Friday, May 1, 2020

A Little Bit Of Kandor: Candor Pt 2 Supergirl #7

Welcome to part 2 of my review of Candor, the second arc in the Supergirl  series from the early 2000's.

I had my concerns with Candor Part 1, an opening chapter which showed and angry, violent, murderous, and barely dressed Kara struggling with her place in a rebellion in Kandor.

A man claiming to be Kal-El is running Kandor like a fascist regime. This Kal is a racist, considering the Kryptonians in Kandor to be the True Children and all others lesser beings. He runs the place with an iron fist, keeping the aliens suppressed and with limited rights. Supergirl and Power Girl went into Kandor to help oust this regime and help the aliens. But to earn the other species trust, they have to don masks and the identities of Nightwing and Flamebird.

I was surprised that Greg Rucka was the writer on this. His female protagonists usually have agency. They usually depth. They are usually more mature. This Kara doesn't read like a Rucka character. And part 2, here in Supergirl #7 isn't much better. In fcat, in some places it is worse. Perhaps Rucka didn't like editorial leanings? After all, he is gone after this issue after this 2 issue 'run'.

Regular series artist Ian Churchill is back. He doesn't bring the same sort of curves that Ed Benes brought to things last issue but this is still drawn to the male gaze. Churchill's characters are always rail thin, almost stretched out.

We are One Year Later in the DCU. Let's head back to Kandor.

We jump into the issue with a massacre.

This Kal-El is sweeping through the non-Kryptonian sections of Kandor with his troops. He is burning buildings and beating citizens. He wants information about Nightwing and Flamebird.

You can tell there is a religious zealotry to this Kal's beliefs. He talks of his faith being tested. He wants to save Nightwing and Flamebird if they will fall in line.

It is a nice juxtaposition here. His talk of saving the heretics and talking old school religion while a city burns before him.

We then head to our heroes' headquarters.

Just like last issue opened with Kara half naked, this issue opens with Kara completely naked in the shower. We see just about everything.

She is troubled. She can't get clean but I think it is metaphorical because we see that her thoughts are all about this destiny to kill Superman.

Just what we want to see in Supergirl, her wielding a knife over a baby in a cradle. Terrible.

But at least we get one brief peek into the events of the missing year. We see Clark as Kara why she is leaving.

But then it gets even more cringe worthy.

Karen shows up to say that Basqatin, the leader of the rebels, needs to see them. And moreover, Karen again is worried about Kara's state of mind. If Kara kills someone, Karen will make sure she stays in Kandor to face justice.

In response, the naked Kara, barely covered by steam, walks up to Power Girl and says she hopes Karen is strong enough to stop her. But there is this weird sexual feeling to this, her hands on Karen's face, leaning in almost to kiss.

The whole scene is rough. Karen truly concerned that Supergirl, our title character, is actually contemplating murder. And then the gratuitous 'almost nude' scenes. And then the 'will they kiss' moment. And once more a reminder this is a book about a 16 year old.

My skin crawls.

Meanwhile, Kal gets a lead.

The four arm tattoo artist from last issue is tracked down. Maybe he knows something about Kara.

To get his point across, Kal burns off the fingers on one of the artist's hands and then rips off one of the guy's arms.

And then we see that while Kal is the face of this militaristic regime, his 'mother' is really calling the shots. She wants her boy to send a message through this tattoo artist. She tells Kal to cover him with the holy language.

As Nightwing and Flamebird, our heroes do head and talk to Basqatin.

He opened up his cause to these two but like everyone he doesn't know who is under the armor. And even though news of Kal burning thousands of homes and killing, he seems excited. A response so great means the powers that be are worried about this resolution.

He sounds blood thirsty. But when Flamebird says she just wants to punch something, Basqatin reminds her that they are in this to win equal rights. Their ultimate goal is to lay down arms.

This whole story is something of a mess. But remember, it was Kara who supposedly made the call to go to Kandor to help the aliens. To see her disinterested seems off from a plot point. I know she is thinking of this Argo thing. But it still seems off.

On cue, we see Kal hold up the tattoo artist, missing is arm and his skin covered in burns in the shape of Kryptonian letters.

Kal has had enough. He has rounded up a portion of the aliens and will kill 100 every 10 minutes until the heretics arrive.

So who is this Kal lookalike? We haven't really been given any clues.

Initially, a Flamebird and Nightwing arrive to rescue the first two victims Kal is going to kill. But that turns out to be a trap. The rescued aliens are suicide bombers.

Ahhh ... but one trick deserves another. These first versions are a fake Nightwing and Flamebird. The two stand-ins die in the explosions.

Then our real heroes swoop in. Nice splash page. I do like those crazy costumes.

But it seems weird that our heroes would let two innocents endanger themselves by flying in as substitutes.

As in last issue, we hear Kara defend Kal-El as a good man. And she finds this guy reprehensible. Especially given that he is using Kal's look and name.

You would think if she admires the real Kal so much she'd try to be more like him.

Then that calling to kill Superman creeps back in. Remember, in this timeline, Supergirl has been trained all her life to kill her cousin. And this guy looks just like Kal. The compulsion is uncontrollable. She looks like she is going to beat this guy to death.

But before she can go that far, the 'mother' of this Kal crawls into Kara's mind. Kara is good for more than just killing ...

Supergirl removes her helmet showing the captured aliens that a Kryptonian is actually their folk hero.

So for the second issue in a row, Kara nearly kills someone. And would have killed someone if she wasn't stopped.

