Friday, 25 June 2010

Power Girl #13 review

The opening panel of this debut issue by new creative team Judd Winick and Sami Basri has Karen referring to her complicated past - survivor of a parallel Krypton, and all that. My initial reaction is, give it a rest. That storyline's been done to death, Can't we just ignore the convolutions of Power Girl's past and fly into the future.

As the issue goes on, though, the references prove reasonable - having seen Karen angrier than she's been for years in the current Justice League: Generation Lost series, we're offered an explanation here. After seeing her happiness erased once by the Crisis on Infinite Earths, she's wary that the resurrection of the now-crazed Max Lord - who represented happier times with the League after the trauma of the Crisis - signals the end of her current good times.

The issue flicks back and forth between a Max-hunting sortie to Russia with the Justice Society and the daily doings at Starrware Industries. Both scenarios hold the attention, with Power Girl encountering the ever-annoying Omacs in an inventive tussle, and big problems at the office. Plus, Karen's given a pair of earrings-cum-cellphones-cum-plot device*. Well, I'm assuming friendly inventor Nicholas is up to no good, this being comics.

Winick's script is impressive, with Karen recognisable as the person we've gotten to know over the past year, and her supporting cast present and correct. There's a lot of information conveyed without the story getting bogged down. I'm hoping that said story, so far as it ties in with JL:GL ends here, though. Twenty-six issues is enough to tell the Max Lord story, so now we know where it fits into Power Girl's book, that should be it. Winick's had as many brickbats as bouquets over the years, so if he's smart he'll use his two regular books to tell different stories, show his versatility.

I've been reading Winick for years, I know what he can do (Green Lantern good, Outsiders bad). Sami Basri, though, is a new name to me.

Wow. This art is gorgeous. The people look real, wear modern clothing, move naturally, fight thrillingly. I hate Omacs, when they come on panel, I glaze over. That's impossible here, as Basri takes Winick's script and runs with it, presenting the fight scene as ballsy ballet. It's elegant action all the way, with blasts flying back and forth, great grappling and exciting ankle activity (that sounds pervy, oops). But my favourite sequence flashes back to Max Lord's world-wiping, as Sunny Gho's colour choices add drama to Basri's intelligent design (click to enlarge). Oftimes, painted-style artwork leaves me cold, with artists presenting a series of barely related images rather than panel to panel storytelling. None of that with Basri, though, as he leads us through the issue with ease. Using a black keyline around the figures is a big plus with me, as it seems to say, yup, this is comic art, enjoy.

There's no keyline on the cover, leaving the image wispier than I prefer. It's still a stunner - a surprisingly placed figure on a gorgeous background. The cape looks oddly short, but I see the reason. It's a shame the blurbs are brasher than the illustration needs, though.

Talking of lettering, I'm chuffed to bits to see regular Power Girl letterer John J Hill has stayed with the book. He's very good.

It's a good start for the new team; so long as we don't get lost in Eventsville, this could be a fine run.

* how passe, Wonder Woman had telepathic earrings decades ago, and they could translate languages!

9 comments:

  1. A fair review. I like the issue too and am finding myself warming up to the new creative team the more I think on it. You're right too, the intro background on her origin is quite tired and hardly necessary thirteen issues in. Thanks.

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  2. Thanks for the comment. I find myself wondering if the regular recaps are a nod to the night-inevitable trade collections - make things easy for newer readers.

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  3. I dropped this sight-unseen, now you've got me doubting myself. You know my tastes by this point, do you think I'll dig this?

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  4. I also didn't bother with it as I have never liked Winick. And now you have me doubting it.

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  5. I think it's worth a shot, chaps. Go on ....

    One thing that may particularly interest you, Anj - the first instance I can recall of either Kara or Karen expressly idnetifying themselves as the other (as opposed to the narrated links).

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  6. I read this quickly last night. Did I miss something, or has history been retconned so that Karen (sigh; I'll just give in to it) now arrives AFTER the new Supergirl established herself? (Do we not even get a glimpse of Linda Danvers?) Does Power Girl now have that short a career? Or has Supergirl's been expanded?

    I thought the cover should have moved the figure up a bit; the composition looked uncomfortably off to me. Also, "wispy" is a good word for it. I want my comic book covers that feature superheroes to be powerful.

    I don't get JL:GL or whatever it's called, so I'm not sure what's going on over there except that Max wiped out everyone's memory through some goofy machine. Please don't make me buy it, DC!

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  7. Re: Supergirl, I just assumed they didn't want to have to get into the subject of the different Supergirls.

    Or it could be that Infinite Final Crisis or whatever changed things a tad.

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  8. Hello Mart! Just started reading the 'Bomb Squad' trade paperback, had no idea what the first story was all about, did a search for 'Power Girl 13' on the Internet, and stumbled across your blog!

    'What a Difference a Day Makes' should have had some background information referring the reader to the Generation Lost comic (if that's the relevant event) - I don't know if it's in PG 13, but it's certainly not in 'Bomb Squad', and the story makes little sense without it. Nor is the reader given the satisfaction of a conclusion - instead, Power Girl forgets she's been fighting OMACs and M Lord Esq apparently gets away with it, unless the reader buys Generation Lost.

    But I agree that Winick shows promise on the title (I know he's off it now, but those of us on trade paperbacks are a bit behind!) and Basri's art is, indeed, gorgeous. I love how, facially, PG looks like a normal person, rather than a beauty queen; but I really am fed up with those Sam Fox breasts: PG never used to be so huge...

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  9. That's rather rubbish, Gary, there should definitely have been some recap in the trade. I hope you manage to enjoy the stories regardless.

    Basri gets even better as the issues go on, and the boobs stay constant.

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