Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Review: Adventures of Supergirl #11

Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 11 came out yesterday and continued to move this story forward at an incredible pace. While there have been great cliffhangers in this series so far, this one takes the cake. Seriously, I wish the next chapter was coming out tomorrow.

One of the things that has been bubbling throughout this series has been how family is such an important part of Supergirl's life. Her relationship to her sister is important. Her relationship with her mother Alura is changing, even after Alura's death. The relationship of Rampage and her sister is an interesting contrast. In this chapter, we add Eliza Danvers to the mix. And that is great given last issue's confrontation with the Alura A.I. That foundation of family is so key to the show so it should be key here.

Writer Sterling Gates continues to give us these important relationships. He also continues to build up Kara Danvers' history. And he continues to link this book to Supergirl's comic history. It really all works.

The art in this chapter is done by Emma Vieceli and is great. In particular, I love the panel edges and background art which add to the tone of the book. The cover is another action cover by Cat Staggs. Brilliant.

I really feel lucky, as a Supergirl fan, to have had this book, complete with a writer who obviously cares about the character and a line of great artists.

Kara has been pretty irked about the puzzle of this whole attack by Facet. It is a riddle. How do all these pieces fit together? Did Alura ask Facet to test her daughter? How does Alex's first mission tie in? Who is withholding information from her?

In this chapter, we see Kara trying to put it all together. She remembers how her adoptive mother taught her to breakdown problems into chunks, solving the parts you know first. Eliza used that method when given problems by Professor Potter (certainly has to be Phineas Potter, Lana Lang's wacky scientist uncle).

This method is how, as Supergirl, Kara is trying to breakdown this whole plot which is revolving around her.

But how great is it that Gates also put Kara in Stanhope, historically the college Supergirl attended. Wonderful. But having Challenger of the Unknown Walter Haley teaching oceanography? Brilliant!

And we learn that Supergirl finished near the top of her class in Stanhope. So she might be intelligent. But she doesn't have super-intelligence.

What I also like is that Supergirl actually brings up the pieces of the puzzle on the screen, trying to work her way through this.

 As a long time Supergirl fan, and knowing what Sterling Gates was hoping to do in the Supergirl book before being taken off the book, I was thrilled when Henshaw describes this group as the Supergirl Revenge Squad. This was an idea that Gates was hoping to do in the main title way back then.

I love the idea of a Supergirl Revenge Squad.

 Kara knows that Alex dealt with Rampage's sister in a DEO mission in the past. Something went down that Alex seems to regret. It also has infuriated Rampage herself. Kara has wanted details on that mission since she first learned of it but has been stonewalled.

I love that she has finally had it in this chapter, demanding that the mission details be opened up to review. It might give her answers. It will help her defend her sister.

The art show just how exasperated Kara is. The coloring makes her appear flushed. But it is the background red streak that brings it together for me art-wise. It adds a layer of suspense about the mission. Was this a blood-soaked encounter for Alex? I hope we find out.

The tense scene is cut short by an attack on DEO by Facet. We learn that Vril Dox can absorb electrical energy from human nervous systems. Using that power, Dox emits a high-frequency signal which incapacitates Kryptonians and Byrnesians. It'll drop Kara and draw Rampage in. This new power by Dox seems like a last minute addition. I suppose it gets us to this point so I'll roll with it.

There is a lot to love about these panels. One, I love that Facet gleefully talks about her plans to the DEO, so sure she is about what she is trying to accomplish. I think it is brilliant that she used Jimmy's signal-watch as the kernel of her idea for this attack.

And artwise, we really feel just how much agony Kara is in by this sonic attack. Vieceli really shines on the expressive work here. And adding the jagged sonic squiggle around the panels just adds to the feel of the scene.

 As expected, Rampage shows up and begins to tear the place apart. And, given their history, she immediately focuses in on Alex. Kara is barely able to save her sister from being crushed by the Rampage-thrown pod Kara came to Earth in.

From a timeline point, I don't think Hank has revealed himself yet to the sisters. So I love this quiet 'H'Ronmeer' as he sees the pod about to crash into him.

This scene doesn't go well for our heroes. Kara passes out from the pain just as Rampage corners Alex. Great cliffhanger there.

But it isn't the best cliffhanger.

Facet talked about visiting the family doctor. That turns out to be Eliza. Facet will use Eliza to help Kara 'grow'. Now this is a great cliffhanger.

Add to that some great panels showing the Danvers' home in Midvale, complete with numerous family photos hung on the wall. It is a nice subtle reminder of how loving and supportive this family is.

So nothing but compliments here. There is a great action sequence. There is this continued mystery. There are character moments, enriching their history. There are some deep DC name-drops. And it is all dressed in beautiful art.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Oh, great spot in Prof Haley, I missed that one. Now, what can I say but... DC Digital, announce a new AoS run, already!

Anonymous said...

To TPTB and S Gates : Keep This Coming!!

I can't make it any shorter than that!