Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A Little Bit Of Kandor: Candor Epilogue in Supergirl #9

I (sort of) close my long look at the Candor arc in the early run of the 2004 Supergirl series with this brief look at Supergirl #9.

Remember that last issue Supergirl scooped up Power Girl and left Kandor in the middle of an uprising of the alien citizens against the nationalistic Kryptonians. Why did she leave the good fight? Because Saturn Queen gave her some undisclosed information about Argo.

That issue was the first issue for Joe Kelly and, as I have said many times before, I just don't care for Kelly's take on the character. Now it may be that Kelly didn't want anything to do with the Kandor story (remember Greg Rucka started it) and so he simply pulled the plug on the whole thing.

But you can definitely see the direction Kelly was interested in within the pages of this issue. At the very least he addresses the quick exit from Kandor.

Ian Churchill is on art again and he has his style. His Kara looks rail thin and stretched out. That said, I think Churchill would make a dandy Power Girl artist. And if you can look past the sleaze, his stuff has a lot of polish.

We should start with the cover as it also is something of a foreshadow of the darker tone for this book.

Here we see Kara sitting in the dark of space, crying, looking at shattered rocks. Perhaps this is the detritus of Krypton. But this is an homage, really an homage through a mirror darkly.

Because it an homage to All Star Superman #1.

Here a rather peaceful looking Kal is sitting on a cloud in the bright blue sky looking at a sunny horizon. This is a far more optimistic and idyllic image.

But that wasn't meant for Supergirl in the early going of this book.

In the book, Kara has a flashback to a recent skirmish with Power Girl. (By my count this is at least the 5th time in 9 issues that Kara has either fought with or threatened to fight with Karen.)

And Power Girl is pretty unhappy, asking Kara what she did.

Karen recounts what we saw last issue.

There was a bloody riot in the streets and Supergirl flew them off. Karen suddenly found herself normal sized and in the JSA headquarters.

This is not what heroes should do. Karen gave her word to the oppressed aliens that she would help. Her word has to matter. That S-shield has to matter.

But Kara wants nothing to do with it. It wasn't her fight so she quit.

Can you imagine Superman saying those words? Or leaving a battlefield like she did?
Can you imagine Batman saying he quit?

But we can't expect heroics out of Supergirl under this regime.

At least Power Girl gets to keep some integrity.

She doesn't care what Supergirl thinks. Kara was wrong. And maybe Kara can talk herself into believing it was okay to leave that fight, but Karen can't abide by it and takes off.

So our title hero gets scolded for not being heroic. In her own book. Within the first year of her title. And within the first 2 years of her return.

This book was not written out of love for Supergirl.

Because the very next page ...

We see Kara, a 16 year old girl, table dancing in a bar while Captain Boomerang Jr. ogles her. Churchill has her bending and preening provocatively.

And the dialogue is him drooling asking her where she learned to dance like she does. There is a comment about Superman having a key to Wonder Woman's chastity belt.

I feel like this was written or at least edited by someone who has major issues with women.

I'll remind you, reluctantly, that earlier in the book we see Kara drinking and smoking in that bar ... so edgy!!!

Boomerang says he knows a place that doesn't card. Because that's what we want in a Supergirl book, a sleazy adult bringing an underage girl into a bar to drink.

Even worse, Kara says it doesn't matter where they go. She's a girl 'in a tight shirt' so she'll be allowed in anywhere.


It is just absolutely cringe worthy.

After reviewing this story critically and this in depth. I feel I need a shower.

But there is one more brief post wrapping this up completely.

Still, what the hell was DC thinking about this book and its direction?

Overall grade: D-


Martin Gray said...

I reread this when you announced this series of posts. It’s a Berganza book, if memory serves...

And if you can look past the sleaze, his stuff has a lot of polish.’ Now there a compliment...

I understand he may not have been interested, but as a professional Kelly should have ended the Candi story a little better than that.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a way of understand this is that Supergirl was selling quite well at the time, in the top 20 or higher for a long time, selling 100K, so DC kept doing what the market was responding to.

The success also meant she got to be the headliner in a second title already running by Supergirl #4, "Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes" - which offered a different kind of Supergirl for other fans.

The success had started right from the start with the writing and art in Superman Batman.


In the last issue there is a panel near the end where the aliens are cheering. There's some hope that they will prevail. Saturn Queen was thwarted; she says "Kandor is broken;" and her "son" the ruler has been defeated and humiliated. So maybe she'll just leave.

If this is even a real place, and not just some hallucination induced by Saturn Queen.

How did Kara even "learn" that there may be a trail to Argo in here? How did they get in there? How do they get out, and why does Karen just end up in JSA HQ? So many loose ends. It seems like an illusion of some sort.

Trying to find some other good elements:

In the scene with the Kents, Kara seems hurt that Clark never tried to arrange for her to live with them.

The black shirt was Superboy's, and wearing it is I suppose in his honor. And she takes it to heart after the little girl tells her she doesn't belong in black, and switches to white - and gives Cassie the black shirt.

She also did bid Boomer good night. They indulged in some heavy flirting and suggestive talk, but she does draw a line.

Though they went later through a period of not talking (jealousy or something?), in general she and Cassie have a nice friendship that the book returns to many times.

There is some hope. I think there are good interactions with the Kents and Cassie, and does save the little girl.


Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

Anj, can we have a top 10 of the best moment of the rebirth series when the numeros 42 is released ?

Thanks you in advance.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

Anj, You are too kind giving this garbage a D- even if it does have a good Power Girl moment. The only nice thing I can say about this sleaze is that it actually makes her current run look good by comparison. At least the writers for that have managed to leave leering exploitation of the sexuality of an underage girl off the agenda. After the next issue, I dropped Supergirl from my pull list after buying her series regularly from Superman Family #204 on. I didn't start collecting her again, bar the not too bad Countdown crossover issues, until Sterling Gates took over.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

Anj, the following is from Grand Comics Database. It is a link to the page for an ashcan edition from 1944 which represents DC Comics' first use of the Supergirl name and logo. https://www.comics.org/issue/213359/

Anonymous said...

This is a portrait of defeat and despair, in just nine short months Supergirl went from being the Light of the World to a Pathetic Sexualized Pariah...in a company given to epic failures this one stands as one of the most Amazing & Appalling of the 21st Century. And it was such a no-brainer, bring back Cousin Kara, streamline her origin a little (look to the fine work Bruce Timm already did) and VOILA' ya got yourself a back a Legacy Heroine who should've never been extinguished to begin with...Truly DC could "Screw Up a Two Car Funeral".
I do think however our current situation is immeasurably worse, Kara's corrective in 2005 required good writing from a committed creative, these days however we must rescue her from a GothClown Storyline amidst a public health crisis that calls into question the very survival of comic books themselves.
Dark Times indeed, the pictured cover above, much encapsulates my mood.


Professor Feetlebaum said...

The direction this series took was such a disappointment after the promising and upbeat ending to Superman-Batman #12, where Superman introduced his cousin to the other costumed heroes, and Supergirl is saying things like "I'm not sure I've earned the right to use that name or wear this uniform. But I'm hoping with all of your help I'll grow into it!"

After that business with Darkseid, it appeared that Kara was ready to become the hero she was meant to be. Things sure went downhill fast.