Having kidnapped gossip columnist Cat Grant, the deadly Dollmaker reveals a surprising motive. Supergirl deals with the new villain with glorious efficiency ... with a hand from Cat. And the Kents and Langs celebrate Christmas in Smallville.
A round of applause, please, for writer Sterling Gates and penciller Jamal Igle, for rounding off their two-and-a-half-year-run in fine style. As well as the above they find room to put a kind of cap on the Superwoman subplot, via one of the best Lois Lane scenes in years, and end the book as they began in #34, with a Cat Grant opinion piece on Supergirl. It makes for a satisfying read. And even though it's the pair's last issue, new readers could start here, as they take care to recap everything we need to know to get into the book. While the Dollmaker - heretofore unrevealed son of Winslow Schott, the Toyman - is no real threat to our heroine, he's a whiz so far as casting light on the characters of Kara and Cat is concerned. Plus, he's twisted enough that you can almost feel sorry for him - I hope we're not completely Schott of young Anton.
Igle's pencils continue to define Supergirl for today, giving us a determined young woman, pretty but not unapproachable, powerful but not an Amazon. His pages quietly find the drama, drawing us into the story without drawing attention to themselves as Art. The Dollmaker design is excellent, a cross between a midget Lex Luthor and Little Orphan Annie, and there's a terrific panel in which we're shown how Anton sees the world (click to enlarge).
Regular inker Jon Sibal - also a key part of this run - is joined by Supergirl veteran Robin Riggs, though it's not a join I can see. The lines are sharp and ready for the winter tones of colourist Blond. Travis Lanham's letters are as perfect as ever, while Amy Reeder, Richard Friend and Guy Major deliver a stonkingly good cover - I want that Supergirl doll!
The only thing I didn't like aboutthis issue's visuals was quite how mousey Supergirl wound up looking as Linda Lang - I realise Clark, Conner and co tend to keep the specs on even in private, but Kara's still new to this and shouldn't take quite so easily to the Super-Spinster look.
Gates and Igle took a character in need of love and attention and made Supergirl one of DC's finest heroines. She still has doubts, but she's not defined by them; she's a caring, competent heroine, as shown throughout this issue. They're leaving this comic in much better shape than they found it and I'm going to miss these guys. I suspect Supergirl will miss them even more.
Just one question, though - what did air stewardesses ever do to Sterling Gates?