Monday, May 4, 2020

A Little Bit Of Kandor: Candor Pt 3 Supergirl #8

Welcome to my review of Supergirl #9, the third part of the Candor storyline I am covering.

After two issues, the Greg Rucka era on this Supergirl title ended. I would love to talk to Rucka at some point to see if this was always planned to be a brief run or if he had editorial differences or other opportunities that led him to leave.

But Supergirl #9 is the beginning of the Joe Kelly run on the book. For me, Kelly's run is the worst run for this character. That took me by surprise. After all, Kelly wrote 'What's so funny about Truth Justice and the American Way' in Action Comics #775, one of the better looks at Superman remaining an inspirational hero in a cynical world.

Instead of giving us a heroic Supergirl, learning the ropes on Earth, he gives us a petulant child, an angry and angsty young woman who only cares about herself. He made her a violent person, a killer on Krypton. And his portrayal of her was hypersexual. It certainly isn't any type of Supergirl that I want to read. And at times it is downright creepy.

The art on this issue leans into that portrayal. We start with the cover by Joe Benitez who gives us a Power Girl defining pulchritude. The internal art by Ron Adrian isn't as overt. Adrian brings a decent take on Kara, Karen, and the weird Kandor.

But this story can't end soon enough. And as you will see, it ends abruptly and rather terribly. On to this book!

Last issue ended with Kara kissing her cousin Kal-El, his hand cupping her bottom.

This issue starts with an edict by this Kal-El. All the citizens of Kandor will join in a celebration he is planning. And part of the celebration is crushing the growing alien rebellion by very publicly executing Power Girl. Even if the aliens don't want to join, they are being forced to under gunpoint.

We see Karen captured, chained, her Nightwing uniform again ripped to recreate her classic 'boob window'.

Now alone, I might say that this is okay. After all, Power Girl was captured by the bad guys. They would put her in chains. But in the context of all the overly sexual imagery here, this feels like a bondage piece.

As for Kara, she is with Saturn Queen, the real baddie revealed at the end of last issue.

This whole scene is weird. Kara is oddly passive as she sports a gown for her wedding night with Kal-El. Given Saturn Queen is the villain, you knew it would be mind control.

We know how Saturn Queen is doing this. But the real question is why is Saturn Queen doing this.

Why have Kara marry Kal? What does that get her?
Why pretend she is Kal's mother? Why not set herself up as Queen with him as King? I don't get it.

And do we really need a plot of a 16 year old girl marrying her late 20's first cousin??

While Supergirl primps and plans to visit her beloved, Saturn Queen decides to gloat over her prisoner.

It turns out that there is some story where a younger Saturn Queen is insulted by an older Power Girl? Or maybe that is in a prior continuity?

But I love how Power Girl, ever defiant, says she hates time travel stories!

Now comes the grosses part of this book.

Kara heads down to see Kal. He is standing before her naked, getting juiced up by yellow sun ray lamps.

When Kara asks if they would give her strength, he says he hopes so.

Because he wouldn't want to break her on their wedding night.

That's right, in this comic an adult male is implying that he plans to have such violent sex with the 16 year old title character that she'll need super-powers to not be injured.

I mean, that is reprehensible.

But his comment about how it would kill him if he broke her triggers all of her memories again, the 'kill Kal-El' mission Zor-El sent her on. She imagines all the ways she would hurt this Kal-El.

Because that is what we want to see in a Supergirl book as a fan, images of her killing Superman.

Saturn Queen is quite loyal to her 'son' Kal-El.

She rushes to Kal's side and gives us some exposition.

In the context of Infinite Crisis, somehow Ultraman from Earth 3 and Saturn Queen from some continuity ended up on Kandor. And immediately she used her powers to influence him into believing he was her son and set up Kal as ruler.

It feels like an inexplicable set of events and coincidences. Why in the universe remapping did they end up on Kandor? And again, why make him into her son?

