Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Supergirl Best Of 2019: Top Ten Comic Moments

I have now been doing these 'Best of Supergirl' end of year lists for 11 years now and some years are definitely better than others. But I have never felt that a year encapsulates the difficulty DC seems to have with Supergirl better in that time span than this year does.

2019 wasn't a great year for Supergirl. In her own title, she leaves Earth on a wild goose chase, embracing an rage-inducing axe and coming within a whisker of killing people all while wallowing in anger and sadness. She subsequently succumbs to an evil virus becoming a Goth Supergirl embracing anarchy and anger, DC doubling down on the 'Mistress of the Axe' plotline. Since I started this blog alone we have seen the 'dark, angsty, angry, very sad Kara' trope several times. It never seems to work. Like ... NEVER.

And yet, 2019 was also a very good year for Supergirl. She sheds the dark, angsty, angry persona (again) and embraces Earth as home (again). She clearly is a valued and loved member of the Super-family and her relationship with her cousin Kal hasn't seemed this strong in a long time, maybe since Gates/Igle. And she had a number of one-shots and specials that built up her character arc and history in a powerful way.

Still, as I put together this list, some of the moments seemed to be repeats from prior years.

Enough talk, on to the top ten Supergirl comic moments of 2019!

Number 10: Supergirl 33 - Letting go of anger (again)!

One of the reasons that Supergirl flitted into space to investigate Rogol Zaar was to avenge the deaths of the Kandorians. She needed to heal that emotional wound. She felt anger over their massacre and she was going to mete out justice.

The problem was that on the journey the rage she felt seemed to overcome her. Wielding the axe, nearly killing people, picking up rifles and firing on people, being generally irate ... it all seemed like too much. (Hey, didn't we see this when she was a Red Lantern? Or when she put on the black suit in Robinson's JLA? Or when she landed in the New 52 and joined H'El in trying to blow up Earth?)

Anyways, after a few close calls and much contemplation, she sheds that anger and feels ... human.

Okay, I don't ever need to see Dark Kara become normal Kara again. But I have to admit, I am glad DC at least put a pin in angry Supergirl and brought back our hero.

Number 9: Supergirl 32 - Super-teens being super awkward!

One relationship that I have loved from the beginning has been Kara and Jon. I really hope that we get to see more of them interacting. It is a shame we didn't get many moments for Kara to mentor the younger tween version of Superboy.

But here she is with the more teenage Superboy. This conversation where Jon and Kara skirt some randy topics made me chuckle, especially since Kara wants nothing to do with it.

Let's hope that Supergirl makes a crossover into the future at some point.

Number 8: Superman 12 - Now that's a left hook!

Separate kudos need to be handed out to Brian Michael Bendis who consistently makes Supergirl shine when he writes her. In particular, Kara has always been a force and a difference in all the cousins interaction with Rogol Zaar. Remember, it was Kara who ultimately defeated him way back in Man of Steel.

In Superman #12, it is Kara's arrival which sends the warring alien armadas scattering. And then, without pausing, she flies in planting a left hook across Zaar's ugly mug.

Never pausing to fight injustice, always quick with a funny barb, and definitely someone who doesn't suffer fools lightly, Bendis' Supergirl is the Supergirl I want to read.

In the end, Zaar could end up to be more of a Supergirl villain than a Superman villain. And I wouldn't mind that either.

Number 7: Batwoman/Supergirl 100 page giant - Too Radiant

One of the undercurrents of many incarnations of Supergirl (and perhaps most visible in the Silver Age) is the feeling that she lives in the shadow of Superman. That usually comes out as a need to live up to his example, to follow in his footsteps.

A primary reason why I love Supergirl is that desire to emulate Superman but to still be learning.

In the Batwoman/Supergirl giant, writer Andrea Shea shows that Kara still feels now and then like she is in Kal's shadow. I don't mind a little of that history to be present.

But this time Superman dispels it. Kara is too radiant to be in anyone's shadow.

That is a great moment and a great sentiment.

Number 6: Millennium: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 - Madame President, here to help!

One of the biggest bright spots of 2019 was the return of the Legion of Super-Heroes to the DCU, a neo-classic Legion similar to but different from the one old time readers are used to.

The future history of the DCU, leading up to that Legion, was told in the Millennium: Legion of Super-Heroes miniseries.

