Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Mish Mash - A Look To The Past

 2012 is coming to an end and luckily we are all still standing. The prophecy of the apocalypse came and went.

One thing that does come with the end of the year are a blessed handful of days off around the Christmas holiday for me. I love my job but it runs me ragged sometimes and having 5 days off in a row to enjoy family, friends, and some down time was about the best present I could have got.

With some of that time, I decided I should thumb through my long boxes, looking for some stories from the past that could be applied to some of the current problems/plots in the DCU. So let's turn the clock back today as we look forward.

One of the things that has intrigued me about the DCnU has been the reluctance of Huntress and Power Girl to reveal themselves to the Earth 1 version of their parents or their other selves. Why shouldn't Helena want to talk to the Batman of this Earth? Wouldn't she want to see him? Warn him of the war a universe away? Why wouldn't Karen want to talk to Kal here? Or talk to Kara about things?

I don't know if their feelings have been explained well enough for me to understand. So I thought I would look in the long boxes to see if that was handled in the past.

In the pre-Crisis DCU, the Earth 1 Batman knew all about the Earth 2 Huntress, working with her in some of the annual JLA/JSA team-ups. In Justice League of America #171, another of those annual get-togethers, Huntress tells the Earth 1 Bruce how the Earth 2 Batman has died and how she wasn't sure if she wanted to face him.

Okay, it isn't really the same situation. These two know each other, know about alternate universes.

But the concept of the other version dying, the uncomfortable nature of facing the living doppelganger of a deceased loved one, is answered here. Here is that scene, written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Dick Dillin.

It is a touching scene. This is classic Batman as he tries to work out his feelings logically. But Huntress is much more emotional. This is a chance to see her father and hug him (at least some version of him) one last time. That last panel, emphasizing how small we can sometimes feel when grieving, is nice.

At some point the Worlds' Finest pair will need to reveal themselves. Hopefully it is something emotionally powerful like this.

Another thing I have enjoyed has been the troubled relationship between Wildfire and Dawnstar in Legion Lost. While Wildfire has been pretty open with how he feels, it has only been recently ... in the wake of Wildfire's death ... that Dawnstar has revealed how much she cares.

As a Wildfire fan and a Dawnstar fan, I thought it would be interesting to look back to their earliest encounters to see where the seeds of star-crossed romance started. And what better place to look that Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #226, Dawnstar's first appearance.

Written by Paul Levitz (an amazing 35 years ago) and drawn by James Sherman, "The Dazzling Debut of Dawnstar" has the Legion trying to track some raiders but failing. They fail, that is, until Legion leader Wildfire brings in Dawnstar, someone he describes as "a mutant ... a freak who can hunt and track anything anywhere". Okay, not exactly wooing words.

But Dawnstar shows she is prolific at tracking. First she finds the raiders in one hideout. And when they warp away, she reveals she can still track them.

In an odd turn, the Legion berates her initially for losing the raiders. Seems unlike Legionnaires. Wildfire immediately defends her.

Look at that second panel with Wildfire saying he would kiss Dawnstar if he had lips. Maybe he already was smitten?

And in the end, with the capture of the raiders, Wildfire might overstep his leader powers and asks Dawnstar to join the Legion right then and there.

Even this panel, in the retrospect-o-scope, is somewhat telling. Look at how daintily Wildfire is clasping Dawnstar's wrist, as he appears to be about to caress her hand. I think he was in love right there.

And Dawnstar? Well she sheds tears of joy. As a 'freak' maybe this was the first time she has been accepted by a group. Maybe Wildfire is a kindred spirit. You don't seen Dawnstar cry that often. Usually she is portrayed almost aloof. So perhaps this has always been a romance.

And this being a Supergirl blog, I thought I should post something on the Maid of Might. Today is December 31st, the last day of the December of Despero as thought up by blog friend Frank Diabolu for his Idol Head of Diabolu Martian Manhunter blog. So I figured I would ring out the new year with some Kara-tharsis from Justice League of America #134. As with the JLA above, this was written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Dick Dillin, one of the first artists whose style I could recognize and appreciate as a kid.

This is one of those crazy late Silver Age books and reads like a Star Trek episode where the crew runs into omnipotent beings. Here the League (and Supergirl who has joined this mission to help find a missing Superman) is traveling in deep space to find Despero. They ultimately become the playthings of a race called the Krill. The two aliens have been watching the League battle and are intrigued and excited by this physical conflict. The ideas of conflict and war have been erased from their people and this is therefore new.

To get more fun, they repeatedly put a power-amplified and mind controlled Despero up against pairs of the Leaguers. The League duos consistently defeat Despero but the Krill whisk him away and send him back out again against new heroes. (Early on Despero tries to give up but is controlled by the Krill to keep fighting.)

Finally he is sent up against Supergirl who repeatedly thrashes him. She calls out the Krill and manages to outthink them. If fighting is exciting, what about rooting for a side? Someone will be elated. The Krill agree this adds even more potential pleasure, thus setting up a final match. And that is just what Supergirl wants!

