Monday, March 30, 2020

Review: Supergirl #40

Supergirl #40 came out this week.

That should be my review.

Supergirl is my favorite character.
This book is so terrible I am glad that the book starring my favorite character is being canceled.
The character assassination has to stop.
And maybe something surgical like this is the best way to end it.

Because this book is horrible.

It isn't a Supergirl book.

Why am I not surprised?

I actually don't fault writer Jody Houser or artist Rachael Stott. I wouldn't mind seeing what they would do with an honest-to-goodness Kara book. But they were handed this abomination and are probably trying to do their best with it.

I am a Supergirl fan.
I am glad Supergirl is being canceled.
That's simply wrong.

Last issue Supergirl mutated into something even more grim and gritty when she was exposed to government-issued Kryptonite and a brawl.

Now I don't know who designed this 'ultimate form' of the envenomed Supergirl  but this look with long tendrils of hair covering her eyes is ridiculous. She looks like cousin It or the sheep dog in the 'hello Sam' 'hello Ralph' Looney Tunes cartoons.

But there is more than just that to be bothered by here. The shifting tone of Wonder Woman throughout the book is weird. The utter lack of understanding this book or the character's history is also weird.

For example, Supergirl has been infected for a long time. Wonder Woman saying that it is the recent presence of this Kryptonite stopping Kara's natural immune system makes little sense.

I had to include this just to again show how ludicrous this Supergirl character has become with all that hair in her face, her 6 inch long nails (how can she make a fist in that first panel?), and her trying to stab Wonder Woman with an infected spike.

Sorry ... not Supergirl.

For most of the story, Diana has tried to take a high road with Supergirl.

Here Wonder Woman tries to reason why Kara is fighting or why Kara has embraced the virus.

It is because she doesn't want to be alone any more.

Again, this shows a pretty big lack of understanding of recent Supergirl history. First off, she had a network of friends in her Kara Danvers life; she had family.

Also, I keep thinking of how in the Superman books, Brian Michael Bendis stressed the El family so much it was the #1 Supergirl moment in 2019. In 2019, more than in many recent years, Kara wasn't alone and was part of a loving family.

But instead we backslide.

Flip a few pages and Diana is suddenly flippant with Supergirl, calling her a child.

Now maybe that is Diana finally upset enough with Kara to call it as she sees it. But this is a big flip from the more sentimental approach just a couple of pages ago. And Diana's understanding of Kara's reasoning is the same.

So that seemed off.

We then get plenty of fight.

It looks like Kara has the top hand and is about to stab Diana with the infected spike when ....

That's right!

For the umpteenth time since the Man of Steel mini-series reset the Superman books, Krypto flies in and stops Kara from doing something horrible.

Much like in the Andreyko run, Houser has Supergirl about to kill someone only to be stopped by those soulful canine eyes.

In fact, without question, the biggest hero in this book for the last 2 years has been Krypto.

Maybe if this was the first time we saw this, it would be more effective. But instead my reaction was "again??"

And then more problems.

Wonder Woman asks Kara to listen to what the Smallville citizens are saying about the situation.

And Kara is surprised to hear they are afraid of her.

Didn't a bunch of them quake in fear in a silo in front of her just last issue?

I don't understand this. Why would if affect Kara at all. She keeps saying she knows better than these people anyways.

And then Kara sees the joke behind it all.

The Batman Who Laughs told her no one would ever accept Kara as a hero.

Which doesn't make sense either.

Because National City had embraced Supergirl as their hero and celebrated when she returned home from space.

They did accept her as a hero. This moment was so great it was my #2 Supergirl moment in 2019.

Finally seeing that what she is doing is wrong, Kara decides her best chance at purging her system of the virus is to fly into space and get a mega dose of yellow sun radiation.

I have loved Krypto as an addition to the Supergirl book, even if he does steal the spotlight. But that little lick on Kara's cheek as she streaks off is precious.

But it isn't a cure.

Instead it just burns away the latest form and sends her back to the 'Crow' style goth.  Picture it like in Dragon Ball Z when Perfect Cell vomits someone of power and de-evolves.

Anyways, Kara's ultimate cure apparently takes place in Hell Arisen #4, a book I didn't purchase and can't get to easily given the recent pandemic. Maybe that is for the better.

Look this book is a mess, an afterthought for the DCU and a poison pill for Supergirl fans.

