Monday, April 1, 2024

Review: Power Girl #7

Power Girl #7 came out last week, another cutesy, disjointed take on 'Paige', a character that is supposed to be the Power Girl I have known and love for most of my life.

Last issue, writer Leah Williams brought Power Girl and Supergirl to Ferimbia, a mystical fairy tale land in another dimension. That was something of an issue with some fun potential that was wasted. Thankfully, this arc is only two issues, the story wrapping up here.

Here is what I'll say. If you have a long, solid run on a book with a good interpretation of the character, I am more apt to tolerate a two issue cutesy storyline. Just like if you have a solid run with a good interpretation of the character, I am more apt to tolerate a 'silent', 'through the eyes of the pet' cutesy issue as well.

The problem is that this is not a solid run with a good interpretation, And only 7 issues in we have had a silent 'through the eyes of a pet' issue AND a two part cutesy, other world story. That is three off-brand issues out of seven. Too much, too soon, not earned.

This issue also has similar problems that I have had with prior ones on this run. There are too many silly moments about food. There is an insert character who basically saves the day instead of the heroes. (In this case, since Omen isn't around to bail out the title character, we get a new 'Omen' instead.) Even though we are in a fantasy world, there are too many forced 'slice of life' moments. And what could have been an interesting focus of the story (comparing and contrasting Kara from 'Paige') is given exactly one moment.

As I said before, this whole thing reads like Williams wanted to do a Ferimbia story and shoved Power Girl and Supergirl into it.

Marguerite Sauvage is on art here but we aren't treated to her usual style. Since we are in a fantastic, silly fairy tale world, Sauvage gives her art a more cartoony polish. 

But here is the worst thing about this issue. I thought it was going to be my last. But the upcoming issues are tie-ins to House of Brainiac. So looks like I am going to stick around for a bit more. Every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in.

Look, this comic is going to get a bad grade. But if you want to see particulars of the issue, read on.

This story only happens because of a bunch of crazy events which bring us there. Perhaps because they are too insane to actually show, we are told them in a bunch of silhouetted storybook pages. 

How did we get to this point?
The evil sorceress controlling everyone is Avice Stanislava, a mean girl intrigued by insect behavior.

Event 1: As a college professor, she did mind control experiments on her students. She was caught by Superman but allowed to go free because (and I'm not kidding) he didn't want to persecute a woman in STEM like society does. So Superman lets the villain go.
Event 2: This is the scientist Streaky stopped 2 issues ago. Stanislava escapes in a rocket into space.
Event 3: Queen Adrosis, the benevolent ruler of Ferimbia somehow detects Stanislava and brings her to Ferimbia. She even gives Stanislava a powerful magical item, a Path Amulet that allows transdimensional travel.
Event 4: Stanislava somehow realizes that she can incorporate magic into her insect mind control science, creates a magical crown that she puts on Adrosis. This puts Adrosis into a coma and drains Adrosis' magic into Stanislava.
Event 5: Using this, Stanislava enslaves all Ferimbia but wants more, so creates the Avalon drug to bring people from Earth to her.

All I can say is that is a lot of circumstances just stated without any way I can muddle through.

Why would Superman think Stanislava should be free?
Of all the spaceships in the DCU cosmos flying around, why did Adrosis grab Stanislava?
Why give Stanislava a powerful amulet?
How did Stanislava just 'include' magic into her science? How did she create a crown to drain and subdue? 
Why get more slaves?

The very infrastructure of the story is ludicrous.

And yes, I know I read this book about aliens who shoot lasers out of their eyes. But this plot is foolish. All these things had to happen inanely to bring us here.

Thus endeth this rant.

Even though this whole world is enslaved, our heroes still can complain about walking though. 

And even though they are there to stop an all-powerful evil sorceress, they thinking walking down the road makes sense.

Luckily, they stumble onto a small pocket of rebels. Enter the awesome ancillary character who must be better than our heroes.

Epione Pruxis, the storyteller ... and probable self-insert. Epione stays clear of the magic mind control and helps raise the free-willed children.

Let's have some cute moments!

One kid talks about how much he likes 'pelk', the equivalent of milk from the winged magical creatures. Another hits Power Girl in the cleavage with a pretend flail.
The heroes wonder if these 'mudrin' have nipples. 
We learn a group of mudrin is called a choir.

I suppose this is funny to some people. But it fell flat here.

I don't read Power Girl books, or super-family books, for this stuff.

The heroes get a makeover and hear that beginning story all over again.

The magic helm on Adrosis' head needs to be destroyed. And the Path Amulet needs to be destroyed.

The two decide to split up, even though the entire population are warriors for Stanislava.

Wouldn't destroying the helm break the spell alone? Wouldn't it be better to stick together? 

Sit down.

Here is the one good moment in the book.

Supergirl, dressed as a knight, has a moment of heroic contemplation as she tries to figure out how they can create a distraction.

Power Girl decides to run into action as the distraction.

Okay! Finally a little 'compare and contrast'! 

But see how everything is cutesy. While Kara thinks, we get the chibi 'Paige' strutting in the background with emojis.

