Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Supergirl #13

Supergirl #13 came out this week and not only wrapped up the current Emerald Empress storyline but effectively blew up the landscape of the book, resetting it a bit for the year to come. When I finished reading the issue, I sort of shook my head to grasp everything that happened. In some ways this felt like the sort of issue that happens right before a creative team shake-up, a sort of clearing of the playing field. But we know that Steve Orlando and Robson Rocha are sticking around.

I wonder, if after a year of stories, the creative team sort of reassessed the book, looking at what was working and what wasn't, at what stories they wanted to tell and which they didn't, and decided to nudge the book in that direction.

Trust me, I'm not complaining. There was a sense of added energy for me when I was done. Things are going to be shaken up ... and in a good way. And perhaps, most important of all, the characterization of Supergirl despite all the upheaval remained sound. I was smiling. Because it would have been easy for the writers to march down the 'dark Supergirl' road, making Kara bitter. Instead, they have her shine even brighter.

I'll get into particulars in a moment. But I have to add that the addition of Robson Rocha on art has added a lot to my love of the book as well. This was a high action issue and demanded some detail and some dynamism and some 'oomph' and we got it. Add to that the Artgerm covers and suddenly Supergirl is firing on all cylinders.

On to the book!

Last issue had the Emerald Empress coordinating an attack on Supergirl on all fronts. They leaked videos of her comforting her father. They ramped up her powers so they are nearly out of control. They attacked the DEO and took over CatCo. And now they are trying to kill her family.

Despite all this, Supergirl has remained resolute in her actions. She is there to help people and try to stop tragedy from ensuing. But all of these attacks on her might leave her as a girl with no tomorrow, alone ... hence the title.

Let's just start off with the glory of this opening page as a way to greet you as a reader. This is a great action shot of Kara leaping in front of a bolt from the Emerald Eye. You feel her leaping, her hair and cape streaming. I love the determined look on her face. But I also love the cackling glee on the Empress, a subtle background detail that shows how much Rocha and inker Daniel Henriques puts into each page. A far cry from the last artist and the occasional black face background characters.

The Empress talks about Supergirl being an enemy in the future. Orlando continues to have this Kara be that beacon of help, hope, and compassion for all. She tells the Empress they could have talked about things, changed the future, instead of rushing to the attack. Love it.

 Meanwhile, Lar-On is beating the snot out of Magog at another DEO site. When Selena senses the tide turning, she grabs Magog's helmet and takes off.

We don't know much about this Selena. But I get the sense she is sort of a magical scavenger, picking up items to boost her own power. It leans a bit into the movie character who had no inherent capabilities but needed the Omegahedron. I definitely want to see more of her.

But with Grundy and Magog defeated and Selena gone, the Fatal Five is now a duo.

 Remember that part of this attack was CatCo's app airing the video of Supergirl helping the Cyborg Superman, the being that ravaged National City. Ben Rubel decides that he needs to stop the video to help quell the tide of mistrust against the Girl of Steel. The best way to do that? A little cyber-terrorism. He orchestrates a denial of service attack against CatCo itself, effectively shutting down the site. Brilliant ... and a little scary he can do it. What do you think of Cat's look? Is it that she is impressed he is doing it? Or concern that he can?

I am waiting to learn what Ben did that made him run away. His quick defense to Supergirl when others complain that she was 'deceiving' them makes me think my ultimate guess on what it is will be right. And I think gender is a key part of it.

 Meanwhile, the fight with the Empress has spilled out of the DEO HQ and into the streets. Zor-El, in his tube, is right there for everyone to see.

The people don't seem happy about this. They can't believe Supergirl helped the man who tried to kill them all.

Instead of getting angry, Kara gives a great speech. She is there to help everyone. She won't abandon anyone. She won't abandon the people of Earth, they have taught her too much. Even in the face of this hate, Supergirl is rising above.

That doesn't mean she is a pacifist. She needs to end the fight. She rips the Emerald Eye in half which seems to send the Empress back to the future.

Nothing funny about a lot of green aqueous humor!

