Monday, August 27, 2012

Poll: What Grade Would You Give This First Year Of Supergirl

We are one year into the DCnU reboot and I thought it would be a good time to poll the audience to see what you have thought of the book so far. What grade would you give this year's worth of Supergirl stories? Poll to the right.

In looking back at the pre-reboot discussion of the character, I was more than a bit worried. It sounded as though the new take was going to be of an isolated, alienated, disaffected, persecuted young woman. I worried that we might be straying closer to the beginning of the 2004 reboot Supergirl rather than the 'hero on a journey' we saw the last 3 years of her own book.

As usual, the publicity pieces didn't capture the true feeling of the book. Sure, some of the broad strokes are there but the truth is in the details.

I thought I would bring up some of the bigger concepts that have been in the book.

The biggest theme for me has been that Kara is basically a stranger in a strange land. Unlike prior incarnations of Supergirl, where she basically knew she was being rocketed to Earth, this Supergirl awakens to find herself on an alien world.

The original Kara knew Argo City was doomed, knew about Superman, knew about Earth. The later Supergirl knew she was being rocketed from a doomed Krypton, following Kal to Earth. This Kara doesn't know how or why she got to Earth. She is lost.

In some ways, that makes the main theme of this book one of dealing with grief. And I think that this Kara is working her way through those 5 stages. Even if she says that Earth will never be home in that second panel, she seems to be accepting her new situation more and more.

It hasn't been an easy transition with plenty of victories and defeats.

No two panels better illustrate that point better than the last panel of Supergirl #6 (where she is happy to have defeated the World Killers) and the first panel of Supergirl #7 (where she feels she needs to escape the attacking military).

If there is one plot point that I would like to see resolved sooner rather than later is this persecution from the military and police. This Supergirl seems to have a good moral compass, wanting to protect the innocent, wanting to help. It is hard to continue to do the right thing when you are vilified for it.

At least the public seems to be swayed to recognizing her heroics.

The big mystery is still out there of course. Who rocketed her to Earth? And from where ...Argo or Krypton?

We have seen glimpses of Kara's life on Krypton, heard from Zor-El and Alura, seen her lessons, and her mother's involvement in her romantic life. We also know that Zor-El is killed. And that Supergirl's pod was in orbit around the sun for at least 5 years.

All these things are linked. But clues have been lean. Answers are around the corner but had it been too long without a true 'origin'?

During her stay she has actually made a decent number of rogues. The World Killers. Simon Tycho. Black Banshee.

And while I think their last interaction was better than the first one, I still think there should be a better relationship between Supergirl and Superman. The scene in Supergirl #12 was a step in the right direction.

Add to that some crazy new powers like super-intuition and a solar flare and we have had a pretty crazy first year of the DCnU Supergirl.

Initially the first issues seemed to decompressed. But once the stage was set, I think pacing has been fine. Mike Johnson and Michael Green seem to have a grasp of just who Supergirl should be. And Mahmud Asrar's art has been breath-taking.

So please vote. And comments are always welcome! I'll tell you my grade when I review the poll results next week!


Martin Gray said...

I went for B+, it's been generally decent stuff but a real step backwards from where we were at the end of the previous run. I'm tired of seeing Supergirl re-establish herself on Earth, I liked having a status quo in which she was more worldly, and having fun. To think, we might have had Kelly-Sue DeConnick writing college Kara ... instead we have Kara confused and sad and angry, again and again and again.

And the new costume still stinks, even rendered by the talented Mahmud Asrar.

Kim said...

Every solicit DC has given so far has pretty much been the opposite of what's actually happened, right from the start, when they said that she feels nothing for earth or humans blah blah. It took me until about issue 10 to realise the DC solicits were always wrong, and I could finally relax. This is a good interpretation of Kara, and she's a thoroughly good person.

As for grade, it's hard... I went with A, because I don't feel there's been a single thing wrong with this interpretation. But B or B+ may be more accurate, because there hasn't been a "whoa!" storyline, yet. But with the last two issues, we've seen a move away from the early slow storytelling, which I think will ultimately be good. I loved the slow start, but this is about the right time to pick up the pace.

This Kara has a years worth of issues now, and I still feel it is being done right, and has tons of promise. And it seems the story is beginning to advance, beyond the "Kara lost on Earth" thing.

Yeah, I am optimistic. And the writers have shown a good understanding of the character, props to them.

Anonymous said...

My grade for the first year of the DCnU Supergirl would be very high B+ or low A-

Like everyone else relieved that the DC bigwigs had no idea what they were talking about prior to the release. I like Supergirl's confusion at being on Earth and that she willing to help people. At heart Kara is a good person who has to deal with a lot of sh... you know what I mean. I do hope they improve the relationship with Superman and agree the last issue was a start in the right direction. My only real costume complaint is the boots. I do like the high necked cape, gives Kara a sense of royalty if that makes sense.

Looking forward to the Zero Issue and getting some answers.

valerie21601 said...

I give it a C. It's too dark for my tastes.

Outside of the one scene, in the first issue of Supergirl, of Kara flying for the first time. I see nothing of Supergirl 8th Grade J n G say inspires them in this series. this Supergirl doesn't have a when life hands you lemons make lemonade out of it attitude.

This Kara reminds me too much of Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games. I have read all three books in the series.

Anonymous said...

I gave the book a solid B, on grounds of the artwork, some good starts on a new rogue's gallery and a pro forma attempt to differentiate SG from her Cousin.
Where I think the book falls short is in a myriad of details the whole "Me no speaka da english" meme which is gone on long enough, the bizarre scene where she is jobbed out to a bunch of mutant eels and her cousins wholly inexplicable attitude towards her given her power and threat potential.
Oh and the Worldkillers, badly designed mid 1980's action sense of menace from them at all.
I think the book can improve and hopefully will improve...a throw down with someone on the A-List unaided would help tremendously...


Anonymous said...

I'd give the book an A because it turned out a lot better than was advertised. Kara has been shown as a hero who is trying to learn from all her experiences and do what is right.

Gene said...

I gave her an A because its the only bright spot in the entire train wreck that is the New 52. Her characterization is appealling and positive enough to overshadow her lackluster costume.

How about a poll where we get to vote on our favorite Supergirl origin story after #0 comes out? We can vote between 1959 silver age, post COIE Matrix, 1996 Peter David, 1998 Animated, 2004, and now the New 52 Supergirl.

Dave Mullen said...

Interesting to see others thoughts, I agree with there being a severe lack of good villains so far, not one of them stands out and I think Simon Tycho epitomises this problem as he's as one-dimensional and generic as supervillains get.
But on the whole I have enjoyed Supergirl a lot. The visual element (art and color) is excellent and distinctive and has really helped the writers establish a world and tone for the book to operate in. I have wrestled a bit between giving it an 'A' or 'B' and on refelection I think B+ was a fair vote for me. To get an 'A' I think it needs to get a bit more established and settle a bit, the overemotional Kara and hostility in the authorities and book solicits are a bit of a turn off for me as they are often used out of proportion to what the situation demands.
There is something inherantly wrong in having Supergirl (or Superman) being regularly shot at by policemen and US soldiers...

Gustavo Delamarques said...


Anonymous said...

I too think that this series deserves an A, as it is also the best in the super books. By the way, there was recently an interview on the USAtoday about Supergirl, talking about the series and future developments. It´s checking out.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments!

I agree that some things do grate a bit - not speaking english, being attacked by cops/the army.

I also think she has sort of rebounded each time with a sort of 'do what's right' mentality.

And while the Superman thing irks me a bit, her conflicted internal conversation makes me think Johnson/Green will eventually make it right.