Monday, November 7, 2022

Review: Supergirl #68

Last week I saw the Black Adam movie, a action filled, special effects fueled extravaganza. It was a pure popcorn movie. Maybe a bit long, maybe too much slo-mo. But it was filled with lots of DC lore and I truly loved the entirety of the JSA. And, of course, there was that mid-credit scene which reintroduced a Henry Cavill Superman to the DCEU. With all that in mind, I thought I'd find a Supergirl/Marvel Family crossover to cover. 

Supergirl #68, written by Peter David with art by Leonard Kirk and Robin Riggs, At this time in the series, Supergirl had been stripped of her Angelic presence and powers. Her powers are now similar to the Golden Age Superman, leaping instead of flying, limited invulnerability. She is on a quest to regain that Earth Angel aspect by following the Chaos Stream on Earth. Along the way, she has been tormented by the supernatural, all claiming allegiance to the Demon Mother.

This story arc is solid. Throughout the story, Linda Danvers isn't sure of her worthiness of the powers. The addition of Mary, a glittering example of purity, makes Linda question herself even more.  It all ends well with Supergirl performing the ultimate sacrifice. But we need to get there. And here is where Mary becomes an ongoing supporting cast member. Like many superhero stories, the characters have to fight before they team up.

Leonard Kirk was the main artist on this book for years. He brings a clean style to the book, one greatly appreciated. The characters look young, as they should. The action is slick. There is an element of the fantastical. And the humorous bits are done well.

With no hesitation I'll say I love this volume of Supergirl. This Supergirl/Linda was complicated, flawed, but learning and trying to be a hero.

On to the book.

The opening page shows Supergirl and Mary Marvel (and in the last panel Captain Marvel Jr.) locked in battle in Las Vegas.

The sepia tones and staccato action clues the reader that this is a dream sequence. 

Kirk does a good job changing perspectives and magnification to make it very dynamic.

The dream rouses both Mary and Freddy from slumber.

But while it is a call to action for Mary, Freddy just heads back to bed.

It is clear to Mary that Supergirl needs her help. So off she flies to Vegas. 

Meanwhile, Supergirl is just starting to put the pieces of the mysteries around her together.

In these early days of the internet, she heads to a 'search engine' to look up Demon Mother. The references all point to Lilith, the first wife of Adam in some apocryphal texts of the Old Testament. 

Now why would Lilith be waging war on Supergirl? Well, eventually we will learn that The Carnivean (the big bad in the last arc) is Lilith's son. So it is a matter of revenge!

The Chaos Stream is leading Supergirl to Vegas too. But to get there Supergirl will need to charter a plane. Remember, at this point she can only leap an eighth of a mile, just like the Superman from Action Comics #1.

In exchange for a couple of autographs, this pilot will bring Supergirl to Las Vegas. 

Buckle up for some dated references as we get Sarah Maclachlan, Indigo Girls, Lilith Faire, and Lilith Crane all in a couple of panels!

It is amusing to see how David played up this de-powering of Linda. 

Things go awry when both Mary (and eventually Supergirl) begin to see things that aren't there.

Flying to Vegas, Mary spies the plane Supergirl is in. But to her it looks like a demonic Supergirl.

She immediately engages.

Not wanting the pilot to be killed or the plane to be destroyed, Supergirl jumps out.

But despite Supergirl's please to Mary, Marvel can only see a threat. She lays a haymaker to the chin of our hero.

I really like this panel by Kirk. You really get the sense that Mary wound up for this punch. You sense the impact. Very dynamic.

Ahhh ... a plot twist!

The pilot is the Demon Mother guised as a mortal. Moreover, Lilith has imprisoned Queen Mab of the Faerie world and is forcing the Faerie Queen to cast her glamor on Mary and Supergirl. This combat is all the Demon Mother's doing.

Mary seeing a demon instead of Supergirl. But now Supergirl is seeing Etrigan where Mary is. With those illusions in place, the battle rolls on.

I did feel I needed to mention the subplot brewing of a Bizarro Supergirl (first seen in  Supergirl #63 ) wandering around the world, trying to discover who she is just like Linda is in this arc.

Thinking this might actually be a mutated or Joker-ized Linda, Fred Danvers brings it home. 