Supergirl ends it quickly ... first by throwing Despero into orbit ...

And then meeting him in space in unleashing a wicked, spine-bending punch which renders Despero defeated. Talk about a broke-back position. I'm surprised Despero can walk after that haymaker.

The fight over, Supergirl gathers up the Leaguers and Despero and leaves the Krill. Ironically, the Krill who backed Despero is upset with the outcome and starts to fight the other. Supergirl, in essence, has taught a peaceful race about discord and war.

Still, there is nothing like that wonderful Dillin panel of Supergirl pounding Despero! Fantastic. To read Frank's more in-depth discussion on the issue head here.

And that is as good a panel as any to ring in the new year! Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Supergirl Year In Review: Top Three Supergirl Face Palm Moments

This was the last Supergirl moment of 2012, a kiss with a maniac who has wooed her with promises that seem to have clouded her mind. 

It seems therefore appropriate to finish this end of the year wrap-up with the Top Three Face Palm moments of the year.

This was another good year for Supergirl and I had a hard time limiting my 'Best of' list to ten. In contrast, there were only three things that really really bothered me over the year. And it seemed like a nice little funny post as we approach the new year (although this kiss almost snuck in at number four).

So on to the moments. I present these in no particular order for your consumption.

The Kurt Schaffenberger 'Ridiculous' Award goes to Worlds's Finest for constantly blasting Power Girl's costume off of her for gratuitous and titillating states of undress. (Okay, it's a Power Girl moment, not a Supergirl moment. It's Supergirl-ish.)

Yes, we understand that Power Girl  has great skin ... and so much of it!

It seemed like every issue, no matter what, Power Girl's snazzy new costume or even Karen Starr's business attire would be shredded, burned, or ruined so she could prance around.

Now listen, I have no problem with Karen being proud of her body, having a healthy self-image, and her not having a problem with being naked in front of friends. But the situations are becoming ludicrously common, forced into the script, almost as if it is a recurring theme that every issue she needs to be disrobed in battle. This adds nothing to the scene other than some cheesecake. Would these scenes have been any different if the costume remained intact? When Power Girl is stripped every issue, when it becomes a running joke, or a defining part of the character, doesn't it cheapen the book and her?

And if they wanted to showcase Karen's attributes more, why not keep her in the traditional Power Girl uniform rather than the body suit?

Paul Levitz recently commented on this very issue over on Newsarama:

Nrama: Their clothes are being ripped up quite a bit lately. Are there new costumes on the horizon?
Levitz: No, I just thought we needed a little running gag. Given how many people were annoyed by Power Girl's more covered form, it just seemed to be a fun running gag to go through a few issues of this type of thing. Wally Wood, who really *ahem* developed Power Girl's figure -- Joe Orlando designed the original character, and Ric Estrada was the original penciller, but it was Woody who sort of went out of control on it. Woody, for a number of years, did a wonderfully silly strip for the military newspapers called Sally Forth. And rule No. 1 of Sally Forth, who was this very buxom Wally Wood military gal, was that he had to find a way for her clothes to get ripped every "x" number of pages. Of course, we're not quite doing that with Power Girl, but at least for awhile, it was fun to play with that trope.

Part of my problem with it is simply that it happened every issue. It really was a running gag and when it 'needs' to happen it can feel forced. Think of it like a sitcom catchphrase. It had to be there and those almost immediately become tired. I just think that I didn't need to see this every month.

The SBFF 'Yeesh' Award goes to Scott Lobdell for butchering Supergirl's characterization every time he can.

Supergirl #14 showed a Supergirl thinking about opening up to Superman more, contemplating bringing him into her life more. It showed Supergirl look at Superboy and think of him as 'him' and not 'it'. She talked to her friend on Earth, showing she was warming up to her new home. It showed a Supergirl who listened to H'El, thought about what he said, but not 100% buying into this hype. It was a great issue.

And then came Superman #14. This was one week later! Here she sneers at Superman, telling him not to "ruin" her optimism over H'El and his plan. She called Earth a ball of mud and sweat. She sarcastically calls out Superman for worrying about 'precious humans' and again regarded Superboy as a thing.


Does Lobdell have an idea what Mike Johnson is doing on Supergirl? Has he read that book? Did he want to contradict her character in every way? Why does his Superman seem annoyed every time he sees her?

And where were the editors here?

It is disheartening that her character is considered so meaningless to Lobdell that he hasn't read her stories and treats her like an angry, sullen, patsy for the villain.

The Chris Roberson Seriously Award unfortunately goes to Michael Green and Mike Johnson for one big misstep, the first page of Supergirl #8.

The World Killers battle is over. Supergirl is victorious. She looks up to the sky, half-smiling, fists clenched but hung at her sides exhaustedly, standing heroically. The military are rushing to her in the background. There are saved citizens comforting each other. It is a great moment, number one on my Top Ten Supergirl Moments of 2012. That was the last page of Supergirl #7.

