Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: Adventures Of Supergirl #9

Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 9 came out this week and it was a game changer. Writer Sterling Gates and artist Carmen Carnero deliver one of those fantastic comic issues which is completely action packed while also moving the plot forward. It isn'y easy to accomplish both of those. So when it happens in comics, it makes me very happy.

As readers, we have been wondering about who the villainous mastermind. Rampage, Vril Dox, and Psi have all mentioned a woman who has pushed them to attack Kara. Now, finally, we get to see who that is. And things looks pretty scary for Supergirl. Facet has knowledge and power. And that makes her dangerous.

But outside all the reveals of Facet, and there are plenty, we also get more insight into who Supergirl is and how she interacts with her sister Alex. Kara is such a straight shooter in this universe. She's honest and doesn't hide her feelings. She doesn't like deception. Whether it comes from villains or her sister, she doesn't like mysteries.

The art on the book is fantastic. The cover by Cat Staggs gives us the first shot of Facet's crystalline form. And I am a sucker for images of heroes reflected off the surface of their villain. And the inside art by Carmen Carnero is just as impressive. This is a battle heavy chapter and Carnero shines with the action.

On to the book...

Last issue, Alex and Kara found a sort of underground lair at a Fort Rozz splinter site. They were supposed to find Psi's body. Instead they found Kryptonian sentry droids. It is all a mystery. And as I said, Kara doesn't like them, even in pop culture. (I like that Kara can't remember Dashiell Hammett's last name.) She knows secrets and mysteries can hurt people. We know that not knowing what Alex did to Rampage's sister has driven a small wedge between the sisters.

Still, we see them mowing down the robots together as they investigate.

There is an easy chemistry between the two as they shoot, punch, kick, and quip their way through the fight. The Danvers' charm always gets them into these situations.

The robots are pretty easy for Kara to dismantle. But then Facet arrives and grabs Alex.

This whole book has been a treasure trove of Easter Eggs and Gates gives us another. Facet is speaking old school, Silver Age, Kryptonese. And Kara doesn't understand this ancient dialect. As for us readers? Well, we are in the dark like Kara about what this says ... unless you have a pen, pad, time, and a penchant for ciphers (like I do). It can be figured out.

It is clear from what she says that this person has been behind this. She has sent the villains to fight Kara.

And this woman also speaks more modern Kryptonian as well. Supergirl recognizes the uniform as one of Fort Rozz's guards. But the woman says her name is Facet and she is not a guard.

So what is she? The uniform definitely mirrors that of the Rozz guards from earlier issues. So she has to be connected to the place somehow.

I love the art on this panel. The viewpoint down low, from nearly Alex's position, with the perspective, makes Facet seem giant, giving her an immediate presence.

Supergirl tries to save her sister and dashes in to free her sister. But a super strike to the midsection of facet only leads to a broken hand for Supergirl. I mean, Facet is ramrod straight, not budging from this punch. Facet has power.

And all the effects, the 'tnkk', the lines in the background, they all add to this crystal feel to her.

After that opening page and this sequence, you immediately know that Facet is the biggest, strongest threat this Kara has faced to date.

Supergirl switches to heat vision to attack.

In an attack that mirrors the battle against Reactron in the show, Supergirl unleashes her power which is blocked by Facet's open hand. It resonates a bit. We saw Supergirl beat Reactron when she blocked his beam with her palm easily. So maybe Facet can defeat her.

Kara increases the intensity, mentioning her fight with Red Tornado (on the show). In a nice page, the panels become larger, the characters bigger in the panel while the action, energy, and debris increase. I even like how Carnero adds the 'cracks' to Supergirl's face, an effect we have seen on the show when the heat vision is at its maximum.

But Facet seems relatively unfazed! Her costume and helmet may be in tatters. But she's just standing there. 

And then, she unmasks, finally showing us her face.

She is gleaming like a diamond.

And she says she wants to make Kara into Krypton's Finest. Facet even says Kara should ask Alura about who she is.

So is she really attacking Kara? Or just testing her? Did she know Alura?

Mysteries! And good ones!

I love how we see Kara distorted on Facet's face. Like BizarroGirl, this might play up a theme that Facet is some twisted reflection of Supergirl.

Before things can get even uglier, Alex tosses a 'DEO Boomer', some superpowered grenade which collapses Facet's 'fortress' down around the villain. Kara and Alex, beaten, broken, and bruised, escape.

The next step is obvious. They need to head to the DEO to ask AI Alura about who Facet it.

This was a great chapter, a sort of turning point for the book. We meet the big bad. She speaks all sort of Kryptonian languages. Facet was on Rozz and knew Alura. And she thinks she is helping Kara. That is a lot of progress on this plot.

But those reveals (translated from Kryptonese) are surrounded by great action bits. Carnero gives us extreme close ups of fists and kicks and then pulls back to more choreographed images of fighting. The sequential art of the battles as you turn the page really is slick. I often blow by battle scenes. I paused here. The angles and depth are engaging.

So who is Facet? I can't wait to find out.

Overall grade: A


Anonymous said...

For a second, I was like, "Uh oh, it's Ursa with experimental upgrades!"... but that's probably too obvious. (Besides, the show might one day want to use Ursa and/or Faora, so it's probably safer to steer clear of bigger names in the Super Family mythos.)

Anonymous said...

I've been following your reviews of "Adventures of Supergirl" (I'm hoping to pick it up in trade as it seems like a miniseries) and I was wondering something about the villains. As a new reader/viewer, one of the thing's that struck me about the show was the strength of the supporting cast (something I didn't really see in Supergirl's Nu52 Comic), people that felt essential to the character (like Lois or Alfred). But some of the villains seems borrowed from the Superman comics, to me - Brainiac, Bizzaro, etc. I'm not complaining, I love the show, I was just wondering, given your encyclopedic knowledge of Supergirl, whether or not the original comics had a supporting cast and villains that "belonged" to the character? Were there classic Supergirl allies and villains I'm missing? :)

Jae said...

There's a few created specifically for Supergirl, but there is alot of overlap. She shares a universe with her cousin who is the ultimate super hero, so it makes sense that she would see alot of his villians. For instance Reactron, who on the show came after her for revenge on superman, was originally a Supergirl villian in the comics.

So yes and no. It would be like doing a young Clark Kent Superboy show/comic and not expecting classic Superman villians to show up despite the breaks in time/location/character.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jae. I was just curious. It makes total sense that the show would use Super-Family characters.