It seems a bit out of the blue.

And then this turn of events, again making me think no one making this book actually liked Supergirl.

Kara complains that Saturn Queen was in her mind. And the Queen comments that Kara's mind is filled with filth, the worst she's seen.

That's right. Saturn Queen, a murderous villain not above setting up a fascist regime built on genocide and slavery, finds Supergirl's mind to be disgusting.

Because that's what Supergirl fans want, a 'hero' who is repulsive to villains.

At the very least, this whole scene shakes Kara out of the mind-controlled doldrums.

She heads to the chopping block to stop Power Girl from being beheaded.

And the two team up to beat up Ultraman.

In the middle of that fight, the aliens rise up leading to a brawl in the streets.

But that mental coding by Zor-El flares up again.

Kara seems ready to bring a killing blow against Ultraman.

I mean she almost killed a street thug two issues ago. So why not kill Ultraman.

Because Supergirl fans want a Kara that's a killer, right?

And then, perhaps the craziest part of this rather horrible story.

Saturn Queen says she will give Kara information about Argo City is Supergirl spares Ultraman and leaves.

And Kara does just that. With the streets aflame and a civil uprising spilling into the streets, Kara listens to the villain and leaves, dragging Power Girl with her.

That's right! She leaves  the aliens of Kandor to themselves. For all we know, Saturn Queen and Ultraman regain their foothold and slaughter the aliens.

That really isn't what a hero would do or should do? We already.

But this is a selfish Kara. She got her information. So she doesn't care what happens to the downtrodden and threatened. She doesn't care about this revolution.

And so closes Candor.

I should have known, after 8 pretty abysmal issues, that DC had a very different take on Supergirl than I did. Not only is she a killer, she doesn't care about anyone but herself. Add to that the sexualization of our underage star and you have nothing to cheer for.

I suppose much of this can be blamed on editor Eddie Berganza. The less said about him the better.

I have a couple of more posts to round out this storyline. Then we all can forget it once more.

Overall grade: F


Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

Saturn Queen is the same charater who changed continuity to adopt superman and batman ? where superman kills green arrow with his heat vision ?

I hope a best futur for supergirl, i cant' wait to read the houe of Kent.

Anonymous said...

I really think Kelly's run started with #7 and Rucka had little to do with it, or at least not with the cliff-hanger kiss. If he'd plotted that kiss, he'd have had at least some ideas for #8, and gotten some credit for it. But he got none.

Also, checking the old solicitations - Supergirl #7 orders were cancelled and the issue resolicited. There were also delays between #5 and #6, and #6 and #7. Suggests creative problems.

"Why in the universe remapping did they end up on Kandor?"

There are some really vague explanations offered.

In #7 Ultraman narrates that he was lost in the Phantom nothing, until he found Kandor.

And in #8, Saturn Queen narrates that they were in the Phantom Zone, a "nexus of realities: all whens and whys." Then landed here in Kandor.

If you redefine the Phantom Zone as that kind of "place," then you can can wind up anywhere.

French fan - yes, apparently that is Saturn Queen. There's a bio of Saturn Queen that goes into that and offers an interesting explanation for why Saturn Queen alters Ultraman into thinking she's his mother. Basically, she misses her son!

I guess we aren't supposed to think too hard about these things, but just be distracted by the outrageous spectacle.


Martin Gray said...

This story was repulsive on every level. Just press the Mopee Button.

Anonymous said...

I don't posit any "creative problems" on this particular run, I do this DC editorial had a surfeit of bad ideas regarding Supergirl to chose from, and they wanted to make sure they picked the worst.
And by Golly they did...
So did Kara leave PG to sort out the massacre in Kandor? If so you'd think that might've lead to a rift between the two heroines, but then this is DC "having no continuity is continuity" to paraphrase the Late Bruce Lee.


Nancy Northcott said...

This sounds...really awful. You’re making me not sorry I missed it.