And here is the first page of Supergirl #8, the exact same moment, immediately after the World Killer battle. But the feel here is completely different. She's looking down, her shoulders slumped, her legs collapsing. She is holding her head with a worried expression. The military are now all training weapons on her.

There is no sense of victory here. No sense of happiness. No sense of satisfaction in having done the right thing. This is all negative.

And it takes place seconds after the prior moment. If I have to chastise Scott Lobdell for not knowing how to portray Supergirl and giving her a different feel, I have to question why Green and Johnson would portray things so differently.

Compare the two pages side by side.

After seven issues of running, or being attacked, or questioning herself, of dealing with tragedy, of almost dying, Supergirl #7 ends with a positive moment, a sliver of happiness and acceptance.

All of that is ripped away in the first page of Supergirl #8.

It is a jarring transition. And it only fostered concern that this book would continually alienate and isolate Supergirl. Of course that hasn't turned out to be true. But at the time (and even now) I wonder why the creative team would rob Supergirl of this moment.

So overall, not too big a list and another good year for Supergirl.

Anything I miss on any of the lists? What moments stuck out to you?

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Supergirl Year In Review: Top Ten Supergirl Moments

2012 is lumbering to its end and so my end of year review is also moving forward.

I have reviewed the non-comics Supergirl news and my Honorable Mentions for the Top Supergirl Moments of the year. Now it is on to the cream of the crop, the moments that stuck out in my mind as I recalled everything that happened over the last year.

One of the things that has really struck me recently is just how tragic this Supergirl's story is. Her ability to cope with all the horror that has been heaped on her and somehow still have a moral compass, a solid center, is the theme that has impressed me with this run. We heard the 'angry' 'don't piss her off' publicity pieces. But really what we have is a Supergirl just trying to get settled and take a breath. In the past, with other incarnations, I have complained about Supergirl crying too easily. Here I am surprised  that Kara doesn't cry more.

Anyways, because that theme of perserverance and grace is key to this hero's journey, many of my moments deal with that.

On to the Top Ten! Be ready ... it's a long post!

Number ten: Any Superman Family Adventures appearance
Okay, it is a bit of a cheat to place an entire title on a 'Top Ten' list. But I couldn't let Superman Family Adventures not appear on this list. This is clearly a young teen Supergirl. She is loved by Jimmy. She is loved by the city of Metropolis who cheer for her when they see her. She is just as ready to throw down with the Kryptonite Man as she is to throw a Fairy party in the Fortress of Solitude.

She's sunny and happy. She is determined and strong. She is fiercely proud of her family and has their backs. And she plays with Streaky.

Yes, this is an All Ages book and as a result it is an All Ages Kara. But every so often, it is nice to read that.

Thanks to Art Baltazar and Franco for making a delightful Supergirl.

Number Nine: Person I least want to meet (Worlds' Finest #6)
It might be hard to fathom, but Worlds' Finest makes the Top Ten list 3 times!

This moment from WF#6 is interesting for a number of reasons. As Power Girl re-enters Earth's atmosphere (that comet like streak in the background), she soars over Supergirl. Kara is the person Karen least wants to meet.

I have noticed moments like this where Karen does not want to meet or interact with the Supers of Earth 1. Maybe she isn't ready to see all the differences? Superman was beloved on Earth 2. Here he still needs to prove himself trustworthy.

But I think there is still too much pain. I think she has been hiding her grief behind this semi-party girl exterior and seeing Superman would simply hurt too much.

I also think Karen had a very different relationship with her Kal, a very different relationship with her Earth. She probably doesn't want to meet this Supergirl because it would anger her. She would probably scream to Kara to cherish every moment she has with her cousin since that can end as quickly as Krypton did.

What will happen when they do meet? I hope not a fight. That is cliche.

Number eight: Abomination (Superboy #6)

It was a brief meeting but powerful. In Superboy #6, Supergirl sheds some light onto Superboy's Kryptonian heritage. He is Kon-El, an abomination. He is destined to go insane and go on a killing rampage.

In many ways, it is more of a Superboy moment than a Supergirl moment. But that history is huge in Superboy's story. And this interaction is the shaky foundation upon which Kara and Kon's relationship is built. Does she recognize him as a person? Or is he a thing? Must he be killed? Or can he be befriended?

This has become a crucial part of H'El on Earth. And it could drive a wedge between Supergirl and Superman. It is Supergirl's understanding of this history that is providing the fuel for this confrontation.

Number seven: Re-occuring quirk (Worlds' Finest #0)

I said that Worlds' Finest makes it on this list three times and Worlds' Finest #0 provides the other two moments. I thought this was a phenomenal issue, looking back at Earth 2 in the early part of the Apokoliptian war, seeing the Superman and Batman of that Earth in their prime, and meeting the younger and relatively inexperienced Supergirl and Robin of that planet.

