Friday, January 5, 2024

Review: Power Girl #4

Power Girl #4 came out last year and continued the current story of Power Girl facing off against her old Symbioship. It also unfortunately continued this reimagining of the Power Girl character. Since writer Leah Williams was given the reins on the character in the back pages of Action Comics, we have seen strong, confident, independent Karen become scared, unsure, alien 'Paige'. 

I keep waiting for DC Comics to recognize the error they have made in trying to turn one of their most powerful female characters into an insecure mess but it looks like they are in it for the long haul. If look beyond that terrible mistake though, we still get a pretty rough issue. 

Here Power Girl is powerless against the Symbioship. She is taken over initially. She doesn't even save herself, requiring one of the writer's favorite back-up heroes get the glory. And the ending makes little sense with things changing dramatically from one page to the next. Not much works here for me.

It is a shame because I like Eduardo Pansica's art quite a bit. There is a raw scratchiness to it that I think would serve a street level book like The Question. Gary Frank is a favorite so I love his covers too. It is a little bit of a shame.

On to the book.

Okay, I get that this story is a sort of sequel to the destruction of the Symbioship before. 

Here we see a couple of flashback panels of that story.

I know it is 'old school' but I would have very much appreciated a 'see this story in _____ #__' editorial box. I don't know this story. I don't know the threat the Symbioship has been. And I have DC Infinite as well as a comic shop and the internet. I'd love to know where and when and how this all happened.

You might remember the remnant of the Symbioship took over Amalak at the tech auction 'Paige' was heading up in the first issue. 

I wondered how it ended up there. If Paige had brought it there, wouldn't it have attacked her before. 

Here we see how it tried to sneak up on her by slipping onto the auction table.

But shouldn't 'Paige' have noticed that something was there that shouldn't be?

The Symbioship briefly took over Amalak but he was able to overcome it's influence and tear it out of himself.

Please remember this ... Amalak was able to reject the Symbioship.

Now freed, the ship stumbles on the Fortress, animating the dead Kryptonian lion. 

This issue, Power Girl ends up waking up inside her own body. The Symbioship has taken over her body. And inside her mind's eye, talks to 'Paige' in the form of the lion avatar.

Try as she might, the Symbioship remains in control of Power Girl's body. When Superman arrives, the possessed Power Girl gets into a fight with him. She even seems to get the better of him.

'Paige' can only watch from within as the the Symbioship attacks her cousin. 

Unlike Amalak, the villain, she wasn't strong enough to wrest control back. 

That's right ... the villain of last issue is mentally stronger that 'Paige'.

Instead, it is Omen who shows up and saves Power Girl. It is Streaky who burns is.

Power Girl, the hero of this book, does nothing to overcome the threat, to defeat the enemy. Her best friend and her pet cat have to save her.

How terrible is that? Power Girl is helpless in her own book. And Omen, who for some reason seems to be the real star of this series, gets to save the day.

The rescue seems to cost Power Girl her left eye. Will she be one-eyed moving forward?

Of course, Superman has to apologize to Power Girl. Because Superman can't be a hero in this book. He doesn't even get to help Power Girl. Again, it is Omen who helps her.

Somehow a piece of the Symbioship survives. We see a full page spread of the ship merging with both Kelex and the carcass of the Kryptonian lion again, creating a sort of anthropomorphic lion-cyborg looking being. As crazy as it sounds, it looked kind of cool.

But then, the very next page, the lion being is gone and instead the Symbioship is only in Kelex. And, even more strange, Superman doesn't notice the obvious corrupted circuits on his majordomo. 

So let's wrap up. Power Girl isn't the hero in her own book and there are some odd leaps in the plot.

There might come a time soon where I need to drop this. Because this isn't a Power Girl book. And it isn't entertaining as a non-Power Girl book.

Overall grade: D+


PT Dilloway said...

It is always pretty weak if a hero--especially in her own book--has to get bailed out by someone else.

Martin Gray said...

Thanks for the review as I didn’t buy this one, I’ve had it with enabling this rubbish.

I guess the editor’s notes don’t tell readers where to find the stories referred to because they never happened.

So, it’s one-eyed Pirate Paige upcoming. Maybe she can get a pegleg and Not-Actually-Streaky can perch on her shoulder.

Anonymous said...

There are countless plot holes, and I lost track of the various comings-and-goings of the ship along the eastern seaboard. But it seems the ship saw an ad that there would be an auction and a chance to get near Karen, so it commandeered a person, or people in succession, to get to the auction site, and threw the last host overboard. It's remarkable that it could in a very short period of time navigate all the way from Bermuda to Metropolis, but then couldn't manage the extra foot to inhabit Karen.

I don't know if or when the lion died. Not sure if we're supposed to be able to understand it.

Williams previously gave us the telepathy nonsense and then the astral punch. Living-dead-avatar lions are down-to-earth storytelling for her.


William Ashley Vaughan said...

It was bad enough having precious space in Action Comics wasted on this awful character assasination of a classic DC superhero. The only silver lining was that the PG backups gave me enough warning that I didn't get the special or the series. I won't be getting the upcoming PG/Supergirl team up issues either.

PrydefulHunts said...

This series is an utter disaster, and the whole revival of Power Girl for Dawn of Dc is a massive failure. Besides the plot holes and terrible characterization for every character here, why is Omen the hero to save the day? I’m not believing this random best friend relationship Kara and Lilith have, these two have no chemistry and at this point Lilith is taking over the book. Helena was a much more interesting contrast with Kara, and the friendship between them felt genuine.

I’m not looking forward to the Supergirl arc coming up in the next few issues. Leah Williams and the editorial staff for this series have shown the inability to accurately write characters and their continuity. Plus, Power Girl is way too much of a downer in this, she needs atleast some confidence or brashness.

Anonymous said...

Ya know what Power Girl needs? A Nice Bossy "Older Adoptive Sister" to emotionally terrorize her, bail her out of simple jams and in general lord it over her....because if they are gonna write Her and Supergirl as emotional basket cases, then someone has to do the heavy lifting.


The League said...

This isn't the only title where they've decided to take an assertive character and decide what they need is to feel small and suffer from anxiety. Over at Marvel, She-Hulk has been doing similar. I assume this is to make the characters "relatable", and for some part of the audience, I guess it may be. Power Girl has had enough problems with consistency over the years, but has always at least generally worked within a certain range, personality wise. I don't know who this PG is, and I'm not impressed with a She-Hulk who thinks she isn't good enough. The most frustrating bit is that you *know* sales will dictate this gets swept under the rug, and someone will get PG straightened out just in time for the next Crisis to blow it all up again. I don't know how DC thinks this weird lack of consistency is going to read to new or old readers. It's just bizarre.

Anj said...

Thanks for all these comments.

I concur with everyone.

We aren't reading a Power Girl book here. It's a shame.