Monday, 26 October 2009

Power Girl #6

There are no boob jokes this month, which is how it should be as by now it's obvious Power Girl's biggest asset is her gift for friendship. If Mary Tyler Moore were a Kryptonian, she'd be Power Girl. For Peege is the single woman trying to make a new start in the big city while juggling personal life and career.

Make that careers, as superheroing is as important to Kara-L/Karen Starr as making a success of her tech firm. And she may not state the fact, but Karen is all about doing the best by people - everywhere she goes she treats folk well, be they cop, colleague, cad or cat.

The punch-first, think-later Power Girl of the Seventies is long gone; this is a mature hero, ready to give someone a chance to explain or surrender before bringing powers into play. And that attitude comes with confidence - she's not omnipotent but Peege knows she has enough power and smarts to get most jobs done. Happily, the confidence never morphs into arrogance, as when she needs to, she'll pull in a pal.

One such, the new Terra, Atlee, appears this issue but it's strictly to help out with a trip to Ikea, not to bash villains. Peege tracks down the troublesome rich space girls (trustifaliens?) from last issue alone after their minder, Carl (Carl? There's another story there, I suspect) tells her they're not bad, just irresponsible. She winds up helping them out when they run into gangster trouble in Atlantic City. By the end of the issue Karen's set the trio and Carl up with an Earth life to enjoy until they can return to the Vega system. I've no doubt they'll be back causing chaos before long. I hope so, as the girls are fun and Carl is pleasingly Kirbyesque - short, snub-nosed and scrappy.

This issue also sees Karen meet a potential date, take her cat on a trip and pop to the pictures with Atlee (Fat Guy and the Hot Chick, bound to be huge). All the while, Karen and co are chatting, talking through situations, relationships and just having fun being around each other. This is one of the wordiest comics around, but one of the most fun, with the lively illustrations of Amanda Conner, coloured by Paul Mounts, making every page a visual feast. Whether it's Peege hovering in the air, Karen and cat riding the subway or Carl obviously not keen on heights at Coney Island, it all looks great. Even a fat hood in an animal print thong is an image to savour.

And as great as the foreground incidents is, the background bits of business are a joy too - check out the little story in the back-panels of the ER department here.

While dating looks to be on the horizon, I can't see this book turning into a Sex and the City knock-off as it has a charm, and class, all its own. It likewise has a rhythm unlike any other mainstream hero book. Instead of starting quietly and escalating the action, or beginning with action, looping back to show how we got to that, and cranking up the speed from there, Power Girl's book goes its own way. Dynamism and domesticity come and go as they please. It's not a case of meandering, as Gray, Palmiotti and Conner are totally in control of the pace, it's more about letting the characters dictate where the plot points fall.

At the moment Karen is the most likable hero around and the creative team here are doing right by her, month in, month out. The first trade isn't out until next April but this book is very reader friendly, so if you fancy giving it a try, any month is good. Go on, make friends with Power Girl, you'll be glad you did. Who can turn the world on with a smile? Peege!

3 comments:

  1. Great review. It would be cool if someone made a parody of the opening credits of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" with Power Girl in it.

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  2. Thanks Gene, love the credits idea. Wonder if Terra could have a Rhoda-style spin-off?

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  3. Get someone to write decent, snappy dialogue for the book and we'll talk. Right now the appeal of the book lies squarely with the art. Conner is absolutely fabulous, a genius!!! Let me add some more exclamation points. !!!! Whatever she's getting paid isn't nearly enough. Imagine if the book's dialogue began to approach that level of quality.

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