I thought Paul Levitz did a good job here, showing that in some ways Earth 2 was a more innocent place, a place where the Trinity was embraced as heroes. And yet, at the same time, he showed that it was just as if not more dangerous that Earth 1, as we hear about Lois' death and see Catwoman's.

And Supergirl seems to embody the innocence of that place, playful in her training, and willing to bend the rules a bit to see some action. That is all reminiscent of some of her Silver Age stories. And that is physically represented in the first panel and the famous 'finger near her mouth when deep in thought' quirk that we first saw way back in the early Action Comics Supergirl stories and then brought back now and again. Seeing that instantly put in me in a particular frame of mind with this Kara. This isn't a grizzled veteran or an isolated girl, this is the Kara of old.

It makes her losses on Earth 2 and her exile on Earth 1 that much more dramatic.

Number six: Just called it 'he' (Supergirl #14)
Last month's Supergirl #14, one of the early chapters of H'El on Earth, was such a great issue for Supergirl. For me it really felt like the title as a whole was turning a corner, that Supergirl made several steps towards accepting Earth as her home, for accepting Kal as family, and then growing as a person.

There were several moments in that issue that resonated. But for me, the one that stuck out the most was this one, where she stopped thinking about Superboy as an 'it' or a 'thing' but instead thought of him as a 'he'. She even stopped H'El from snapping Kon's neck, something she considered doing herself in the Superboy issue mentioned above. It shows growth by Supergirl. We have always known she believes in the sanctity of life. Here she shows it in the face of a lifetime of fear and prejudice. That is a few steps farther down the road of the hero's journey than she was before.

Number five: My home is gone (Supergirl #6)
As I have mentioned before, the Supergirl story is one that has always had an element of loss and tragedy associated with it. This incarnation seems to be showing us more of that grieving process than others.

This scene from Supergirl #6 really moved me when I read it. Unwilling to believe that Krypton is dead, Supergirl followed a memory crystal to the remains of Argo City. The place is a tomb, covered in dust and without life. After a skirmish with Reign, Kara escapes.

She then witnesses the death throes of the last vestiges of her old life ... her home ... as it sinks into the gravity well of this blue sun, incinerated. That sudden realization that it is all true, that her family and her home are gone. That she is suddenly an orphan in space, dealing with a new world is powerful. And the panels falling away, whiting out Argo, work well. Big moments need big art. This double page spread is wonderful.

This was a major moment for Kara. The question is how would she react to this confirmation of her loss. She responded by flying back to Earth and defending life.

Number four: You could help me (Supergirl #12)
Big moments deserve big art.
Small moments deserve subtle flourishes and need to be cherished.

In Supergirl #12, Kara begins to realize that she needs help to adapt to Earth. She won't do it as a guest in Superman's fortress.

After basically shunning Kal for a while, this small moment of her asking him for help was a giant step forward in my mind. This is a Supergirl that wants Kal in her life, wants to understand Earth and live amongst us.

But it is the subtle addition of a flush in her cheeks that adds so much unsaid depth to the moment. This is a Supergirl not used to asking for help. And asking Kal for help after fighting him and ignoring him can't be easy. It is, in some ways, admitting she made a mistake, maybe even regretting her prior actions. And that tiny blush in her cheeks tells me all of that ... she doesn't need to voice it.

Part of this hero's journey has to be opening herself back up to people, to a world, to her cousin. After dealing with the pain of loss, she might be reluctant to do that all over again. This small step showed me she was on the right path.

Number three: She's a hero! (Supergirl #11)
As important as Supergirl opening up to people is, it is as important that people open up to her.

In Supergirl #11, Kara has to battle a Simon Tycho Nanobot assassin.  During the battle, she constantly is thinking about limiting the property damage, making sure she takes the battle away from people, and actually worrying about killing her opponent. All nice moments.

But it was this one, after the battle, that made me smile. Despite someone shouting out she is dangerous, the bulk of the people are flocking to her, smiling, and calling her a hero.

If Kara was constantly feared and distrusted, if people were running from her and not towards her, it could drive her to a darker place, making her more alienated. That tone has been seen over and over in the publicity pieces. We haven't seen it in the comic. This panel is proof.

There is something just wonderful about that young woman looking towards us, smiling widely, happy to be near Supergirl.

Number two: Secret Weapon (Worlds' Finest #0)
And so we come to the last Worlds' Finest moment on the list.

From Worlds' Finest #0 (again), we have Superman calling Supergirl the 'secret weapon' against Darkseid on Earth 2. The 'secret weapon' idea is such a part of Supergirl's Silver Age past, back when she was hidden in Midvale orphanage, only to act if Superman died.

Here that concept is updated. Superman is training her, preparing to utilize her in a war to save the world. There is some of that Kal Silver Age sterness here, but it isn't belittling or disparaging. He wants Kara to train, to hone her skills, so she can be more effective.

