Monday, January 25, 2016
Adventures of Supergirl Chapter #1 Review and *SPOILERS*
Written By: Sterling Gates
Art By: Bengal
Letters By: Saida Temofonte
Digital Price: $0.99
Release Date: January 25, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Here’s something you may not have known about me: I love Supergirl. I loved her as a plucky teen in the Silver Age, I loved her when she got a perm and a headband and went to college, I loved her as the protoplasmic goo Matrix that Alexander Luthor shaped into Supergirl, and I loved her as the young lady struggling with her responsibilities (both powered and not) by Gates and Igle in the early 2000s. Heck, I even loved her as a Red Lantern for that brief time a couple of years back. So when I heard Sterling Gates was back on a Supergirl title, I had to check it out. I’m not going to use this space to write about DC’s inefficiency by not having a Supergirl comic to run in tandem with the CBS show to begin with, I want to celebrate the fun and quirky joy that is Supergirl. Keep reading if that sounds good to you!
So this Supergirl is exactly the same one as on the CBS show. If you haven’t been watching the show, well good news because Sterling Gates does a perfect job of laying all the cards out on the table from the outset. You don’t need to have seen a solitary episode to slip right into the world of National City, it’s revealed to you in both panel and plot—indeed, much of this first chapter is given over to that backstory. But that isn’t all we get: we open with Supergirl fighting Rampage, a big orange lady with a new wave haircut, on the field at National City Stadium. Rampage is going berserk, presumably because she had money on the Metropolis Metros and they’re getting the pants beaten off of them by the National City Sharks, 42 to 19. Kara reminisces about life on Krypton as she gets battered around by Rampage, primarily because it was a lot more peaceful and probably involved less sports betting. And so we get her Secret Origin!
Kara Zor-El was deployed by rocket from her dying home planet shortly after her cousin, Kal-El, shipped off in his own cruiser. Shockwaves from exploding planet Krypton chucked Kara into the timeless Phantom Zone and her pod kicked into hibernation mode. While Krypton’s worst criminals hung out and shot dice around her, she snoozed until eventually her cousin, now grown into Superman, saved her and set her up with an Earthling family known as the Danvers. There, she led a normal life and suppressed her special abilities, until a plane crash threatened someone she loved—who fans of the show will know is her half-sister, Alex Danvers, now an agent of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations and essentially Supergirl’s handler. Do you see now why I am not a comic book writer and Sterling Gates is? I had to belch out the whole setting like some kind of Tourette’s sufferer but Gates knows to reveal the facts through story.
After this flashback, the fight with Rampage is essentially wrapped up with a Hadouken uppercut from Street Fighter II thrown by Supergirl, which is pretty awesome. Alex Danvers comes in on a DEO helicopter to collect the KO’ed form of Rampage, but even in her limp state she is able to exert one last move and flings Supergirl at the helicopter, smashing the tail section to bits! And that’s our cliffhanger, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a digital chapter so it runs shorter than your average comic book. But what you get is some great artwork by Bengal; so much movement and physicality while still maintaining a kind of cuteness. And the color work is fantastic, particularly during the flashback scenes which employ a blue/gray palette that looks almost painted. Consider this the pilot episode, where there’s more exposition and character explanation than you might like, but everything about the story structure and plotting makes me believe this is going to be a heck of a fun book. Keep your eye out for future chapters—DC Comics won’t be advertising them!
Bits and Pieces:
This is like the pilot episode for the comic series, so there’s a lot of talky bits and out-loud explanations of characters’ relationships to one another, but between Bengal’s superbly fun artwork and Sterling Gates’ practiced pacing, it turns out to be a pretty fun read. It’s worth saying that the Supergirl here is the one from the CBS television show, so whether that appeals to you or not—proceed accordingly. Myself, I’m glad to see a promising Supergirl book, and as long as her characterization is consistent then I’ll keep gobbling it up!