Unfortunately, to the crowd, it looks like Supergirl somehow killed the Empress, evaporated her.

 That leaves just Indigo. And after sounding like a good guy last issue, we get a peek into her true colors. She sounds a bit like a charlatan here. She talks about how Supergirl was a fool for believing humans are inherently good. Instead the can be swayed.

And Indigo will kill Supergirl and become that hero...

Even the villains recognize Supergirl's character and optimism. Love it.

And Indigo almost gets away with it. But Zor-El shows up and tears her apart.

Hmmm .. Kara rips apart the eye. Her Dad rips apart the robot. Is this the El finishing move?

But even Kara knows that this can't make things seem better for the citizens on the street. Indigo was a hero in their eyes and was just killed by the criminal Supergirl was aiding and abetting.

It's all gone pear-shaped.

I also have to wonder if this was a nod to how Indigo was torn in half by J'onn at the end of Supergirl Season 1.

 With the Five eliminated, all that's left to do is the tawdry mop-up of the DEO scandal.

Throughout the last pages, we hear Supergirl in narration boxes talking about how she has chosen Earth and will continue to even if her life has changed.

Cameron Chase is forced out of the DEO. She and Lar-On hit the road. Eliza and Jeremiah quit the DEO as well. Shay Veritas scrubs the databases so no one can know what Supergirl's secret identity is. Supergirl is out of the DEO, now concentrating on her time at CatCo and in school. And CatCo has decided to run a sort of anti-campaign against Supergirl, asking if she is who they thought she was.

 We learn that Mr. Bones is now back in charge of the DEO. He set up the hit on Saturn Girl. He seems to want to eliminate Supergirl, putting this Fatal Five scheme together from behind the scenes.

Bones as an antagonist for Supergirl is brilliant.

 But the end scene of Supergirl, despite all the negativity that has surrounded her she still soars above it all. She still loves everyone on Earth. She'll still defend them.

No angsty Loeb Kara. No angry Kelly Kara. No 'let me be alone' New 52 Kara. We get this optimistic, hopeful, and determined Kara. She is a hero.

Now that is an ending. That is Kara.

But wait ... there's more.

Mr. Oz kills Zor-El. Knowing what we know now, that is even more chilling.

Whew. Let's all catch our breath.

Look, for me this was a near perfect ending to things. I wanted to see more of Kara in school and at CatCo. I wondered how she could be active so much with the DEO and not have those parts of her life suffer. I have never been a fan of Zor-El as the Cyborg and wondered how he could ever be used moving forward; now I don't have to worry. We have a Cat Grant sort of attacking Supergirl ... shades of the Gates/Igle run. And we have the DEO looming in the background as an adversary now.

The parts I want to see more of are teed up. The parts I wanted to see less of are pushed on the back burner or eliminated. It sort of feels like a whole new chapter is about to occur.

And I'm on board!

Overall grade: A


kenkraly2004 said...

Agreeed great review , Wow this was an Super Amazing issue of Supergirl and the best of this DC Rebirth of Supergirl so far !!! The battle between Supergirl and The DEO Vs The Emerald Empress was so good. And Supergirl just let loose and was at full power seeing her use her Heat Vision so cool and a great panel to look at. Plus the ending panel where see says she loves National City and the people their was amazing and tells you everything you need to know about Kara. The writing a bit better in this issue and the artwork and coloring amazing 9/10

Martin Gray said...

Top review, as ever... and you gave me a big surprise - I missed that epilogue entirely on my digital reading.

So far as I'm concerned, that confirms Mr Oz isn't who he's 'revealed' to be in Action Comics, there's not a single hint they're related here. Good!

Anonymous said...

This issue has definitely been a game changer.

Then again, Supergirl hasn't enjoyed a stable, long-lasting status quo since... 1968?

Though, Supergirl hasn't moved out of her city and her whole supporting cast hasn't been replaced this time. So those characters will probably be explored further. Glad of it. Super-heroes need a strong supporting cast to succeed.

Supergirl being kicked out of the DEO doesn't bother me. Kara working for a Government organization didn't sit well with me and I didn't think it'd last long. Seemingly I was right.