We know that Paul Levitz loved the pre-Crisis Supergirl. We see that love in these moments where her history is modernized and  infused into Power Girl's history. And that concept of being the secret weapon, to step in for Superman just in case, is played out when Superman dies. But now Karen is on our Earth. Levitz talked about that dynamic in a recent interview here:

Newsarama: Paul, one of the driving forces behind this comic has been the mystery behind how they got to this Earth, and how to get home. Is that going to be the focus going forward as well? Even as they're fighting these adventures on this Earth?
Paul Levitz: It's certainly the main part of what drives Power Girl. She's very focused on that. She's very conscious that she would be probably the most powerful character on Earth-2 if she was back there. And she has a responsibility. She's supposed to have been ready to take over for Superman. Superman's dead. And now, where is she? She's not able to be there to do her job.

This sense of responsibility, of honoring Kal and becoming the hero on Earth 2 is a great trait in this Karen. She must feel a tremendous weight on her shoulders, wondering what is happening on her home, knowing she should be there defending it, and not being able to. 

Number one: I won (Supergirl #7)

And so we come to the Number One Supergirl Moment of 2012, the last page of Supergirl #7 showing a victorious Supergirl right after driving the World Killers off Earth.

It is such a powerful moment for this Supergirl. In her brief stay on Earth she has had to deal with incredible loss. She has had to process everything that has happened to her. And she has had to deal with being a stranger in a strange land, a place where most people have tried to capture her, vivisect her, or kill her.

And yet, despite all that, despite Reign tempting her to join them in ravaging the stars, she remains true to herself and her beliefs. She fights to protect people, to save lives, to do what's right. And it isn't easy. It is a brutal fight.

And yet, here she is ... triumphant!

There is so much about this panel that works. Supergirl's body language - looking upward, slight smile on her lips, fists clenched  but at her side shoulder slightly slumped ... fatigued but thrilled. It is perfect. And then signs of the carnage behind her, flipped cars and military all present. And yet, there in the lower corner, just below the 'I won' proclamation, the innocents she defended, an elderly man, a couple with their young baby. There are the people she defended ... she saved.

All of this seemed to just wipe some of my concerns away. This is a Supergirl who is a hero, who is willing to risk herself, to potential sacrifice herself, to defend the helpless, to help people she doesn't know.

She isn't alienated, disaffected, 'Hell on wheels', willing to fight her friends, so 'please don't piss her off.' All of that awful publicity stuff ... everything that worried me ... it just hasn't been in this comic. This moment more than any shows that.

And that is the top ten Supergirl moments of 2012!

Did I miss any?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Supergirl Year In Review: Non-Comic Stuff And Best Moments: Honorable Mentions

Welcome to the first day of a three day wrap-up of Supergirl in the year 2012! It has been a pretty hectic year with Supergirl growing in her own book, the Earth 2 Supergirl becoming Power Girl on Earth 1, a variety of non-comic stuff, and ... as usual ... a couple of perplexing moments of continuity.

The schedule for this wrap-up trilogy will be as follows:
Today: Non-comic stuff and the Honorable Mentions for the year's Best Supergirl Moments.
Tomorrow: The Top Ten Supergirl Moments of 2012
The Following Day: The Top Three Supergirl Face Palm Moments of 2012

I have done the year wrap-ups for a while now and the Face Palm Moments is a new category. And I didn't know if I should start with the face palms or end with them. I think I made the right decision.

What I would like to do is open this up to you all as well. So feel free to post/email any of your favorite or least favorite moments from the year and if I get enough response I'll put together a 4th post, the 2012 readers' wrap-up.

On to the celebration ... beginning with the non-comic stuff.

For me, the biggest non-comic Supergirl news of 2012 was Super Best Friends Forever. The DC Nation block added DC short films between episodes of Green Lantern and Young Justice. They made a brilliant move in having Lauren Faust of My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic fame create 5 Super Best Friends Forever short films. 

In short, they were spectacular. A wildly manic and optimistic Batgirl, a hotheaded Supergirl, and an older, slightly more mature Wonder Girl teaming up as the Suh-Buffs, taking down the bad guys and relying on each other. They were action filled and laugh out loud funny. Each member got a short where they were in the spotlight and then there were 2 of them as a legit team.

I gushed over them when they aired. The supergirls at home loved them and have asked when they will get more. Unfortunately, Faust said there will be no SBFF in the upcoming season of the DC Nation block.

I truly hope they weren't a brilliant flash in the pan, here and gone before we knew it. There needs to be more! It seems like such a no-brainer, tapping into to multiple markets and opening up wild licensing opportunities.

Of course, we all wailed and gnashed out teeth for more Cosmic Adventures too. And that seemed like a similar no-brainer.

Bring back the SBFFs!!

Continuing the multi-media portion of the wrap-up, we learned in July that a DC Animated movie was being made of Geoff Johns' Brainiac storyline. And Supergirl's voice will be done by Castle actress Molly Quinn.

