Monday, February 8, 2016

Adventures of Supergirl Chapter #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

Sisters Gonna Work It Out

Written By: Sterling Gates
Art By: Bengal
Letters By: Saida Temofonte
Digital Price: $0.99
Release Date: February 8, 2016

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

One thing comic books have over television is that they aren’t constantly emitting low-level radiation that slowly deteriorates your eyes and skin. Also, they’re a lot less noisy. So maybe you’ve stayed away from the prime-time television show Supergirl on CBS because it’s little more than carefully-timed product placement that’s broadcast via flickering light box and incessant, high-pitched whine to our already overstimulated frontal cortices. Well, have I got a solution for you! Sterling Gates and Bengal are writing the new Supergirl digital comic, based on the CBS show, with a new chapter coming every other Monday! They’re guaranteed not to brainwash you into drinking urine-colored soft drinks or your money back! And just how much money are we talking about here? Why, it’s only a buck! So if you’re not reading Supergirl by Gates and Bengal, then I can only assume you either hate all superheroes, you hate girls, or you are so bad with your money that you don’t really even understand what a dollar is, like you use them to scribble notes on and blow your nose into and throw away a couple dozen every Spring cleaning. If you don’t buy these digital Supergirl chapters, then you might as well give your money to area birds to use for their nests because you clearly don’t understand its value at all. Need more convincing? Read on for my review of chapter two!

Explain It!:

I have one caveat I would like to impart: if you don’t like internal monologue told through captions, then you don’t like Supergirl. It could be argued that if you don’t like character narrations in captions, then you don’t like a lot of modern comics. But this is a device that Supergirl uses a lot. And it’s often for her to say something sort of…cute. Not to diminish her, but you really get the “girl” part in these private thoughts of hers. I like it; in these moments, you see her humanity, and quite frankly it’s more familiar to me than the corn-fed upright moral code of…ahem…a certain cousin of Kara Danvers.

So if you’ll recall, last issue left a Department of Extra-Normal Operations helicopter carrying Alex Danvers and a few other agents plummeting to the ground. Supergirl flies up to grab it and yank it away from the people milling about below, noting the physics considerations such an endeavor entails. She eventually touches down like a ton of bricks in a parking lot, which is just enough property damage that can be covered with a coquettish smile and a sheepish “I’m sowwy.” Of course, everyone is okay (though Supergirl’s X-ray vision detects some hairline fractures in one of the DEO agent’s forearms.) In all the fracas, however, it seems like they’ve lost track of Rampage, the huge orange alien that put them all in this predicament. Just then, Winn, a noodles-eating friend of Kara’s busts in on her private DEO earpiece and tells her that Rampage was sighted punching her way into a sewer not too far away. I’m not sure who Winn is, to be frank…I seem to recall there was a dorky co-worker helping Kara save people and the world on Supergirl, but it’s been a little while since I watched this show. I would have hoped that we’d learn more about this character in-story—right here, at this scene, for instance—but instead we either have to know something from the television show or have to wait for a future chapter. That was a bit disappointing.

Here is also where you’ll see one of the not-so-great faces that appear throughout this comic. I can understand wanting to make Supergirl look fresh-faced and iconic, but here she looks almost like a kewpie doll or like a female Astro Boy. I enjoy much of the manga-inspired art in this book, but here and in a few other places, the faces are so flat and bland so as to be like the “have a nice day” smiley face. Anyway, the DEO and Supergirl convene at a big hole that’s been punched into the sewer, and they all descend with the Danvers girl forming their own team. While they wade through muck and poop, they have a sisterly chat that is both illuminating and enjoyable, but in doing so tip off an eavesdropping Rampage about their familial relations (no, not like that, you perv!) This is exhibited in a four-panel page that I think is really well done, and I’ve placed below for your review. Alex reveals that she was actually the cause for Rampage’s sister dying, and this sends Rampage into…well, a rampage.

Wrapping it up, Rampage tosses Alex off of some high sewer ledge and clobbers the crap out of Kara, all while screaming about killing all Danvers because that’s an achievable, if dishonorable goal. Alex lands in some soft poop and probably decomposing used diapers because she is able to stand from her precipitous fall, ready to dispense revenge justice! This chapter, like the last one, was a lot of fun, and it was mainly owed to the characterization. Bengal’s art was lively and very much on point, with some questionable choices in facial construction that took me out of the story a bit. This is a cute book, and that might not sit well with some people. Me, I’m confident enough in my masculinity to know that reading Supergirl is far from the least colloquially masculine thing that I do.

Bits and Pieces:

We get lots more characterization in this chapter, and really get a sense for how close Kara and Alex’s are as sisters—more than I did on the television show, for what that’s worth. We also get the non-introduction of a character acting as plot convenience and some questionable choices in facial composition, but overall this is book is a lot of fun and is definitely worth a buck and ten minutes of your time. Give it a look, whether you watch the show or not!


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