Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 13

Adventures of Supergirl Chapter 13 was released two days ago. It was the final chapter in this digital first book based on the Supergirl television show. And I can only hope that DC Comics realizes what it has here and gives us more.

Throughout this book, writer Sterling Gates has been giving us the best of all worlds. He has mined the Supergirl and Kryptonian mythos from the comic book continuities. We have had huge action sequences. He has woven this story into the television show timeline seamlessly, even using the book to smooth over some questions I had about show plots. And throughout, he has given us wonderful character moments, especially between the Danvers sisters.

This chapter gives us all of that. But interestingly for me, the action takes a bit of a back seat to concentrate on the character moments instead. We get the fight we want between Kara and Facet, trust me. But instead of many pages of the two exchanging blows, we get a few, just enough. This gives Gates the page space to wrap up the story and how it has impacted the cast. And we get a new tagline for Supergirl, one that I hope every creator moving forward thinks of when they write Kara.

The art by Emma Vieceli is solid. There is a sort of rough feel to it at times which works well with the battle sequences. Kara looks strong and determined throughout. And the melee has a palpable energy.

But seriously, I hope we get more Adventures of Supergirl with Sterling Gates at the helm.

The book opens with Supergirl flying Facet up into space. Facet claws at Supergirl as they hit the upper atmosphere. I love the faint scratch over Supergirl's eye.

Seriously, I love that last panel. The look of determination and anger on Kara's face as talks about Facet's plans to destroy Supergirl's life. This is a personal attack on Supergirl, her family and friends. This is attacking her foundation, what grounds her. It is going to make her angry.

In the upper atmosphere, Kara does a simple attack. She drops Facet. After all, Facet can't fly. Even still, Kara knows this will only slow Facet down. It won't stop her.

But what I like about this how I think it plays off the show's ending. Here Kara knows that this is high as she can go without putting herself in danger. She knows that. It makes her flying into space in the show's finale that much more powerful. She knows lifting Fort Rozz into space is a suicide mission.

Maybe I am reading into this a bit too much. But for me, this played off the show well.

As predicted, the fall only slows Facet down. On the ground, Facet again says that she is doing this for Kara. Like Alura judged, Kara needs to stand in judgment over the 'mudball' of Earth. And the best way to achieve that is for Facet to burn away all of Supergirl's compassion.

Again, for me, compassion has been one of the strongest traits of Supergirl in all her incarnations. So Facet just has no concept of who Kara is if she thinks that she will ever be able to change Supergirl so fundamentally.

I am always interested in hearing how others feel about these books and I am wondering how people feel about the end of the Facet fight because I loved it.

During the fight, a DEO helicopter approaches. Alex shoots Facet twice and the bullets seems to fracture Facet's form. And then Kara, in a brutal page, lands a wicked uppercut (acknowledging the bully Belinda from her past again) which literally disarms Facet. Facet is basically defeated.

Remember last issue where Kara talked about how she utilized the time Facet gave her to prepare? Part of that was Alex working with Rampage to make inertron bullets. And that is strong enough to shatter diamond.

It is very much like the show for a victory be the result of the sisters working together. I don't think this cheated Supergirl of her win. I think it solidified the tone of the show and how important the Alex/Kara relationship is.

Did anyone think Supergirl should have won by herself?

 Facet can't even use Eliza as a hostage. It turns out the Eliza she thought she captured was a Psi-induced illusion. In a flashback we see Supergirl actually having found Psi's body and giving it an appropriate funeral ceremony.

In other words, Kara has befriended Psi and Rampage. Kara has reached out with compassion and changed people. It isn't always solved with fists. Things are sometimes fixed with an extended hand.

But for me, what I love is Supergirl talking about how she needed to correct the mistakes that Alura has made. We know how complicated the Alura/Kara relationship was in the comics.

Here, we have seen this slow deconstruction of Alura. She wasn't perfect. Sol both in this book and on the show, Kara has had to fix things. She has had to come to grips with a different understanding of her mother. I love it. It shows some maturity in Supergirl.

With Facet in one of the DEO fishtanks and Vril Dox fitted with a psychic dampening crown, all the villains are imprisoned. And so we have time for a little wrap up.

We see Rampage working at the DEO. We see Winn playing his video games.

And we see the sisters enjoying a night off, eating pizza and watching cheesy movies.

But it is this final monologue by Kara that just resonated.

She starts out by saying she is not Alura. She is her own person. She is proud of who she has become. For much of Supergirl's early career, she didn't seem proud of who she was. She was constantly comparing herself to Superman. She was trying to live up to some perfect form and always finding herself wanting.

I love that this Supergirl is finally happy with who she is.

And then we get this wonderful closing panel, a smiling Supergirl patrolling National City. That image is who Supergirl is to me.

I said it in the introduction. But this panel should be the template that every creator uses to build their concept of Supergirl on. She is going to be unwavering in her commitment to protect the people of Earth. She is here to help. And she believes in 'hope, help, and compassion for all'.

Hope, help, and compassion for all.

That is what Supergirl is all about. That is what Supergirl is to me. And so this was the best possible ending for this series.

And so this series wraps up. I'll applaud Gates for having this Facet story run throughout the series instead of happening between two episodes in the timeline. The whole plot of someone trying to coarsen Supergirl into something cruel is fascinating. And how Supergirl defeats Facet with the help of her friends all while making enemies into allies is pure Kara.

I also have to congratulate all the artists on the book. Everyone brought a unique look to their chapters. And Cat Staggs' covers just exploded off the rack.

I said it earlier. I'll say it again. I hope DC Comics does the right thing and gives Gates a 'second season'.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Agreed on all counts, more please. I wonder what Dox is planning, that close-up is telling. And I feel we should rewrite the Wonder Woman theme about 'turns a hawk into Dove' for Kara, she's right there in the Amazonian tradition. Mind, she has been an Amazon since the Seventies!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to repeat it again, cuz I can't say it enough, I _LOVE_ how Gates still has Kara's voice after all this time.
The stuff in the internal monologues ... just beautiful. And it was capped off with the final panel of Gates stating
what Kara / Supergirl stands for -- Hope, Help and Compassion for all.

There it is, in one single sentence. Can't make it any shorter than that.

Regarding DC giving Gates and co a second season, +9000 on that! But first, the monthlies and a TPB version of this
would be nice as well :)