Monday, April 27, 2020

A Little Bit Of Kandor: Candor Prologue

Okay folks, settle in.

Because of the lack of new books coming out and an utter wasteland of news about Supergirl in the current DCU post-cancellation, I have been combing the backs issues for suitable reviews. And I have been focusing a little bit on Kandor given the recent storyling in Batman/Superman.

That has led me to this Candor storyline and I feel it needs to be reviewed even if I honestly say that I detest it.

But it certainly fits the bill for a decent deep dive for a number of reasons.

First off, it definitely involves Kandor, the post-Crisis city which in this storyline is a mishmash of alien beings and Kryptonian survivors. (I think the city was re-established as a Kryptonian city in Superman Birthright ... perhaps another review idea.)

But more importantly, it shows just how wrong DC can get Supergirl. Remember, right now in the DCU Supergirl has been on a downward path of being rage-fueled and then rage-infected. The book is very dark. And that doesn't work for Supergirl.

Unfortunately, DC never seems to learn the lesson. And so we have storylines like this one, early on Supergirl's reboot. You will see as this story unfolds how they make Kara very angry, actually murderous, and not exactly heroic. You will also see how DC hyper-sexualized her despite saying she was a 16 year old girl, something which is totally cringe-worthy. Perhaps worst of all, this is smack dab in the middle of the 'my destiny is to kill Kal-El, my father is mad Zor-El' nonsense.

Yes, just about everything is wrong here. And Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle's salvation was about 2.5 years in the future.

Still, this was very early. I think people were still a bit giddy that we had a Kryptonian cousin around and were still willing to give this a fair shake.

To put in context, Candor happens right after Supergirl #5 in which we see Jeph Loeb (the architect of the Kryptonian Kara reboot). And that isn't a winner either. Nude Kara prancing around her father while saying she'll kill Kal. Dark Kara coming out of her and being generally evil. And a rather inscrutable ending.

Well, we go from inscrutable to impenetrable ...

You also need to remember that this book was happening right as Infinite Crisis was coming out.

The idea was that each title would leap ahead and present stories that happened 'One Year Later' from the prior. So Supergirl #6, the first part of Candor, was going to be farther down the timeline.

I certainly didn't anticipate the new Supergirl would be what she was so far. And maybe this jump ahead would be a course correction. Jeph Loeb was off the character so maybe the 'I'm evil and Darkseid's slave', 'I'm evil and want to kill my cousin','I'm angry and want to be left alone' direction would simply go away.

I mean Greg Rucka was coming on. Everyone knows Rucka writes great female protagonists.

And this image in the 'Next in ..' box was very intriguing. No mistaking those little belt rockets.

And that positioning. It's iconic ...

It is Batman and Robin in this very classic Carmine Infantino pin-up.

So that has to mean Nightwing and Flamebird. But we wouldn't know what they would look like until the next issue hit the stands.

Okay, I do want to include a little bonus and a bit of a sneak peek.

This splash page of the very armored Nightwing and Flamebird appears in the Candor trade (cover above) but I can't find it in any individual issue or special.

I can't imagine it was made specifically for the trade. Perhaps DC had every book come up with a one page teaser for a possible Sampler-style 'One Year Later' book that never saw the light of day?

If anyone has any idea the origin of this, I'd love to hear it!

Anyways, settle in. This is a 3 part story with an epilogue and I don't think I am going to pull punches.


Robert Todd Bruce said...

Despite the odd placement of the 1 Year Later page, I'm pretty sure it was the actually last page of the Superman/Batman #27 story featuring the pre-Crisis Power Girl and the Huntress. If I remember correctly, the original pointed people to the Supergirl issues for more?

Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

Kandor with a C, i am not the only one shocked ?

Concerning the market, you can buy the figurines of Nightwing and Flamedbird of this version ... so some people like this.

I will reread this comic.

Anj said...

Thanks Robert!

I'll check that out tonight!

Martin Gray said...

I’m looking forward to your recaps and comments because I remember barely anything about this other than that I hated it, and don’t recall it actually ending!

Anonymous said...


Good Lord, why are you doing this to you?

I forced myself to sit through that arc again so the DC Wikia had summaries which were actually accurate. And, yes, it was as terrible as I remembered.

Have you noticed the book was edited by Eddie Berganza back then? If I remember correctly, way back in... I mean 2008, you commented on an interview where Berganza defended Kara's portrayal during his tenure, arguing that's what teenager girls are like.


"(I think the city was re-established as a Kryptonian city in Superman Birthright ... perhaps another review idea.)"

Hmm... I don't remember whether Kandor was mentioned during Birthright... although Waid definitely sneaked a Supergirl reference in Birthright.

In "The Third Kryptonian" (Superman #668-670), the alien ghetto was destroyed -and never mentioned again-, and it was mentioned Kandor was a colony established in one of Krypton's Moons.

I don't know what Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns' plans were back then, but when Johns brought Kandor back in "Superman: Brainiac" half year later, the "Off-world colony" bit had been obviously discarded.

By the way, "The Third Kryptonian" is a quite decent story, with some good Supergirl cameos. I recommend to give it a try.

And talking about review ideas... Have you thought about Action Comics #338? I like that story because Supergirl spotted the creepy guy right away, for a change.

"Yes, just about everything is wrong here. And Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle's salvation was about 2.5 years in the future"

I'd say salvation arrived before then. Issue #20 onward, the book went from "awful" to "readable". Kara started acting as a hero instead of whining about everything, and the "Evil Zor-El" nonsense was retconned out. And the final Pre-Gates arc "Way of the World" was good, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Having revived her after nineteen years in limbo, DC did a thorough job of screwing up Cousin Kara, this particular run is viscerally painful to read again. Supergirl is depicted outrageously in almost every issue, a monthly provocation. I sometimes succumb to the entirely paranoid thought that all this sadism is deliberate...there is something about the Supergirl fanbase DC Editorial seems to delight in baiting and or tormenting.


Anj said...

I believe I have all the parts of the 3rd Kryptonian so I will try to dig up.

Also, I did enjoy 'Saving Thomas' as it was way better than what came before but certainly not the quality of Gates/Igle.