In that first issue, the seemingly immortal Rose Forrest seeks help from the President of Earth, Supergirl.

That's right, writer Brian Michael Bendis has Supergirl be the ultimate leader on Earth.

And even better, she still has that 'hope, help, and compassion for all' feel to her. Here she tells the anguished Rose that she promises that everything will be okay. That simple statement backs up the mantra.

A Supergirl being President would have been enough. One with that much compassion? Even better.

Number 5: Superman 17 - Kara never forgets

As fantastic as the compassionate Supergirl is, I also like a worldly wise Kara, one that doesn’t suffer fools lightly. And one that isn’t as Pollyanna as her cousin.

In the best moment showing that, here in Superman #17, she calls out General Zod for being a new friend. She remembers he has tried to kill them. So they aren’t at slumber party. So step back.

In many ways this makes her smarter than her cousin.

I loved this.

Number 4: Supergirl Annual 2 - You are Krypton now!

In the Suoergirl Annual,  Kara relives her last day on Krypton while being tempted by the Batman Who Laughs to see how meaningless life is.

I have said how much I wished Kara, with all she has lived through, could shake off the virus.

That includes early moments like this where Alura recognizes that Kara is Krypton now. Only Kara will carry the memories of the planet, will remember it as it was.

This loving Alura, this brav Kara, this sad goodbye, those words. All phenomenal.

Number 3: Supergirl 33 - I choose Earth (again)!

This is another one of those ‘again’ moments.

After saying out loud that she has shaken off negativity, Kara says she chooses Earth as her home.

Now should this be #3? Should I be rewarding DC backtracking on a Dark Kara and having her decide to be a hero on her new home ... again? Haven’t we seen this before?

Well, I’m happy that ...again... we have her make this decision as opposed to remaining in the shadows. So I’m just happy we got there ... again.

Number 2: Supergirl 34 - She's Back!

That decision to return to Earth results in the #2 moment of 2019.

In Supergirl #34, our hero returns home to National City and is greeted with a hero’s welcome.

I love this splash.

It is a very dynamic piece of art by Eduardo Pansica with a stunning angle and an iconic pose.

But just as important is the background, the citizens cheering their hero as she streaks through the streets. Supergirl has been embraced by National City. We even see the return of her supporting cast here.

It was a symbolic ending to the ‘axe queen in space’ arc. It showed why she should have stayed on Earth, why she should stay on Earth.

I was cheering too.

And now the number one Supergirl moment of 2019.

Number 1: Superman 12 - The Super-family

My guess is this will be a controversial pick.

It isn’t exactly a pure Supergirl moment.

But this moment of Super-family solidarity was my favorite moment of the year.

We’ve had years when the relationship between Supergirl and Superman has been very strained. We had just had a year of an angry Supergirl in space. We had Jon Kent aged and tortured. We had Superman struggling to deal with his father’s reappearance and sins. An interstellar war is raging around them.

But they take a time to acknowledge family and their love for each other.

It was a positive moment, a sweet moment, a loving moment. The perfect sort of balm needed in the midst of those dark stories. Frankly I needed it.

Kudos to Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis for giving us the Superman Family again.

So that’s my top ten!

Let me know if I missed anything or what you think of my rank!

And happy new year!


Martin Gray said...

I don’t think your Number One will be controversial, I remember thinking it was wonderful when that issue appeared and we both singled it out in our reviews. Heartwarming family stuff!

Excellent other picks too!

Anonymous said...

Good list. If there's anything, I think Maihack deserves a place on one of the lists for his amazing interpretation which is definitely one of the years Supergirl highlights in my book.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

That was a good choice for number 1. Yesterday I guessed that the number 1 moment would be Supergirl's return to Earth-which wound up in second place! To quote Maxwell Smart, "missed it by THAT much!"

Maybe there should be a list of the "top ten times Supergirl has embraced Earth as her home".

This new year isn't starting off too good for Kara. I'd like to believe that things will get better (can't get no worse) once this Batman Who Laffs nonsense is over, but who knows?

Anonymous said...

Oh, there were some great Supergirl moments in Spaced Out as well which had its physical release in 2019.

Martin Gray said...

What’s ‘Spaced Out’? IMDb didn’t help :)

Anonymous said...

Martin: DC Superhero Girls

Martin Gray said...

Intriguing, thanks, and a Happy New Year!