Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

I have been blogging about Supergirl for 12 plus years here.

I know ... hard to believe.

During that time, I can't help but notice the cyclical nature of things involving Kara. Mostly, it seems that DC doesn't know what to do with her. Inevitably they lead her down a dark path thinking it will be all grim and moody. Ultimately, that dark path fails and Kara gets a redemption and a cancellation.

How cyclical is this? Well, 2 years ago I posted about it here.

I find it fascinating that DC thinks that a Dark Kara is 'bold' or 'gritty' when it has been done so many times before. Talk about the antithesis is a 'new direction'. I also find it odd that they don't cultivate the 'young hero learning the ropes' theme that seems to work so well for characters like comic darlings Ms. Marvel and Naomi.

And I am baffled that we have a television show with millions of weekly viewers and DC still can't put a book on the market to try and entice those viewers into the comic store. The Kara in the current book hasn't been recognizable for almost 2 years.

But here we are in the repeat part of the 'darken, cancel, repeat' Supergirl cycle. It is a perverse 'lather, rinse, repeat' that has happened too many times over the last decade.

Perhaps saddest of all is the 'redemption' at the end of this volume. Usually we get some sort of 'I choose Earth and I will be a hero' moment. Here, Kara, in essence, says 'Earth isn't Krypton, I don't want to be human or live a human-like life, but I guess I'm stuck here so I'll do stuff.'

Because that sounds like an inspiring young hero you would want to read about.

Usually, as in that link from last year, I bemoan the cancellation saying the book had just righted itself. Here, I am not so sure.

Perhaps craziest about this run is that just 9 months earlier ... 9 months!!!! ... Kara has the 'I choose Earth' moment in her own book. Read these panels from Supergirl #33.

That's right! In a Supergirl book where she is supposedly the protagonist, twice within one year the writer had to make her say out loud that she cared enough about Earth to stick around.

This is insanity.

But also think about the character as a whole and the need for DC to think they need to do this. Imagine if every year or so, they felt Batman needed to say 'Maybe .... I'll .... Gotham.' Imagine if every 9 months Spider-Man said he was going to stay in New York.

It just makes the character feel indecisive, immature, and idiotic. And it makes fans of the character cringe.

But as I was researching this post by reviewing some of my old posts, I came across an oddity that really drove home the cyclical nature of this editorial problem.

This panel is from the prior volume of Supergirl, Supergirl #33, the 7th panel I scanned for my review. In it, writer Tony Bedard has Kara shed darkness (in this case the Red Lantern ring) and choose Earth.

Those panels above by Mark Andreyko and Kevin Maguire? They are also from Supergirl #33 and also the 7th panel I scanned for my review.

Both are in my database as SG33-07, albeit in different folders.


I hope we get a new title with a new creative team who loves the character and doesn't feel the need to do more than bring us heroic stories.

But I am not holding my breath. My guess is DC won't be giving us a Supergirl book for a while.


Martin Gray said...

I miss the day when comic journalists has access to higher-ups at DC and Marvel, and dared ask the awkward questions. I’d ask: ‘if DC Editorial doesn’t hate the classic Supergirl, why is she continually darkened? It’s not like sales ever go up.’

Anonymous said...

"Here, Kara, in essence, says 'Earth isn't Krypton, I don't want to be human or live a human-like life, but I guess I'm stuck here so I'll do stuff.'"

She does say things like that, but in fairness it includes with "But for now... I have work to do." I hope that means this version of Supergirl recognizes she needs to work on some personal growth. I hope it doesn't mean she thinks she has to beat someone else up.

It's kind of megalomania for anyone to think they can show others a better way, let alone someone like her going through turmoil. She's just a kid! She can stand to learn a lot from human heroes. Just because she has powers doesn't mean she is better, obviously. And is Krypton the best role model? It's not an arrogant colonizing civilization that failed to prevent its own global catastrophe through blindness?

Clark has inherent generosity and goodness because of Jonathan and Martha. Being from Krypton doesn't mean you necessarily know a Better Way. It didn't work out so well for Zod. (Zod always thinks he has a better way... but we think he's wrong.)

This is not what you'd want, but given how THIS book has worked out and the ordeal THIS version of Supergirl has just been put through, I think this how the final monologue should read:

"I miss Krypton, but there's nothing I can do about that and I always will. But I have family here, so this is where I belong. I hope I am able to find my way and learn to love this planet like I love my own, regain its trust and find a way to contribute from my best as all good citizens should. But in the meantime, I have work to do."

At least that's honest without being self-aggrandizing.

It's not the heroic send-off, but this Supergirl is not currently that much of a hero.

She helped some people - well, why not? Anyone would help people suffering in a hurricane, to the best of their ability, and she happens to have super abilities! But, she was still suffering from delusions, and they may not have ended yet. She is actually pretty useless without her dog to continually keep her on track. She has work to do!


Anonymous said...

"Rock Bottom Again Kids, Rock Bottom Again..."

this is yet another sad, feeble and ultimately BORING end to another Supergirl book, I am seriously starting to miss that meshugginah 1972 solo book with the new BF every month! I don't think DC should revive her in a comic, there seems to be some undiagnosed resentment towards the character within the corporation. As I've said before DC likes collecting fat fees for licensing Supergirl to TV etc, that doesn't obligate to publish a Supergirl Comic that is worth lining the bottom of a parakeet cage.

I WANT MY MONEY BACK DC!! I'll Be Damned if I Rob My Local LCS (who is running a gofundme campaign now to cover missed rent payments!!) with your digital sh*t!


Professor Feetlebaum said...

I am almost convinced that DC's ultimate goal in all this is to drive Supergirl fans out of their minds. They seem to take sadistic delight in messing with Kara and her fans. I can picture them rubbing their hands together and laughing like Dishonest John in the old Beany and Cecil cartoons.

"Mostly, it seems that DC doesn't know what to do with her."

This has been true, with a few exceptions, since Mort Weisinger retired. The constant changes in jobs, locations and supporting cast throughout the 70s and early 80s didn't help. And since Kara returned in the early 2000s, we've been subjected to more of the same, AND she goes "dark" every 20 minutes!

"...there seems to be some undiagnosed resentment towards the character within the corporation."

DC would deny it, but it sure seems that way. If not, then tell me why they keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Why they ignored her 60th anniversary last year when EVERY OTHER CHARACTER has been or will be celebrated? Why are writers who like and understand the character, like Sterling Gates or Steve Orlando let go? It makes no sense. I would be very interested in hearing DC management defend their actions.

Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

Reading the latest issues, I realize that dc comic has removed all the elements that made supergirl unique.

A super cat named Streaky, lost we don't know where.
Parents Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers, Leviathan divorces them
A small town of Midevale origin and a large National City, supergirl spent more time out of Earth
A work, kara who imitates clarck by choosing journalism to realize that she prefers ciences. It's interesting, I hope she could gradually develop into a businesswoman as a power girl.
Friends like Batgirl, a message or a call from time to time
Amazons, kara is an honorary member. Wonder woman is one of her mentors not a punching bag

I do not understand why dc comic do not develop these aspects. There is enough material to make a good story.