Time to dust off the Gates/Igle trades!

Overall grade: D


Anonymous said...

I don't think there's anything left to say, Anj. You've covered all points.

This issue is garbage, to the point that we aren't sorry about Supergirl's book getting cancelled. And we shouldn't ever be glad that Supergirl is losing her monthly.

This story arc must be easily the worst Supergirl's storyline since 1959. I mean, what are the runner-ups?

Crappy romances with Comet, Derek and other creeps during the Silver Age? Easily forgotten with little long-term damage.

Joe Kelly's run? Recently I forced myself to sit those issues in order to write accurate summaries for the Wiki, and even those stories had "some" redeeming qualities. For example, in issue 19 Kara gets worried about Sarah, that bullying victim Kara met in isue #10, so Kara checks on her... and it turns out Sarah is doing fine thanks to Supergirl. She took Kara's "Be yourself" speech to heart and started to fight her bullies back.

This "Infected" storyline is terrible and harmful to the character.

"Anyways, Kara's ultimate cure apparently takes place in Hell Arisen #4"

I put myself through that issue to find out what happened to Supergirl. Allow me help you save your money:

Lex stabs TBWL with some kind of "cure", and his infection wears off. The Infected return to normal.

Supergirl has some lines: "You... got inside my head. You made me do horrible things..." (eyes flashing red) "Justice League, together! Get that monster and Luthor!"

Is she acting as a leader all of sudden? Curious.

Not that it matters because Lex teleports himself and TBWL away for more Lex/TBWL/Perpetua nonsense. At the end, TBWL allies himself with Perpetua, and she casts Lex out.

Garbage story, in my opinion, and I find insulting the heroes weren't strong enough to fight the infection off, and had to be saved by Lex. Who in turn was outplanned by TBWL.

I really hate that character.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your review and I agree with the former poster. This is the worst Supergirl arc since the creation of the character. I don't want to be a gatekeeper, but I think it is fair to say that whatever this is, it isn't Supergirl. If I asked people for Supergirls defining traits, you will find no overlap here. If I ask people for the defining traits of a Supergirl COMIC you will find no overlap here.

I will go so far as to say that DC should publicly retcon the whole arc. There is nothing to be gained from keeping this arc in Kara's canon. There is everything to gain from letting this fade into obscurity and never mention it again.

Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

I agree with you, this arc is horrible. Supergirl deserves a best story, like a little cruise ship with Batgirl to begin.

I am not the only who wants true friendship and not a fight between friends, is not it ?

Question, what the color of eyes of Krypto ? for me, all life on krypton is created by kryptonian, this nuance of blue is the sign of belonging of House of El. So Jor, Zor, Kal, Kara and Krypto have the same color of eyes.

Anonymous said...


I think you are too easy on Houser and Stott. Editorial didn't dictate every beat. Like listening in on everyone's fears of her in Smallville - Houser worked out that plot progression. Editorial also didn't design Supergirl's sheep-dog hair and long nails - Stott designed that. Artists design things; editorial approves them. This was terrible. So was the original look, which Stott inherited.

Can Supergirl's reputation be restored in 2 more issues? (I'm assuming those 2 issues will be published in some form despite the current unsettled state of the comic book industry.) She's currently public enemy #1.

Houser therefore has one more shot, and of course she already wrote it months ago. I have assumed, and been vocal about it from the start, that she has no pride in any of it, since she has never referenced it except to tweet when an issue is published.

If all is forgiven in 2 issues - that's just hard to believe. The heroes will know what happened, but can the US military that just went after her let it go that fast? They'll stop hunting her?

Maybe she lays low and hangs out with Ben Rubel. He's been kept around by DC for a very long time (like as Titans' tech guy). But I'm assuming there was a plan to use him again, and that's probably assuming too much.

She can be a hero while staying secret at the same time, just like Silver Age Supergirl did at first. With a robot and lots of underground tunneling.

Or maybe she leaves and hangs out with Z'andr.

All of these are plausible conclusions, but I wonder if any would be gratifying to fans?

Or maybe she has S.T.A.R. labs sent her to some alt earth where she can start fresh.

Or, feeling guilty, has them send her to the phantom zone.

If Kandor is back (is it?), she can move in. I didn't read Batman/Superman yet.

Or moves to Zod's planet. If it wasn't destroyed in Batman/Superman.

