Supergirl #42 review

As a fella who gets bored with 'iconic' covers - heroes posing, nothing to do with any specific issue - I have to commend Joshua Middleton for trying something different this month. We have Supergirl travelling from Earth to New Krypton, a moment reflected inside, zooming over our heads. Even without being able to see her face, Supergirl is recognisable, and the glowing baby planet, red sun rising, looks gorgeous. And Middleton might have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that pesky logo. If ever there was a time to shrink it down, or move it to the right hand side, this is it. I've included the logoless cover here for comparison.

Inside, Sterling Gates writes, Jamal Igle pencils and Supergirl wins. This book gets better by the month and as of this issue, especially the final pages, it's safe to say that these guys own this character. There;s so much to like: Major Sam Lane's links to Sgt Rock, not entirely unpredictable in a shared universe but used to deepen the character of someone who badly needed shading; a nod to one of the weirdest Superman storylines ever in Lois's notion that the Parasite might have been impersonating sister Lucy; the reporter's reliance on her professional talents to help her maintain some control until she lets herself feel her pain in Lucy's apartment; one of the most natural-sounding exposition scenes I've seen in the Science Police sequence.

Kara's resolve during her confrontation with Lois is well-conveyed - yes, she feels bad that Lucy is apparently dead, but she's not throwing herself on the mercy of the court . . . Lucy, the murderous Superwoman, brought it on herself.

The relationship between Lana and Kara continues to develop, giving Supergirl the anchor she needs on Earth. The final scene, with Kara stating her position as she flies to New Krypton, is perfect. She's through being emotionally bullied by her mother, while accepting that she's as much a daughter of Krypton as she's become one of Earth. She's the Supergirl of two worlds and ready to do what she can for both. The girl has grown so much since the current creative team came on board and I hope they stay a long while.

Jamal Igle's facial work is a joy, with easily readable emotions everywhere. And look at the body language in these panels - Kara determined, then sad, Lana thoughtful and poised. His action sequences aren't so shabby either, especially as finished by Jon Sibal. Mind, while they generally give great exteriors and interiors, they don't half give Lois one uncomfortable-looking couch. I like the red, though. That's the work of regular colourist Nei Ruffino, who should send her colour guides to every DC colourist as a lesson in how to make comic book hair - in this case, Lois's - black without looking grey. Who needs blue?

While Supergirl's book is tied to the rest of the Superman line via the New Krypton conceit, it's not inextricably so. If you've not tried an issue, take a look.