Pretty quickly, it becomes clear this isn't Linda. And when Bizarro's more violent inclinations emerge, the Danvers have to flee.

But back to the real stars.

Supergirl is fighting 'Etrigan'. Mary is fighting a 'demon Supergirl'. Actually, Supergirl is fighting Mary Marvel.

And when Mary is finally knocked unconscious, the glamor fades. Supergirl is shocked to see what she has done.

But so is Captain Marvel Jr. who has just arrived. To be continued!!

I don't know much of the power levels of the Marvels at this time in the DCU but it is a little odd that a depowered Supergirl could lay out Mary. But it is Supergirl's book. I suppose it makes sense. Perhaps a lucky shot?

Anyways, if there is enough clamor I'll cover the next part. I like when Mary and Supergirl team up as buddies and wish we saw more of it. (I have covered other team ups here on the site. The Mary Marvel tag will get you there.) But given the implied confrontation between Black Adam and Superman in the movie, I thought this would be fun to cover.

Overall grade: B


Anonymous said...

Maybe someday DC will release more in trade form - they stopped with Volume 4 which ran through #43 only.

Leonard Kirk was excellent - but also, had a funny way of drawing faces, sometimes too "long" and kind of horsey. His style has evolved since then, and his work at Marvel now looks nothing like his Supergirl work.

Of course Supergirl was his largest body of work to date - 56 issues! That's unheard of in recent decades. By a factor of 10!

It's always good to read reviews from that era. Seems like it's been long forgotten.

With all the lost characters returning after Death Metal, will we ever see Linda again? Perhaps Convergence implied that Matrix existed on some other earth, as does the conclusion to Supergirl's series, where she temporarily moved to Earth-Zero and married Superman. It's very confusing, because obviously for most of its 80-issue run, Linda/Matrix was interacting with all of the other DC books, and Matrix was heavily involved during the aftermath of the Death of Superman.

I think DC would rather not think about it ever again.


H said...

Never read this one- you should check out Supergirl Plus The Power of Shazam if you haven't already, though. That one I've read and thought was pretty good. It was part of one of those fifth week one-shot events (I believe) that they were so fond of in the 90's. I may have issues with a lot of 90's comics but they did that sort of thing well.

Martin Gray said...

Oh, the Power of Shazam was a great series, Anj, I certainly recommend a deep dive. Ordway was such a terrific writer by this time and the likes of Pete Krause gave us wonderful art. Blaze and Satanus pop up!

Thanks for the review, I don’t remember this business at all. I really need to do a reread. Yes to part two!

Anonymous said...

I may have to correct myself - I guess Linda didn't travel to an alternate universe, but rather volunteered to be sent in Kara's place to the Pre-Crisis timeline. So in a timeline of a timeline (!), she married pre-Crisis Superman. And I guess that timeline was wiped out when, in the end, Kara had to be sent after all.

The machinations were so intriguing it would make any fan want to read it, but a completist would want to read the first 74 issues first, to get to that concluding arc.


H said...

Definitely agree with Martin about The Power of Shazam- pretty consistently good from the OGN to the last issue. I'm not so hot on how Ordway writes Billy but everything else is great- lots of guest stars (both Fawcett and main DC continuity) done well and great art (in addition to Peter Krause, Curt Swan and Gil Kane did a few guest issues each). They've been reprinting the first couple years' worth recently but I see it pretty regularly in dollar bins too.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

I have seen the Shazam book in the cheap bins but never bit (outside of buying #1 to get signed by Ordway). Next time I'll grab some!

I'll put part two in the queue!

Anonymous said...

Power of Shazam was one of my favorites as well, it never jumped the shark, so to speak. To date it still remains The Best Post Fawcett depiction of The Big Red Cheese and his Crew…they even managed to make “Mister Mind” hella scary. In a classic context, who is the closer “soulmate” for Supergirl? Mary Batson or Babs Gordon…?


Tim Price said...

A great series from beginning to end. Obviously I vote yes to covering part 2.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

I read Power of Shazam when it was coming out. Great series written with real respect for what Otto Binder, C.C. Beck and their compatriots achieved with Captain Marvel and his family during the Golden Age.

H said...


Definitely Babs- Mary's a very good friend and can understand a lot that Kara's going through, but Babs is her counterpart and it doesn't get much closer than that.