Or follows the path Matrix did when she went into exile in space.

Obviously I'm depressed.


Anonymous said...

There's also the option that they kill her off. After these last months I have little faith in DC to write themselves out of this hole without just ending it all in the laziest way possible.

Martin Gray said...

TN, I’d just opt for never mentioning the whole sorry mess again. Next time Supergirl shows up she’s living in Metropolis and hanging out with Silver Banshee. And Streaky, Krypto and Judy the lollipop moppet.

As for how much the writer and artist are responsible, we really can’t know, but this issue the instruction seems to have been ‘tread water and point readers towards Hell Arisen #4’ - Kara starts the issue in an even stupider mode then winds up back where she was before the end of last issue.

Thanks for bothering with this Anj, I could not find the heart, hence my Twitter three-word review, ‘Buy something else’.

Anonymous said...

If the pandemic ever ends how about we get a good lawyer and sue DC for "Audience Abuse?" If we win the case maybe we can force them to render up the copyright and trademark and we can form a consortium to publish A REAL Supergirl Comic, Starring The Maid of Might...Supergirl.
And in this book, Judy the super lollipop moppet will have an honored place...
The book absolutely deserves to be cancelled, its been a train wreck for 2 years...time to cut our losses, I just hope DC doesn't do anything stupid like kill her off...


Professor Feetlebaum said...

Maybe Wonder Woman meant that Kara didn't want to be alone in her infected state-that THAT was her motivation in wanting to infect others like herself. Misery loves company?

Along those same lines, I think the Batman Who Laffs was saying that no one would accept Supergirl as a hero in her infected condition.

So "Hope, Help and Compassion For All" is now Krypto's motto?

Supergirl's "I have to do this myself" made me think of those Anacin commercials that ran on TV circa 1963. A woman cooking dinner would blow up at her elderly mother who tried to help-"Mother, PLEASE! I"D RATHER DO IT MYSELF!!!" Then the announcer would come on: "Control yourself...sure you have a headache. You're tense...irritable. But don't take it out on your mother." Allan Sherman referenced these commercials on his album "My Son the Nut".

Yes, bring back Streaky and Judy the Lollipop Moppet! This whole arc was a hoax, a dream, an imaginary story!

Flying into the sun for a cure seemed a little extreme. Maybe a little chicken soup?

Anonymous said...

I want Linda Lee Danvers to wake up from the worst nightmare of her life, throw on some lipstick ,dash to make the trolley car and start her day at KSF-TV...1971, fan service and beat beats this S**T like a gong.
Bring back the red slippers!


Rob S. said...

My sympathies, Anj.

I'm not the kind of Supergirl fan you are, and dropped this book like a hot rock when it went off in the "Infected" direction. (And had been considering dropping it anyway, as my enthusiasm was waning.) But I remember feeling this way with the Flash. Only twice in my 40+ years of comics reading have I dropped that book -- due to the awful treatment of Bart Allen when he took over the title, and then, later, at the tail end of the Venditti/Booth run, which I just found no joy in. (I since have bought a trade paperback of that final storyline, which I still haven't read.)

Flash is in much better hands now, and I hope Supergirl soon will be as well. She deserves it.

Ben said...

As far as I know (I haven't exactly been going out of my way to buy all these "Infected" titles, especially with - appropriately enough - a pandemic on the rampage), Supergirl has been the only one among the Infected heroes to make a concentrated effort to cure herself, rather than simply waiting for Batman or Superman or Lex to do the job for her. So, at least she has THAT much going for her. I'm doing my best to pick out the positives in an overwhelmingly negative situation.

Like ANJ already noted, Krypto has inadvertently become the real hero of this title, now more than ever. His scenes with the villainized Kara are adorable in a "Max & Grinch" kind of way, to the point where I wish their relationship had been the driving force behind issues #37-#40, and not all this baloney about Kara trying to contaminate Smallville. Poor Krypto looks so lost and confused in this issue. He's turned into the audience surrogate for Supergirl fans everywhere. If that was Houser's intent, it's almost brilliant in a subversive kind of way.

Aaron said...

I can't get out to buy this comic; I've ordered it online but all non-essential businesses are closed, so I'm now a few quid down and no sign of any comic. :(
I know I'm clearly not missing much, but I'd still like the remaining couple of issues for my collection. Though that's looking quite doubtful now.