Thursday, May 30, 2013

Superman: The Stolen Powers

I am always thrilled when I see Supergirl popping up in places that I wouldn't expect or aren't aware of. And so I was pretty thrilled to come across this early reader 'chapter book' based on Superman the Animated series and starring Supergirl.

'The Stolen Superpowers' was written by Martin Powell with art by comic veteran Rick Burchett and Lee Loughridge. The book riffs on the Bruce Timm Superman, right down to the look of the main villain The Parasite.

Unlike the S:TAS Supergirl, the Supergirl in this story seems very young, trying to do what's right but making some pretty basic rookie mistakes. I might grouse at such things usually but I think it works well here. The audience here is going to be a very young one and those readers will identify with another 'kid' trying to do what's right, trying to make their family proud, and needing to learn some lessons. It is clear this Kara's heart is in the right place even if she needs some saving.

Supergirl initially tries to help Superman save a city from a raging chemical factory fire. She uses her super-breath, unfortunately spreading the flames and Superman has to save the day. It is reminiscent of more classic Silver Age stories, including the lecturing Superman gives her. He is actually pretty understanding, grateful she tried to help but asking her to think a bit more when using her powers.

Ironically, though she almost made things worse, the town wants to recognize Supergirl as the queen of the town parade and who wouldn't want to do that.

The fire also weakened the power grid on Stryker's Island prison and the Parasite escaped. Meanwhile, Lois and Clark also arrive in the town to interview Supergirl. All the characters converge and the Parasite ends up draining Supergirl of her powers.

Superman and the Parasite end up brawling across the Earth and up to the Arctic and into the Fortress of Solitude when Supergirl shows up, re-powered. With Superman already in the Parasite's clutches, she flies up and grabs him as well. The power of the two kryptonians overload the Parasite who ends up passing out.

And the two cousins share a nice sentiment:

"That's the only way we could have defeated that monster," Supergirl pointed out. "Because we are family."
"The cousins from Krypton were just too much for him."

Despite her earlier mistakes, Superman invites Supergirl to join him in saving a threatened ocean liner. He doesn't ostracize her for trying. He embraces her.

Sort of sweet, no?

I like the 'can do' attitude of this Kara who desperately wants to help. And I like that Superman is understanding of her early trials and willing to help.

I also liked this sort of variant Animated Supergirl costume on this Kara. A full white shirt and blue shorts. It is a very nice look. I don't think I have seen it elsewhere.

Like many kids books, there is a question page at the end, presumably to stir the conversation between parent/teacher and child as well as to makes sure everything was comprehended.

Personally I like #2 and #3 of the writing prompts. Imagine asking the reader to write a Supergirl story, not a Superman one? Nifty.


Gene said...

When we celebrated Supergirl's 50th anniversary at my library I had a friend of mine dress up as her and this was one of the books she read to the neighborhood kids. Come to think of it that was the same day that Supergirl #50 came out...

Oh to answer the questions at the back of the book:

1. Kara learned to be true to herself and not be cow towed by her cousin.

2. Yes, but including Supergirl made the story much more interesting.

3. One word: TMZ

Anj said...

Gene, it is so cool that someone read that to the kids! Fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I think, if I recall correctly, the costume variation used in this book was pretty close to the original costume Bruce Timm et all wanted to use for Supergirl in SM TAS. The skirt was an add on later....


Anj said...

Interesting info John. Wonder if that original design is lurking out there somewhere.