Now don't ask me why but the questions posed by this Kal's 'mother' affects Kara so much that she falls into his arms and kisses him, asking him to save her.

And he grabs her backside.

My skin crawled in that earlier scene. Here I was simply disgusted.

She is 16. He has to be in his late 20's. Plus he looks just like her cousin.

So to see them kissing like this. To see him cupping her butt.

It is just disgusting.

So here I am in this story grossed out.

But wait there is more.

The story becomes nonsensical.

Kal's 'mother' is Saturn Queen.

Okay, now I am lost.

None of this makes sense. And much of it is gross.

One more chapter. Will it get better?

What do you think?

Overall grade: D


Martin Gray said...

Anj, why do you do this to yourself. You’ve read it once, it doesn’t deserve your attention, just your contempt.

I see this book’s assistant editor was a woman, I feel for her.

Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

I do not know what to say ... lex luthor is "almost" a good person when you seee how dc comic treats supergirl.

So thanks you for your comment Anj. I hope dc comic read your opinion and our comments ... we no longer want a kiss between supergirl and superman ! An batgirl and batman, too !

Anonymous said...

"It is a nice juxtaposition here."

I didn't think it was a nice "anything". I thought "Oh, more eeeeevil cult garbage".

So it fits thematically with the rest of the number.

Kara's characterization is... non-existent. Completely fickle. She's angry, she's depressed, she's murderous...

You know what? Sterling Gates was right. Kryptonite poisoning is the only explanation that makes sense.

Oh, and I really don't like the way Ian Churchill draws Kara. I very much dislike that thin body, square facial features and spaghetti hair.

"And moreover, Karen again is worried about Kara's state of mind. If Kara kills someone, Karen will make sure she stays in Kandor to face justice."

Huh? I didn't got that. I thought PG meant she would take SG back to Earth if she thought SG was losing it. But I'd have to read this arc again to be sure.

"Now don't ask me why but the questions posed by this Kal's 'mother' affects Kara so much that she falls into his arms and kisses him, asking him to save her."

Supergirl being mind-controlled into kissing Ultraman is creepier and more disturbing than Superman saying he'd like marrying his cousin because comics weren't meant to be taken seriously back then. AC #292 is creepy but I can laugh the creepiness off. But back in the 00's comics were supposed to be serious. Who thought this yucky trash was a good idea?

And what Saturn Queen has to do with anything here?

I -think- that Saturn Queen was supposed to be a refugee of the parallel world created in the Superman/Batman "Absolute Power" storyline. Or something.

"Anj, why do you do this to yourself."

He's going to need a ton of good comics to purgue this story's memory from his mind.

Maybe some Levitz/Giffen's Legion. I'm reading "The Great Darkness Saga" for the first time. I discovered that story arc thanks to Anj, and I'm enjoying it greatly.

"I see this book's assistant editor was a woman, I feel for her."

She was putting up with Eddie Berganza, so I'm in fact worried about her.

Martin Gray said...

Oh Anon, The Great Darkness Saga, you’re in for a massive treat. Enjoy!

Professor Feetlebaum said...

I can't help but think of this storyline (and this era of Supergirl in general) as DC's slap in the face to all the readers who clamored for and requested the return of Kara Zor-El.

"You want Supergirl back? Okay, but if you're expecting that sweet, innocent, dull as dishwater Silver Age Supergirl, forget it!"

Anyway, all this nonsense makes one appreciate all the more what Gates and Igle were able to do.

By the way, the story where Superman talks about marrying his cousin was in Action Comics #289. Issue 292 was the first appearance of Comet the Superhorse.

Anonymous said...

This issue was scripted by Joe Kelly. Greg Rucka only has story credit inside, but isn't even credited at all on the cover.

And Rucka gets no credit at all for the finale in #8.

So I'd say the story is probably Rucka's general idea but the story moved in directions he was barely responsible for. How much of #7 reflected his ideas? We don't know.

And we don't know if what Ed Benes drew in #6 was actually straight out of Rucka's script. Things like the tattoo scene probably looked on paper nothing like how they turned out.

Similarly - DC probably asked Rucka to fit in a gag with Power Girl's chest. While some think her look embodies female empowerment, it was designed as a gag by Wally Wood and DC always manages to work it into stuff, like when her costume is torn in the Earth-2 series later.

At the DC Wiki ( this place is described as Kandor II. Interesting history of it at

That might "explain" some of the stuff with Saturn Queen and Ultraman, and who all the players are, who the native inhabitants are. It's doubtful anyone at DC had fully worked it out, so it was probably just whatever different writers wanted it to be.


Anonymous said...

DC Comics has two structural storytelling problems:

1.) They don't know how to pander, certainly not to the fanbases of characters like Supergirl. Marvel Comics, say what you like about them, they know how to pander. If their audience can support four X-Men Books and Two Wolverine Solo Books, BANG! They are on it! DC acts like their customers are their captives.

2.) DC Comics cannot ever say No to a Bad Idea. Some editor had to read this dreck and affirm that a trampy maybe-sorta bi curious twitchy underage Supergirl on a mission to kill her cousin and sleep with his double IS the Supergirl her fans have dreamt of for nineteen years. I can recall with the simplest nostalgia ye olde DC Boards wherein I bitterly complained of the ghastly ruin only to be told with a baffled tone by certain creatives that I "did not understand storytelling".
And that is DC in a nutshell, dismissive to the point of arrogance to their fans, incapable of discerning and pursuing excellence. Thats why Supergirl is a twitchy gothclown at the moment and Sterling Gates is off writing for Hollywood.