I knew I'd love it, but it's the issue I've been dreading - Power Girl #12, the last hurrah by creators Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts (I haven't heard that the book's fine regular letterer John J Hill is leaving, but if so, thank you too!).
A day in the life of Power Girl, The Little Things is the perfect capper to DC's most consistently high quality superhero book of the last year - a veritable Power Girl's greatest hits (I said HITS!).
With thoroughly original storylines featuring engaging new characters and clever new takes on existing characters, it's been a refreshing read, month in, month out. I described Peege in an earlier review as the Mary Tyler Moore of the superhero set and I stand by that - she's the funny, warm friend you welcome into your home, often bemused by the odder folk around her but always willing to give them a chance. And everywhere she goes, she makes friends.
We're reminded of that here as would-be teen blackmailer Fisher shows up and we see how Peege helped him turn himself around; there's a return visit by cosmic love god Vartox, as bumptiously narcissistic as ever and with a rather fearsome friend in tow; Atlee, aka teen superheroine Terra, shares her feelings with Karen in a surprisingly literal way, then introduces Peege to her lovely parents; the space brats from Vega 9 and their cute bodyguard show their appreciation for Kara helping them set up home on Earth after a somewhat bumpy beginning.
It's feelgood stuff, but not at all icky - a perfectly pitched scene between the evil Satanna and the eeevil Dr Sivana adds a nice touch of sour while tidying up their subplot nicely. And while the evil Ultra-Humanite is getting another shot at living a decent life courtesy of subterranean technology, anyone who read last month's issue knows he ain't going to take it.
Oh, and there's one more scene, a pageful of panels in which Karen finally names that darn cat (click to enlarge). And I rather like the one writers Gray and Palmiotti plump for - unless I'm completely barking (miaowing?) mad, I suggested it to the talented Mr Palmiotti on Facebook. Made my day, that.
If any single sequence can encapsulate the appeal of this run, this is it - it's pure charm as the smart dialogue complements the adorable art of Conner, so beautifully coloured by Mounts, to create magic. Every page of this issue - of every issue - is so filled with delightful detail, whether it's foreground expressions or background business, that you could enjoy the series without dialogue. Factor in the scripts of Gray and Palmiotti, though, and we're talking bona fide classic, one of the finest runs I can remember, and one of the finest I'll ever see.
I'm going to miss this creative team so much. They've redefined Kara for the 21st century, moving her forward from stroppy, self-pitying soul to everywoman, the most human of DC's superhumans. She can still lose her rag, but when she does, it's justified, she doesn't do excessive force and she tries to understand her foes. This book has emphasised her brains, and her heart. And maybe the odd set of fleshy melons ...