Thursday, December 3, 2020

Back Issue Box: Supergirl #33

I sometimes worry that I need to rebrand my blog since I don't have much current Supergirl stuff to write about. Can I call this a Supergirl site when most of what I cover is Superman and Leviathan?

I never wanted this site to be an index site either. I didn't want to methodically go through Supergirl's stories here. Instead, I wanted to use current stories as a springboard to look back at her history. 

I was struck recently that Rogol Zaar is back in the pages of the Legion of Super-Heroes. He made quite a splash when Brian Michael Bendis introduced him in Man of Steel. And Zaar became a focal point of Supergirl's story with Marc Andreyko with Kara becoming the 'Mistress of the Axe' and heading into deep space to research Zaar's origins.

I also have been intrigued with Synmar Utopica in the Superman book as he seems to be judging Superman.

Both of those vibes resonated with me when I recently re-read Supergirl #33 during the Peter David 'Earth Angel' run. 

'Above a Murmur' was written by Peter David with art by Jason Orfalas. 

This was at a time where Supergirl was just settling into her knowledge of being an Earth Angel but wasn't sure of all she could do. She also was still learning the history of these beings and where her place was in the angelic world. 

Now I will tell you up front there is a fair amount of padding in this issue, no pun intended. But there also were some clues and information about Earth Angels that made it very interesting at the time.

We start off with Supergirl dreaming. But these are true visions of Leesburg as she sees her friends and family sleeping in their beds. But then she wakes and is confronted by Cassandra, the prophetess we met back in the Millennium Giants crossover issue

The opening dream sequence and even Cassandra isn't really necessary. They don't add much to the story other than Cassandra dropping this prophecy.

Murmur is coming.

And beware of Ember. I covered Ember's part in this series 10 years ago!

But other than this foreshadowing, not much is added in this scene.

Before Supergirl can question Cassandra more, she is called away by screams for help.

Remember, this is the middle of the night. The world is sleeping. 

Supergirl flies up to see a woman trying to leave a car and being stopped by a man who is grabbing her.

When Supergirl flies up and throttles the man,  the woman complains. Yes, the two were having a fight. But she didn't need super-help.

This whole scene feels a little backwards and off-putting, especially now. Should Supergirl have not intervened? Left this woman in the hands of this guy? How was Supergirl supposed to know it wasn't a big deal when the woman screamed for help? And what does that tell readers? 

Plus, again, this just felt like something to fill pages. 

The next day, Linda's friend Cutter shows up with Elisabeth Perske, a patron of the arts.

It is a nice call back to this Supergirl's prior life as only Matrix. Perske was Supergirl's mentor back then and will have a small role in this Linda's life as well.

One thing I did love about Peter David's run was how he incorporated or updated all the mythos of Supergirl in all her incarnations. 

But that meeting is interrupted by the arrival of Murmur.

We really don't know anything about him. He fuses a raven and a lion to make his steed. He shows up to fight Supergirl. But his fight with her is because he knows her to be an Earth Angel. And he is definitely working for the Carnivore.

I do think that he has some sort of rules of engagement and combat. This formal opening to the melee is interesting.

Initially it seems Supergirl is completely overmatched by Murmur. Her flame vision and psychokinetic blasts are just shrugged off. And both he and his steed are able to hurt her.

In fact, at one point, Supergirl's left shoulder is wrenched so violently it dislocates. 

At that same time, Andy Jones/Comet is in Las Vegas doing a stand-up comedy act when she feels sever pain in her shoulder.

There is clearly a connection between the two. 

So we heard of Ember. Now we see a significant connection between Supergirl and Comet. This is how slowly David revealed this new angelic mythos. As a reader who loves mysteries and foreshadowing, I ate this up.

And we get even more sprinkles of new knowledge. Murmur seems to know a lot about Earth Angels talking vaguely about how beloved they are by God but how they are 'transient'. 

What does it all mean.

It seems that Supergirl is going to lose this fight but then she lets anger take over. We see that her angelic wings seems a bit more bat-like in appearance. That is also a nice little clue that we have been seeing evolve in front of our eyes.

While enraged, she actually implies that she might kill Murmur.

You can see on his face that his bravery and confidence is shaken. The idea that she might become a fallen angel just to be rid of him shakes his resolve.

And with that, he actually is pretty easily defeated. He is removed from his steed and thrown to Earth from their sky combat. He then disappears.

As we have seen, that anger of Supergirl's will ultimately lead her into significant trouble.

But I had to chuckle on my reread. While Murmur disappears, his armor and his axe stay.

Supergirl is glad that she got a cool battle axe. 

She was going to be the Mistress of the Axe again! Or before!

But it dissolves.

Overall this isn't a major issue in this run other than to sow some seeds of future stories. But I did really like the overall slow build of this series. As readers we learned all about what this new Supergirl was along with her. There really was a feeling of history and legend to it.

And we almost had an axe wielding Supergirl again, for the first time!

Overall grade: B


Steve said...

Don't rebrand. Just add 'etc' to the corner of the box that says Supergirl

H said...

I agree- the vast majority of posts are Supergirl related. Plus, you're still putting the word out there about Supergirl, which you've said was one of your main reasons for creating the blog.