At the end, Magog was truly pathetic. He wasn't even important enough to be defeated on panel. And previously Supergirl defeated him with the literal snap of her fingers. Ridiculous.

I'm wondering what that "sorceress" statement means. Cat is hiding something?

Oh, and Unreasonably Antagonist Cat is back! Praise Sterling Gates!

The figh scenes were superb but I'm refraining from making bad eye-based puns. By the way, Rocha -like Bogdanovic- depicts heat vision like a blaze rather a red light beam. Curious.

"That leaves just Indigo. And after sounding like a good guy last issue, we get a peek into her true colors."

Yes, I didn't buy her "Woman of Tomorrow" act.

I was genuinely shocked when I read Bones was behind everything. Now, I wonder... In the 31st century Sarya saw a false vision which led her to go back in time to kill Imra. Then she realized Supergirl was her true target. How could Bones set those events in motion? Why does he want to assassinate Saturn Girl? Why is he going after Kara? So many questions.

That Supergirl flying panel is spectacular.

And the final scene is chilling.

I have to feel for Zor-El. Seriously. He helped create the Worldkillers. He cut ties with his little brother after a stupid fight and never talked to Jor-El again. He tried to save his family and hometown, going so far as to cut a deal with Brainiac. Then he saw all Argonians -including his wife- dying and was turned by Brainiac into a monster. When he got his memory back, he had killed a lot of people and hurt his own daughter. He tried to set things right and had to be stopped by Supergirl because he was going about the wrong way. And then he saves Kara's life and called a murderer. Shortly after, he's executed by his own brother who considers it a mercy killing.

In a nutshell Zor-El never managed surpass his brother, he couldn't save his family, he couldn't make up with his daughter. He failed at nearly everything and nothing what he did ended up well.

Poor Zor-El. Maybe Oz was right. It was a mercy killing.

And Jor-El being Mister Oz is character assassination, but that's a different matter.

Anonymous said...

It was a little rushed as individual issues go (there is an important plot point in virtually every panel) but I''m either liking or loving every potential creative thread going forward...snuffing Dad though, that does put Kara on a collision course with the whole Oz Plolline (which I've been ignoring until now out of an abundance of thrift and caution)...I wonder if she'll be "folded into it" and if so, will she get treated properly?
There is a weird stock taking in this issue for most of the cast's adults, Zor El is dead, Eliza and Jeremiah are On unemployment, Cameron Chase is sidelined, the DEO (the organization that helped recover Kara's super powers) is alligned against seems she has been literally "re-orphaned", but then she has the attitude to overcome something like that, which is why I'm liking this book so much...


Anonymous said...

I loved this issue so much!
I would want Chase and Lar-On's journey to turn into a spin-off road movie style comic. I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Though I have to say. If Mr. Oz really is Jor-El I'd be more than a little disappointed. Whatever his deal is with Superman and humanity, not talking with his brother and niece is just bad writing.

I am underwhelmed with Mr. Oz so far as a character. It feels like they didn't want to write a big COIE epos including everyone, so for all characters they didn't take time to include, Mr. Oz just makes a half hearted cameo.

I would love to proven wrong, but I get a feeling the main big event will pretend there is no Superman family. Superman failing humanity in last Action Comics without calling for his family makes a statement in my mind. In the Oz effect we are back to only survivor of Krypton again.

Aaron said...

