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52apolooza: Supergirl

Written by Niam Suggitt, Brian Burchette and Tricia Long on Monday, October 17 2011 and posted in Reviews

Supergirl, look out!  There's meteors behind you!  Check out the reviews of Supergirl!

Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch.  All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.  If you'd like to see how this book compares to the rest of DC's New 52, check out the Official 52apolooza Rankings!

Everyone has their favorite version of Supergirl, whether it be the one wearing a bandana, the one wearing a knee-length skirt or the one who wears shorts under her skirt (thus earning the ire of weirdos everywhere).  Now, there's a new version of Supergirl, one who doesn't wear a skirt at all but instead wears fashionable Kryptonian leggings.  How will the 52apolooza crew take this radical departure in wardrobe?  Read on and find out!

Marvel Reviewer: Niam Suggitt

For a long time I didn't see the point in Supergirl. I thought it cheapened Superman and ruined his whole 'Last Son' schtick. I thought the character was an unnecessary cash-grab character, like Batgirl or Batwoman. But then Sterling Gates came along and made Supergirl one of DC's best comics. Despite being almost constantly caught up in one crossover or another, Gates and artist Jamal Igle turned Kara Zor-El into a really strong character with enough to set her apart from her more famous cousin. So for me, this new, rebooted Supergirl has a lot to live up to.

And for the most part it does, this was a really enjoyable comic with top quality art and a good take on Supergirl. Michael Green and Mike Johnson are a writing team I'm unfamiliar with but they really write Kara's inner thoughts well, subtly including hints as to her history and personality. It was great to see her panic at developing powers and her confusion at what's going on. Just as we the readers are on unfamiliar ground with this new universe, so is Supergirl.

supergirl1There is one issue though, which is that not much really happens. Supergirl crash-lands on Earth, fights some dudes in Robot suits and then Superman shows up. I imagine some fans will be frustrated at this lack of forward momentum, that we don't see Kara's life on Krypton or maybe a glimpse into what her ongoing status-quo is. But I don't mind a slower pace, and the thoughts inside Supergirl's head are still very interesting. It doesn't hurt when your extended action sequence is drawn as well as this one, Mahmud Asrar's work is better than I've ever seen it before. I was unsure about Supergirl's new costume at first, but Asrar makes it work, and even Superman's new duds looked good. Asrar's art is crisp and kinetic, so as I said, if you're annoyed a there being too much action, then at least it looks good.

Overall this was a strong first issue, not much happens in it, but what does happen is very enjoyable. In a week when depictions of female superheroes have been very controversial, Supergirl is a shining light of non-sleaziness and good storytelling. I enjoyed this small taste of the new Kara Zor-El, I just hope we'll get some more going on in future issues.

Writing: 18/25
Artwork: 22/25
Accessibility: 20/25 (As long as you know who Superman is and that Supergirl is his cousin, then you should be fine, this is all-new)
Enjoyability: 21/15

Total Score: 81/100

DC Reviewer: Brian Burchette

The plot to the first issue of this series is rather quite simple. Kara once again comes crashing down to Earth more than slightly dazed and confused, only to be attacked by American soldiers in metal armor. A huge fight ensues that could have been stopped sooner but Kara doesn't speak English, only Kryptonian. After defeating the soldiers she is suddenly stopped by the one person who could... Superman.

That's the story. It's a pretty by the book origin of a character that really hasn't changed all that much from her previous incarnation. There's really nothing new here and though it is a solid beginning, I think in this case it was an unnecessary one.

Story: 20/25
Art: 20/25
Accessibility: 23/25
Enjoyment: 18/25

Final Score: 81/100

New Reader Reviewer: Tricia Long

Supergirl has a morning after that I never want to experience. One minute she's in school, chilling with her friends and dreaming of the day she can put on blue spandex, the next she's in Siberia. Understandably, she's shocked both by her location and environment. Then, some guys show up to capture her (jerks) and get the full Kryptonian-reacting-to-our-yellow-sun treatment.

The best part of this issue? You get to experience a little dramatic irony – that's when the audience knows something the character doesn't. We know that Kara has similar powers to Superman, that her genetic makeup will make taking down these robot-suited men easy as pie; but we get to experience the terror of her discovering that, which is both a wonderful way to introduce her to new readers and provide characterization.

Not a lot happens in this issue compared to others I've read – there's no time jumps, there aren't that many characters to meet, nobody dies horribly. We do know that Kara's arrival on Earth happens simultaneously with several other moments in the DC universe (Starling backing through a church for one), which makes this a pretty big day for old planet Earth. If you've read the other #1 issues, you'll probably take this as a signal that something big is on the horizon. All of these heroes, summoned to Earth, at the same time? That can't be good for anyone.

I liked the simplicity of the palette used. The striking colors of what I think of as the "super" uniform stand out starkly against the snow of Siberia, and stuck with me long after I finished the issue. Something was off about the drawing, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Supergirl's face was oddly blunt, not at all what I was expecting given the crisp squareness of Superman's face. This wasn't disappointing in anyway, just something I noticed in the course of reading.

All in all, this was an intriguing first issue. I'd be interested to see where things go – how Superman explains to Kara what happened, how she fits into the Superman mythos. I don't feel strongly about this book like the last two that I reviewed, but it's definitely worth a read. If nothing else, you can truly experience life in another person's head for about 10 pages.

Writing: 20/25
Art: 18/25
Enjoyability: 20/25
Accessibility: 22/25 

Total Score: 80/100

Total 52apolooza Score (with Three Reviews In): 242
(Average Score: 80.67)

Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt, Brian Burchette and Tricia Long

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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