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Mild Mannered Reviews - Supergirl Comics

Supergirl #4

Supergirl #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 8, 2006

Cover date: February 2006

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ian Churchill
Inker: Norm Rapmund

"Power" - Chapter Four: JLA

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

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The book opens with Evil-Supergirl fighting with Lex Luthor, who says that he thought the black kryptonite splitting Supergirl in two would have been metaphorical as he punches her in the face, in an attempt at getting her to join him in whatever nefarious plans he has. That's some smart thinkin', Lex!

Evil-Supergirl uses her heat vision on the arm of Lex's suit where the kryptonite is stored and Lex just lets her, while telling her that his suit was forged on Apokolips and nothing can damage it. Evil-Supergirl then proceeds to freeze the arm with super breath and then shatters it to pieces.

They fight some more and the real Supergirl starts to wake up. Evil-Supergirl tells her to stay put as Lex flees. Evil-Supergirl goes after Lex, catches him and flings him to the moon, where he crashes into the JLA watchtower.

Green Lantern John Stewart shows up to apprehend Luthor, but then Evil-Supergirl shows up, steals his ring, and uses it to dispatch him in a matter of seconds.

Back on earth, Starfire wakes up Supergirl who says she's always felt Evil-Supergirl inside of her, and is relieved to have her out. Kind of like that feeling you get after eating too much Mexican food.

Back in the watchtower, Lex teleports out and Hawkman's attempt to stop him (flinging his mace at the teleporter - genius!) is wasted. Then Evil-Supergirl shows up, grabs the mace, and fells Hawkman with one hit to the face. Black Canary drops Evil-Supergirl with a sonic scream that she claims only two people can hear (Supergirl and, it stands to reason, Superman). Evil-Supergirl rips up part of the floor which knocks Black Canary over, and somehow this removes her from the fight entirely. Maybe she's got basiphobia.

Flash shows up, wraps Evil-Supergirl in a cable (?) which she easily escapes as she speeds out onto the moon. Flash follows her (?!), only to realize a few moments later (when Evil-Supergirl tells him) that there's no air on the moon and Flash suddenly falls to his knees because he can't breathe. Martian Manhunter gets a few shots in on Evil-Supergirl while he's invisible, but she spots him with x-ray vision (?!$@%) and threatens to snap his neck while claiming that "nothing in the universe" can stop her.

Supergirl then shows up with glowing eyes and the book ends.

3Story - 3: One step forward (brief plot advancement), two steps back (still no character development or personality for Supergirl, more senseless fighting).

This book was full of action that could have been pretty entertaining if there was something behind it all.

So apparently Supergirl has had some sort of Kryptonian spirit or some other great evil from the universe at large living within her for who knows how long, and black kryptonite let it out. Or something.

Well okay, that's not bad, depending on how it all plays out next issue. What I really look forward to is some personality and development for Kara.

But I also look forward to a million dollars falling into my lap out of the sky, and at this point I have just about the same amount of faith that both of those things will happen.

In this one book alone, the Evil-Supergirl has displayed more personality than Kara has had for the entire four-issue run. I don't understand the motives of either of them, but at least I have somewhat of a grasp of Evil-Supergirl's personality. Sadly the same can't be said for Supergirl.

I understand that Evil-Supergirl is supposed to be incredibly powerful. It's clear that's why Supergirl's been played up as so very powerful for so long, and why she's bested everyone she's gone up against without any trouble. So if you want to display Evil-Supergirl's power by having her defeat the JLA, I'm down with that. You want someone displayed as a major threat, that's a good way to do it.

But I don't think the JLA needs to be punked out in order to make that happen. They looked like a bunch of inept clowns in this book, which even at their worst they never were (Chuck Austen never wrote the JLA, did he? He did? ... well never you mind). Black Canary is taken out of the fight because she fell down? Come again?

And Flash... ties Evil-Supergirl up with a cable? She's in a Supergirl costume. She looks just like Supergirl (although, to be fair to Flash, so does every single woman in the book). His solution is to tie her up with something you know won't hold her? Why not just hit her with a speed-force-powered punch? He'd seen her attacking his team and he had every reason to believe she's as powerful as Supergirl. He might as well have just tried to tie her up with dental floss.

And then he follows her outside, where he knows there's no air! He's been in the watchtower with the JLA countless times. He's familiar with the moon. And he just forgets he can't go running where he can't breathe? And then he just falls to his knees and begins choking for air. I admit I'm not incredibly well-versed in Flash's powers, but if he can run near the speed of light couldn't he just have held his breath for one second and zipped back into the watchtower without any problem?

This issue is supposed to be about the JLA, but there's no Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman. Batman is highly suspicious of Supergirl, where's he been in all this? Wonder Woman trained Supergirl, where's she been in all this? Superman is related to Supergirl and she's his only living relative, where's he been in all this? The three people that would have made the most character-conflict to see don't show up, and instead we get Evil-Supergirl fighting other members of the JLA in arbitrary fashion. I will cut that slack if they show up in issue 5, but the cover led me to believe otherwise, so when they didn't show up it negatively affected my opinion of the story.

Ah, the power of covers. And the power of hope.

I'm gonna sit and hope that sack of money falls out of the sky. It's coming, right?

Any minute now.

2Art - 2: Churchill is... Churchill. It's almost like he's becoming a parody of himself. If anything, all the women look even more like Supergirl than ever before.

There's really nothing else I can say about the art that I haven't said before. Churchill is unchanging and static. The art here is the same as it was in issue 1, which would have been good if I liked what I saw in issue 1. I did not. I was hoping for improvement, but we just get more of the same-faced woman in every female hero's costume. And that woman looks like she's got an eating disorder.

The bright spot, as with this entire run, has been the coloring. It's again quite excellent and turns otherwise mediocre art into something worth looking at. Pages 5 and 8 were especially nice in that regard.

1Cover Art - 1: What, no Turner cover this month? Boo. Keep the dream alive, kids! Write letters to your senators! Demand satisfaction!

So we have Supergirl in a shining beam of light with the word "judgment" over her head, despite the fact that she wasn't being judged for anything, by anyone.

The faces of the JLA are looking at her like the Kryptonian council heads from "Superman: The Movie" would have worked well if they actually thought Supergirl was the one attacking them and were all mad at her for it. But Evil-Supergirl lets them know right away that she's not Supergirl, so they have nothing to be "judging" Supergirl for.

Also, having Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman on the cover is a low blow. Put them there to move books, but they appear nowhere in the issue. Good move. Not only is that false advertising, but seeing those three on the cover led me to believe they would be interacting with Supergirl (in which there might be some actual judgment going on) and since they are the three people that are most important to her story at the moment, I was very much looking forward to that. Character conflict! Drama! Personality!

Alas, poor Yorrick, they didn't show. The pang of emptiness from their absence was made all the greater since I was now *expecting* to see them. Not only did this cover not make me want to pick up the book, it made me mad that the book didn't live up to what it promised. Bad form.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2006

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