Blog friend Gene, who usually has his finger on the pulse of these things, thinks the movie will be out around June to coincide with the Man of Steel big screen feature.

Brainiac occurred just as Sterling Gates took over Supergirl. Johns really had a handle on what Supergirl should be like. In fact, Supergirl saving the Earth from Brainiac's solar aggressor was the number one Supergirl moment from 2008. I look forward to seeing this movie and another animated Supergirl feature.

As for merchandise, the New 52 Supergirl was one of the first characters to get a statue bust. This statue just came out and looks wonderful. It also is bigger and wider than prior DC Collectible busts. It is pretty impressive. 

And as recently seen on this blog, Hot Wheels came out with a Supergirl version of the 1938 Dodge Airflow mini-tanker.

I am glad that DC continues to market the more classic versions of Supergirl's statue on these ancillary memorabilia items. This car is just fantastic. I mean ... who would ever think there would be a Supergirl toy car?

And now, on to the Best Supergirl Comic Moments of 2012. As always, a lot happened over the course of the year. In her own title, the year started with Kara still lost and wondering if Krypton still existed. She had to learn the hard way that there is tragedy in her life, that she is on a new world she needs to make her home, and that she is also has the ability to help people. I feel like her character has slowly started to turn the corner in the book. It has felt like this Supergirl now realizes this is her home and it is time to make it feel like one.

On top of her own title, she has appeared in the main Superman title a couple of times, had a powerful and revealing encounter with Superboy in his title, and is one of the family in the Superman Family Adventures. And, we currently are blessed ... sort of ... with 2 Supergirls because Power Girl in Worlds' Finest was once Supergirl on Earth 2 and we have seen some of those adventures.

One thing to note ... there hasn't been an 'event' comic since the New 52 came about as the characters are still getting settled. I, for one, applaud it.

With that much happening, limiting myself to ten 'best' moments was too hard. And so here are the 5 'almost in' moments, the Honorable Mentions, counting down.

Number five honorable mention: The Corona Wave (Supergirl #7)
When we first read Michael Green and Mike Johnson's ideas on this new Supergirl, part of what they said was that she would have some different powers than Superman. I will admit that initially I was against this. But the instances of these new powers have been limited.

The Corona Wave (my name for it) ... or fireball effect ... or whatever you have named it is an interesting new power. I think Supergirl has a sort of automatic defensive mode with her powers. One is a sort of super-intuition, an activation of her super-senses when something is about to happen. And then this one, a sort of concussive blinding blast of her absorbed sun power when she is in extreme danger.

I still don't know how I feel about it but one thing for sure, it is a new wrinkle for the character and worth mentioning.

Number four honorable mention: The Costume (Supergirl #0)
There hasn't been many truly joyous moments in this book for Kara as she struggles on Earth.

So the glimpse we had of her on Krypton, caring for baby Kal and having some nice father/daughter discussions with her father, showed us the heart of who she is.

We had learned early on that the Supergirl costume had some sort of ritual significance on Krypton. Here, just prior to the destruction of Krypton and the trip to Earth, Zor-El had Kara try it on. I loved this happy panel of Kara, a sort of normal adolescent modeling new formal wear and asking her father for his opinion. There is a sort of innocence here ... and joy.

I keep hoping we will see some of these emotion on Earth.

Number three honorable mention: Silent Scream (Supergirl #5)
I thought this panel was a powerful one. Amidst the ruins of Argo City, Supergirl has no choice but to accept the sad truth. Krypton is gone.

It loudly echoes the silent scream panel of from Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle when Kara is holding Zor-El's body.

I have always said that Supergirl's story is about the journey, is about the becoming of a hero. The last incarnation, the Sterling Gates Supergirl, felt like a journey of maturation, of overcoming snap judgments and poor decisions to become a better hero.

This Supergirl seems like a journey through sadness. This Kara has a very different feel. She grieves for her loss and has to overcome it. It is that acceptance of her tragic past and the ability to still do good, to still do what is right despite a heavy heart that seems to be the undercurrent of this Kara. And this panel says that best.

Number two honorable mention: Save the World (Worlds' Finest #1)
We haven't seen much of the Earth 2 Supergirl instead seeing her Power Girl adventures. But the glimpses show just what a great and sort of throwback character she was. We will see a couple more moments in the actual Top Ten list.

Here, in Worlds' Finest #1, we see the event that led her to be marooned on Earth 1. After the Trinity has been killed, Supergirl and Robin try to end the war in one swoop, flying into the boom tube to battle (they think) Steppenwolf.

There is such a look of determination on Supergirl here as she hurtles towards this fight. This guy just killed Superman. He isn't a pushover. But nevertheless, there is Supergirl ... doing the right thing and carrying on, being a hero.

Number one honorable mention: I Remember Now
Maybe the biggest ongoing storyline in Supergirl, part of the initial hook of this new incarnation, was the mystery behind Kara's origin. She didn't remember how she got into the costume, into the pod, rocketed from her doomed planet. Part of her inability to grasp her new life is it that came as a complete shock. Even time made no sense. How could baby Kal be a man?