Supergirl is overwhelmed by the enslaved drones and can't get to the Queen. 

But look! Even though just pages earlier Epione said she couldn't join the heroes because she'd succumb to the evil magic, she shows up to save Supergirl! Because Supergirl can't be the hero on her own. And of course, Epione can't succumb ...

And we get more nipple and 'choir of mudrin' talk. Because maybe I'll laugh if I read it again.

Supergirl destroys the helm.

Adrosis wakes and revokes the path amulet. (I guess they didn't need to split up!)

Blink and you miss it but Power Girl smashes the amulet even though she is powerless on this world.

Turns out some Earthlings would rather live in Ferimbia so don't return. Because it is a magical safe place for dreamers and yearners.

And of course Epione gets the last word.

I think I have said enough. 

Overall grade: F


Anonymous said...

You forgot the moment the Comedy character tells Paige "Nice pelkers." Just how many titty jokes are enough in 32 pages?

When Omen or Epione aren't being the self-inserts, PG herself is. I can't help but wonder if Williams was interested in writing PG primarily because she is herself also exceptionally well endowed.


Martin Gray said...

This just sounds dire, I’m not even seeing what the ‘joke’ around mudrins and nipples is. And Sauvage does that thing with faces that are just Ragdoll heads on smaller panels, forgetting ten per cent of us are reading digitally. Just put this book out of our misery, DC, or find a writer who actually wants to write the featured characters and knows how to plot a story.

PrydefulHunts said...

Does DC know the market for their readers? I don't know anyone who would want YA fantasy from Power Girl of all characters. What a total story mismatch, alongside creative team mismatch.

Anonymous said...

I guess I could run my usual bit about Supergirl being "jobbed out" in Powergirl's book...but quite frankly it's Powergirl who is the jobber here...a new low from DC Comics quite frankly. This particular story is at least an excellent example of how a narrative can be cloyingly precious and mindnumbingly boring all at the same time.
I this book will be canceled before the end of the year, like all the other attempts at doing a PG solo book...but DC just doesn't seem to assimulate that data very well.


Anonymous said...

Warning, long rant ahead...

So Leah Williams creates a new, original villain for Power Girl...and immediately connects them to Superman. Williams discarded every facet of Power Girl's character-her personality, her history, her job, her connections with other heroes, and even her name-and couldn't even give her her own villain. Everything about "Paige" is defined solely by her connection to Superman. She's been reduced from a hero to Superman's sidekick-because that's all Williams knows about her. A complete disservice to a decades-long established character who, in her very first appearance, refused to be defined by her connection to Superman and instead forged her own path as her own hero.

Power Girl wasn't allowed to defeat the symbioship-the villain that has an actual connection with her-but is allowed to defeat Avice, a literal nobody. Overcoming the symbioship's control would have given "Paige" character development and symbolized her moving on from her past trauma (even though she did that multiple times already) of course, Omen, who has no connection to it whatsoever, defeats it effortlessly and denies "Paige" any sort of closure, making all her moping for naught. If Omen was suckered into this fantasy land, I wouldn't be surprised if she stopped the villain and saved the day again. At least, it would've made more sense for her to stop some filler villain than a symbolic villain with connections to the actual protagonist.

The "pelkers" joke fell flat. It's an obvious callback to the numerous "jokes" made about Power Girl's 'above-average physique'-but both Karas are drawn exactly the same. And is a YA fantasy setting really the most appropriate place for such crude jokes?

The jokes and the "adorkable" personality Williams has foisted onto "Paige" here gives me the impression that she's attempting to call back to Power Girl's actual characterization-but it doesn't work. Here, Supergirl is the wise, mature, experienced woman and "Paige" is practically a careless teenager. Recklessness and naivety are no substitute for confidence and maturity.

The only commendation I can give this issue is that Leah moved the spotlight away from Omen, Streaky and Supergirl long enough for "Paige" to finally contribute to the plot by breaking Avice's key. Which is damning with faint praise, since it shouldn't take the title character seven issues to finally make the tiniest sort of impact on the plot in her own book.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

One more reason to be thankful that I never bought this series. I do like the image of Supergirl as a knight. Marguarite Sauvage is a very talented artist, especially in her non cartoony work. DC needs to pair her with someone who can actually write a compelling story instead of a self-indulgent trainwreck.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

I haven't heard too many (if any) good reviews of this book as a whole.

Glad I'm not alone!

Anonymous said...

The good reviews of this series seem to be from sites that rate everything 8 or above. I just don’t get it. This series is not good. What’s a Power Girl fan to do?!?!

Matthew Lloyd

Anonymous said...

At one point, Avice tells Power Girl she's a woman in STEM, to which PG retorts that she's also a woman in STEM-which would make more sense if this were Karen Starr, computer engineer and owner of her own tech company and not "Dr. Paige Stetler", mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper. It's a hollow reference that feels more like a spit in the face, taunting us with what could and should have been instead of what we got.

Anj said...

There is a lot to be confused about with this book.

It isn't a PG book.

Such a bummer.