I love this Rebirth title; Steve Orlando has really rekindled my love for Supergirl. She’s always been my favourite Kryptonian, but after The New 52 not quite being the Kara I was used to reading (though I did enjoy it for the most part and still better that Kelly’s run), and the vast deterioration of the TV show on the CW (a purely personal opinion); my love for the character had begun to wane quite seriously.
But reading Steve Orlando’s Supergirl has always been a breath of fresh air for me. I was very eager to read this issue, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This issue, too, made me think that maybe the creative team reassessed the book and decided to nudge the title in a direction they thought was working; and if that’s the case, they nailed it as far as I’m concerned. I’m certainly glad that Kara’s association with the DEO has been halted (even if it turns out to be temporary); it’s as if Steve Orlando has acknowledged the TV show to draw in new readers, but has now told a story that has unshackled his hands so he can go his own way. But... on the other hand, going back to the rebirth issue, perhaps it wasn't a reassessment at all... It was never made clear how Supergirl and the DEO came to work together, only that (according to the DC synopsis of the issue) Kara turns to the DEO to regain her powers. Perhaps it was always meant to be a temporary association. This current issue could just be long-term arc plans coming to fruition. (I’ll have to re-read the Rebirth issue)
But if this issue is the result of the creative team reassessing the book, then just like Kara Zor-El herself, this book is learning and building towards new things for the better. Great stuff.

This Rebirth title is brilliant; I’m always content knowing that DC leads with the comics. My comments here are just my two cents, and my opinions are my own. I'm fighting an infection at the moment so I apologize profusely for sloppy grammar and perhaps not being clear in places.
Great review, Anj.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

Nice review of Supergirl 13. Just a day in the life of Kara Zor-El.

Let's see now.....National City doesn't trust Supergirl, considers her dangerous, and Cat Grant, an influential media CEO is unsure and critical of her. And Supergirl works for Cat Grant in her Kara Danvers identity.

Shades of 1960s Lee-Ditko Spider-Man!

I fully expect that Kara will eventually clear her name and reputation with the citizens of National City. That "menace to the public" stuff doesn't play too well with "Super" characters in the long run. But overall, I like the changes. Hope we get to know the Danvers a little better, and see more of Kara's family life.

By the way, speaking of Kara Danvers, check out Artgerm's cover for Supergirl 14. It's up on his facebook and Instragram pages.

garyb said...

Be sure to look for Supergirl's appearance in Superwoman 14. The events in SG13 roll right into SW14, as well as guest appearances from a character and a place I had thought had been retconned, er, rebooted, er, rebirthed out of existence. BTW, the image of SG on the last page of SW13 is one of top five images of her.

As for SG13, I am quite happy with the minor reboot, er, rebirth contained in this book that will change SG's status quo, and certainly drive new plotlines. I am hopeful that with the story changes, and probably more importantly, the artist changes, that more people will buy the book.

But then, I've also liked SG's adventures in the 8th grade, and the recently concluded Supergirl: Being Super.

Supergirl's history must look like one of those spaghetti hurricane projections that are offered early up when a hurricane begins.

Anonymous said...

Out of topic post.
If anyone of you guys were a fan of Justice League 3001, the last issue of Blue Beetle has a panel of Teri Magnus and future Batgirl reminiscing Supergirl in the future. Also it seems like next issue of Blue Beetle might have them travelling to the JL3001 age.
Could we get to see future Supergirl again?

Anonymous said...

"If anyone of you guys were a fan of Justice League 3001, the last issue of Blue Beetle has a panel of Teri Magnus and future Batgirl reminiscing Supergirl in the future. Also it seems like next issue of Blue Beetle might have them travelling to the JL3001 age.
Could we get to see future Supergirl again?"

I've just checked the issue. We see the JL3001 League -including Kara- in a short flashback. Wow. Is it possible that plotline will reach some kind of vaguely satisfying conclusion? And what will it mean for the eventual return of the Legion of Super-Heroes if that timeline still exists?

Anonymous said...

"And what will it mean for the eventual return of the Legion of Super-Heroes if that timeline still exists?"

I get the feeling that JL3001 is not the natural progression of the main timeline. It feels like a parallell timeline. Sort of like the one going on in Harley Quinn where they send killers from a future where Harley killed Batman. I don't think the Legion would be affected by it.

Thay said...

I liked the fact that Kara was kicked out from DEO, I never liked her working with them, Zor-El is a great character and I hope that by some miracle he has not died .. the only thing that bothered me was the people, I understand that Zor-El harmed and was responsible for atrocities but Kara become enemy No.1 of much of National City to the point of wanting his head this to me is of the best parts was Kara ripping the Emerald Eye.