Wonder Woman run. Back in  Wonder Woman #53, Diana is battling an Aztec god. In that battle, the deity says 'You turn in battle woman? That is a fatal mistake!' a direct quote from the Anti-Monitor in his battle with Supergirl in Crisis #7.

Amateur comic historians like me, especially Supergirl fans, took notice!

And another sort of extra mention.

I didn't have a lot of high praise for Marc Andreyko's run on Supergirl. But one thing that definitely did click was her relationship with Krypto.

The Super dog added some much needed humor to the grisly events of the book. And also he was sort of Kara's Jiminy Cricket, being her conscience when rage and ax-iness seemed to overwhelm her.

There were times in this run that I said to myself 'Thank Rao Krypto is in this book'. The pooch was often the high point.

And now my 5 true honorable mentions!

Honorable Mention #5: Supergirl 35 - Jeremiah lives!

After spending a year or so in deep space investigating Rogol Zaar, Supergirl returns to Earth to find everything has changed. Closest to home is the apparent death of the Danvers at the hands of Leviathan.

Then, in Supergirl #35, Kara runs into a super-spy who turns out to be her foster father.

After a long run of an angry Kara wielding an axe and shooting a gun, it was good to see her show some familial love and hugging her dad. It showed how much she cared about them and how attached she was to Earth.

Honorable Mention #4: Supergirl 33 - Silver Age quirkiness

You know I am a sucker for Supergirl history. In the Silver Age, one of Kara's quirks was to put her finger to her mouth when in deep thought or when contemplating a love interest. It has been brought back now and then since those earliest stories.

Not surprisingly, Kevin Maguire, known for his expressive art, brought it back in Supergirl #33 as Kara talks about hopefully meeting Z'ndr K'ol in the future, maybe even for a date.

It's a sort of throwaway moment but it leans into Supergirl's history and that always makes me happy.

Honorable Mention #3: Batwoman/Supergirl 100 page - Twinkle twinkle little S.T.A.R.

One of the issues I had with the Rebirth Supergirl was how it tried to meld as much of her comic history with as much of her TV persona as possible. The problem is the TV Supergirl is at least 10 years older than the comic version. So it didn't seem likely that a high schooler would also be able to be a DEO agent and a CatCo employee and a student and a super-hero.

Jody Houser and Steve Orlando began peeling back some of these layers. But in the recent Batwoman/Supergirl 100 Page special, writer Andrea Shea adds a new wrinkle. Kara is fired by CatCo and looks into an internship at STAR labs.

Kara has historically always been a scientist. So the idea of her differentiating herself from Superman, moving away from journalist and more towards science feels like the right fit.

Honorable Mention #2: Supergirl Annual 2 - Super-babysitter

The Supergirl Annual #2, immersed in the Batman Who Laughs Infected story, turned out to be a fun little look back at the young Kara on her last day on Krypton.

One thing I loved seeing was Kara babysit an young Kal and shower him with all the affection an older cousin and a babysitter should have. In particular, seeing that she changed a super-stinky diaper was a laugh riot.

We certainly come a long way from the angry new 52 Kara who wanted Kal to simply leave her alone.

This was a very sweet story by Robert Venditti and Laura Braga. We may see this book again in this year wrap-up.

Honorable Mention #1: Batman 68 - Designated asteroid diverter

It is hard not to put Amanda Conner Supergirl on an annual best of Supergirl list.

But one where she opens up the Fortress for Selina and Lois for Catwoman's bachelorette party is pretty funny. In particular, I like how Kara sort of stammers when she congratulates Selina for marrying Batman. It is pretty clear she doesn't see the appeal.

It is funny and sweet and perfect.

So those were the five that almost made the big list! What moments were bigger or better than those, cracking the coveted top ten? Find out tomorrow!


Ben said...

I really, REALLY hope Jody Houser will see fit to bring back Krypto. Having a lovable pooch around to counterbalance a darker, meaner Kara would be hugely appreciated (assuming they're going to keep her that way for a while yet).

Anonymous said...

As bad as this year was (who was the big bad again? I forget) at least Krypto got some good exposure...Oh well, no where to go but up, Happy New Year Everyone!


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your dissections of Event Leviathan and theories that explored so many corners of the DCU I had not been familiar with. I was also convinced that, as much as you wanted to be right, you probably also wanted to be completely surprised (as long as the resolution made reasonable sense).

I love it that 3 of your honorable mentions are kind of outside the main continuity - the story in in Batwoman/Supergirl Giant #1, Batman #68, and the flashback in Supergirl Annual #2. In its way, it's a sad commentary on the main story.

Another random appearance I really liked was the short story in DC Villains Giant #1 where (--spoiler--) Supergirl shows up, out of the blue, in time to save Jimmy Olsen from Deathstroke. Just a couple of panels, but she's drawn really well and comes across with confidence and power, making a really strong impression. Written by Tom Taylor (who is, deservedly, gold right now) drawn by the wonderful Daniel Sampere. She's not dark, angry, conflicted or confused - just a simple hero.

Happy New Year!


Martin Gray said...

All great picks. Some of my fave moments for Kara this year came in the Brian Michael Bendis Superman series, but I won’t list any as I suspect one or two may make the final cut in this sequence of posts from you.

And yes, I loved the Leviathan Theory and Matrix Monday chat.