Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Supergirl #61 review


Supergirl's in trouble, facing four of her deadliest enemies, and yet she beats the Parasite, Silver Banshee, Kryptonite Man and Metallo with ease. Watching from a distance is the mysterious, malevolent and all-round minging Alex, the inventor whose smartphone app, Flyover, meant he could send the villains against her. He reports back to his even more mysterious - at least we can see Alex - father that Supergirl is no easy mark. He then sends Clayface and Mr Freeze to attack Robin in Gotham City.

Our heroine, meanwhile, meets Lois Lane, who asks her to be ready to fight a super-powered clone she suspects exists, tells her to stop comparing herself to her cousin and gives her a smartphone so Supergirl can check out Flyover. Soon, in her guise of Linda Lang, Supergirl has learned that Robin is in trouble. Cue a team-up with the ever-ungrateful Damian Wayne to take down the Bat-guys. This time Supergirl notices that the resistance was useless and, after Robin trips over one of their fallen foes, the answer is in front of them - not true super-villains, but adaptable androids. 

Well, in so many words ... I'm surmising, but that's how I read this issue's final scene. My favourite moment is Linda's coffee shop encounter with a superhero fan waitress, purely for the fun of having Kara in her rarely seen secret identity and - this is deep comics criticism here - the prettiness of the pink decor. Artist Bernard Chang has even found real paintings for the wall. I hope the Metropolis Creamery becomes Supergirl's local as she should have some locations specific to her and the place looks like somewhere a college girl might hang out. 

There's also a smart moment when Supergirl has fun seeing off unwanted company, and the return of a Silver Age staple, the Flying Newsroom. Peaty gives us a clue as to the identity of Alex (Lex Luthor as his father is far too obvious) when a student he kissed says he left her lips tasting of chalk. Hmm. And indeed, hmm. Who in the DC Universe would taste of chalk? Swamp monster Solomon Grundy, maybe. The Joker, with his chalky white skin. A Bizarro ...

... aha, Alex is a Bizarro version of the Joker, wearing make-up to cover the cracks and pasty skin - go on, try colouring Alex's face in Joker tones. His madness has become a strange, illogical logic, while leaving the Clown Prince of Crime's genius intact. And 'father' is Luthor, who's been known to have a Bizarro-creating machine. Er, obvious really.

I'm sure you have a better theory, please feel free to share! Kudos to new writer James Peaty for drawing me in to this mystery, and for an all-round terrific script.

I love Bernard Chang's Supergirl - not overly-endowed, intelligent eyes, elegant in action. He's excellent at capturing the sites - and indeed, sights - of Mertropolis, not just the cute cafes, but the densely packed high-rises, the stairwells and architectural details. He does a good Gotham too, a city which, amusingly, colourist Blond - always good - represents as being in a far-off timezone. I suppose it's never sunny in Gotham. Chang's action scenes, too, work hard to engage the reader. This is a good-looking book.

And you could have judged that by its cover. Amy Reeder gives us a dual scene, split by the logo, with wonderfully Adam West sound effects. It's an image made further appealing by the eye-catching colours of Guy Major.

With a new creative team at the helm, this is a great time to try Supergirl's book - it's accessible and entertaining.

2 comments:

  1. Good read, very original cover design, as a whole it felt very fresh and forward looking. I think the art is excellent and is unusual as here is a creative team genuinly respectful of the setup already in place and just building on it, moving it on.

    I do wonder if its possible 'Alex', the mastermind manipulating Luthor in Action Comics plus the return of Doomsday are all possibly linked... we know all of this is heading to some big event for the Superman books in the summer. Wouldn't it be great is everything was in some way connected and leading up to something even bigger in scale.

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  2. If it brings more readers to Supergirl, I'm with you, Dave!

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