Monday, February 22, 2016

Adventures of Supergirl Chapter #3 Review and **SPOILERS**

I Never Met a Rampaging Alien I Didn't Like

Written By: Sterling Gates
Art By: Bengal
Letters By: Saida Temofonte
Digital Price: $0.99
Release Date: February 22, 2016


We have come to the conclusion of the first "issue" of Adventures of Supergirl, considering three complete digital comic chapters can be reformatted into one printed issue. I'm not sure if that will be happening to this series, but this third chapter should close out the story that's introduced us to Kara "Supergirl" Danvers and much of her cast of characters. I am really behind on the CBS show (looking at summertime binge-watch catch-up, at this point) but I've had no problem diving into this comic book head first and enjoying the heck out of it. But does it finish strong? Do Sterling Gates and Bengal know they should "Always Be Closing?" Because coffee, my dear creators, is for closers. So let's take a look at chapter three of Adventures of Supergirl and see if the team hasn't earned themselves a little coffee. Perhaps even a latte. Read on, National City citizens!

Explain It!

When last we saw the Danvers girls, Kara was unconscious and being taken to parts unknown (which, if Rampage were a professional wrestler, would be where she lived) and Alex emerged from a pool of sewer water with extraction and revenge on her mind. Well Kara is being kept in Rampage's super secret jail cell where the bars are made of Inertron, a metal that Supergirl can't break. She comes to in her prison to find a mousy-looking woman named Caren Falqneer, who you just know is really an alien because no one else would spell "Karen" with a "C." She sips a cup of coffee while explaining her secret origin to Kara Danvers; yes, Caren is Rampage, but it's not as cut-and-dry as you might think.

Seems that Caren is a visiting alien from the planet Byr, making her a Byrnian. She lived there with her sister Moyer, and the two of them enjoyed a fairly nice lifestyle due to the Falqneer family's lucrative dealings in Inertron. Caren and Moyer stood to inherit the business, but they were very impatient, so on the eve of his fiftieth birthday Moyer poisoned and killed her own father. Now that is flipping cold. Not only did she kill her own father, but she did it one day before the guy turned fifty. I guess Moyer wanted the family business and to avoid giving her dad a birthday present. Caren claims to have helped with the murder out of intellectual curiosity and sisterly love, while pens Moyer as the deceptive conniver. Whatever the case, the two of them were quickly caught and sent to a space prison called Fort Rozz. There they stayed for twenty years in cages immediately adjacent to one another--close enough for the siblings to hold hands, which is a really dumb idea in case you ever find yourself operating a space prison.

One day, Fort Razz crashed on Earth and all of the prisoners escaped. I'm not sure if this happened in the show or what, but Caren mentions it very cavalierly. The Byrnian sisters head north, but as they ran they discovered that our planet's yellow sun turned them into giant, orange berserker monsters that destroyed everything in their paths while screaming "RAMPAGE!" for some reason. Moyer's attacks were more acute and lasted longer, so they grabbed an Inertron cell from the ruins of Fort Rozz and used it to hold Moyer whenever it was her time of the month while Caren went out to get supplies. Over ten years, Moyer got worse and worse, until two years ago she busted out and got captured, or possibly killed, by the DEO. So now Caren has an axe to grind with the organization, and intends on starting by snapping Kara's neck, when all of a sudden Alex and some DEO agents bust into through the sewer wall and start fucking up the place. Using a combined chainsaw and heat vision technique, Supergirl is able to get free and fly all the humans to safety, just as the rushing waters of the sewer take Caren away. Alex wants to celebrate their victory by watching Netflix with her sis--could she be talking about Jessica Jones in that panel?--but Kara, having become sympathetic towards Caren after her hard-luck story, decides she doesn't want to be around her sister at that particular moment.

There are a lot of good things to say about this chapter and series. For one thing, Bengal's art is just perfect, I really like the way Supergirl is rendered and everything seems very lively and exaggerated. The art sort of skirts a line between superhero comics and manga, and I think it worked gloriously here. Also, Kara was characterized really well, like an actual teenager except she isn't looking at her goddamned cell phone all the time. Through her inner monologue, you can tell what kind of person she is: a good one, though she is still new to the job of super heroics. The bad thing about this chapter is that it wasn't a very satisfying ending. I suppose Caren has been washed away, to return another day, but I never felt like Kara was in any real danger and it was dispensed with so quickly, I wonder if this whole arc has been about hearing the Rampage Sisters' back story. Which was interesting enough, I suppose, but it meant this chapter was lacking in Supergirl action, and that was a bit disappointing. Still, the book is a worthwhile, snappy read that is sure to put a smile on your face, unless you're Cat Grant.

Bits and Pieces:

The first Adventures of Supergirl arc ends sort of flat, but looks really good doing it. We learn the secret origin of Rampage, and it is pretty unexpected. There's also some sweet interaction between the Danvers sisters, and in this chapter we really see what kind of person Kara is. I would have liked a more definitive ending, is all, especially for the opening arc for a series. Perhaps this will read better if it is ever stitched into a printed issue.

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