In Supergirl #13, all those lost memories flood back into her consciousness. Being experimented on by World Killer scientist Zor-El. Drugged and put into a rocket. Alura shooting Zor-El with a stunner. While Supergirl had mostly accepted the loss of Krypton, these new details ... the bizarre way Zor showed his love for his daughter, that her parents are really dead, that time has passed without her ... are horrific. It again shows that this is a journey of grief. There are some elements of Peter David's story here. And there is some of Sterling Gates' here as well.  But it is the core of the character, to continue to see the best no matter what happens, to continue to do what's right no matter what, that is the essence of Supergirl. She has some answers here now ... but it isn't the end of this journey; it's the beginning.

And so that wraps up the first part of the Review and the Honorable Mentions of the Top Supergirl Moments of 2012. Tomorrow ... the top ten!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Supergirl Shrine

With the addition of the recent DCnU Supergirl bust, I thought it was time to post my Supergirl collection again. I try to organize the shelves by themes if possible but some things end up looking a bit out of place.

Shelf 1 (as I call it) is where my Silver Age Supergirl and 70s hot pants Supergirl merchandise end up. So we have the DC Dynamic statue, the DC Action 252 cover statue, the Silver Age action figure with Streaky, and a mini-mate. Also on that side is the Adam Hughes bust.

On the right is the hot pants stuff: the Justice action figure, the Pepsi drinking glass, the current toon tumbler.

The Terry Dodson bust is on this shelf for no apparent reason. The red dress isn't part of the typical 'belly shirt' uniform so it isn't part of that shelf.

And don't ask me why the Lantern Corps or Legion ring is here. But they are.

Shelf 2 is the 'white shirt' shelf, the head band shelf,  as well as 'oddities'.

So the left side has a number of items based on the Timm-verse Kara including the large statue in the back and the plush Supergirl. There are a couple of action figures more based on the comic version of that costume as well.

Behind them is a vinyl statue which is I am relatively embarrassed to have in the collection. Bought on a whim it is a mostly undressed coy Supergirl. When I saw it on display in Howard Wolowitz' room on Big Bang Theory I knew I had done something wrong.

In the middle, anchoring the shelf, is the new bust.

And to the left are some of the head band items including the Crisis action figure and a diecast Ertl figure.

Also on the shelf is the Elseworlds Finest Supergirl, the Kara as Flamebird, and Superwoman figures.

The last shelf is the most cluttered and could probably use some rearranging.

It has the large doll from a couple of years ago as well as a Supergirl Barbie given to me at Christmas a couple of years ago. It has the Adam Hughes full statue, the Superman/Batman Apocalypse maquette, the mini Michael Turner statue, the Supergirl piece of the Superman Family statue, a mini statue of the Earth Angel Supergirl, as well as the Amanda Conner bust.

On top of that are the belly shirt action figures based on Turner and McGuinness, some other belly shirt figures, a bobblehead, a Micro-Man figure from Japan, Polly Pocket, another mini-mate, and the recent Hot Wheels car.

So that's the collection. I don't know of anything else being released soon but I am sure something will be coming out.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays

This has been floating around the internet for the last week but I thought I would save it as a last second Christmas Card for Supergirl fans.

Mike Maihack, of Cleopatra in Space fame, lit up the internet last year with several Supergirl/Batgirl comics, all of which were reviewed here.  After taking a break, he has done another, a Christmas strip with Kara and Babs. Above is the comic and here is the link on Maihack's blog:

As is typical with Maihack's Supergirl/Batgirl strips, it is absolutely wonderful. It is sweet and funny.

I love here how Batgirl remains all business even in the holiday season as she tries to defeat Killer Croc.

And I love Supergirl's sweetness, being part of a Christmas Cookie Exchange, even with the villain Croc. And when Batgirl doesn't join in, Supergirl denies her the bat-shaped chocolate chip cookies.

How fantastic is it that Supergirl is able to convince Croc to be good for a day just through cookies and a smile. A sunny  Supergirl who believes in the best in people is my kind of Supergirl. Wonderful.

I hope you and yours are having a great holiday season! And Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating today!

Monday, December 24, 2012

DCnU Supergirl Statue

Christmas came a little early for me when my pre-ordered Supergirl bust from DC Direct arrived at my local comic book store.

I have to say this is a very pretty piece, larger and more detailed than I expected. I have to say that I was never a big fan of the 'belly shirt' costume and seeing this bust just re-affirms that. Plus, the bust format eliminated the wonky boots and de-emphasizes the 'crotch panel' aspect of this version as well, the elements that I think are the weakest part of the design.

At first I wasn't sure if I would like the pose but seeing it in reality it looks pretty slick. It has the left hand outstretched as though she is flying to someone with that right fist cocked for a wicked hook.

The face is the one thing not spectacular here as the sculpt of the eyes seems off just a bit. It does have a very Asrar-feel to it.

It is a bigger bust than prior ones ... both in height and depth. You can see the base tapers backwards here and the cape is fully outstretched. As a result it has a weightier and more dynamic feel than prior busts which had a much more vertical and less horizontal sculpt.

Here is a view from behind with the cape billowing out behind her.

I will add that the hair is also well done on this, very intricate and precise delineation of strands.

Lastly, I thought I would post a true side view of the bust just so you can see just how big this thing is. Hopefully the trades about 5-6 inches behind can give some sort of reference to its size. I would guess it is about 6 inches tall and 6 inches deep.

Overall a very impressive statue and a nice little holiday bonus for me! At $69.95 it is pricey. But I pre-ordered mine months in advance and paid it off little by little.

I will find a place for this on my shelves and post pics of my Supergirl collection tomorrow.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #15

I have been a bit rough on Legion of Super-Heroes lately. I have said that the issues are tired and forgettable and that the book itself seems meandering. All of that may be changing soon as an interview on Newsarama with Keith Giffen discusses a 'revamp' not a 'reboot' of the Legion including a couple of characters simply not making it. That interview is here and worth reading.

Now there are a couple of issues to go before Giffen comes on and that includes Legion of Super-Heroes #15 which came out this week. It amazes me just what great art will do to a comic. Because this issue feels very much like a place holder issue, treading water before the upcoming big Fatal Five arc. And, as is usual, there are some nice character moments here. If there is one thing you can count on from writer Paul Levitz it is great characterization.

And yet, despite the same complaints, I enjoyed this issue more than the last few. And I think that a lot of that probably has to be because of Francis Portela's wonderful art here. Because in the end, this is simply another 'rest issue' focused on Glorith, with little forward momentum. The shame here is that Portela is off the book once Giffen comes on board.

The issue starts with Glorith being awakened by a ghostly voice, luring her into some teleporting gate, and sending her to Barcelona where all times seem to have merged. She is immediately cornered by an inquisiton like mob which is already erecting a stake upon which to burn her.

Now us old timers will know about a strong connection between another character named Glorith and the Time Trapper. So when this one hears a voice and gets sent into a temporal maelstrom ... well ... the Trapper can't be far behind.

But given the upcoming Fatal Five arc, he is probably 7-9 issues away.

While the Legionnaires first debate why Glorith is missing, they realize that the time-ripped Barcelona is an active issue, one which probably has to do with Glorith. A squad is sent off including some big guns, Mon-El and Ultra Boy.

This is half of a 2 page spread showcasing just how beautiful Portela's stuff is.

Interestingly enough, the rest of the squad includes the other Legion 'rookies' and Brainiac Five.

While I like the fact that the rookies are bonding and looking out for each other (like Glorith) I find it hard to believe that Harmonia Li would hang out with them. Isn't she supposed to be some ancient all-wise one? Would she really hang out with the most adolescent of the Legionnaires. She seems to have the best relationship with Brainy.

Now you can see that maybe it is a strained relationship. She has a bit of a cutting comment about Chemical Kid here, teasing him about his life while praising Brainiac 5's ability to read a situation analytically.

Pretty quickly it is discovered that the 'eye' of this time storm is Glorith, further pushing my Time Trapper theory forward.

I loved this moment where Glorith, unable to perform any spells given her predicament, instead realizes her flight ring can help her. There is a nice moment immediately before this where she calls herself a Legionnaire and can act like one. It is sort of a coming-out party for her as she accepts her place on the team.

Another nice scene was this side one where Chameleon Boy invites Vi and Ayla to his room to discuss the team's inability to find the Fatal Five.

Vi is relatively prickly about the whole thing but consistent with her character. Cham seems to think something is blocking them. Now I will remind you all that in the last Legion Annual back in early 2011 it seemed as if Vi absorbed the Emerald Energy. Is she unknowingly sabotaging the search?

And I love Portela's Five here. Looks like the new Tharok isn't half-robot. And no Mano. And no Persuader mask. But still, pretty slick.

Meanwhile in Barcelona, Ultra Boy is having a blast taking out dinosaurs and World War 2 era military tanks. He clearly enjoys his job.

But as great as that panel is, I love the exasperated Brainy who seems exasperated that Ultra Boy is having fun with this. I think Brainy is one of the strongest and most well-rounded characters in the book.

It all comes to a calm end when Harmonia Li advises Glorith to do a reverse-protection spell, shielding the world from her rather than the other way around. Without Glorith's presence, the time anomalies melt away.

It is another quick adventure hinting at a larger mystery. And the Fatal Five storyline sort of simmered rather than boiled. And this issue will be put aside and probably forgotten.

Oh, but that art is so good.  Maybe I'll remember this one a little more.

The bigger question on my mind is which Legionnaire isn't going to survive the Fatal Five arc?

Overall grade: B- (kicked up a notch by art)