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Mild Mannered Reviews - Supergirl Comics

Supergirl #5

Supergirl #5

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 22, 2006

Cover date: March 2006

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

"Power" - Chapter Four: Supergirls

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

Supergirl #5 The book opens with a flashback of Zor-El (Kara's father and Jor-El's brother) telling Kara that Krypton is doomed and that he's sending her off to Earth. He's made her "innocent" so that she can assimilate better, and once she's there she's supposed to kill the baby Kal-El.

So her rocket was caught during the explosion of Krypton and then she eventually arrived anyway, fashionably late to the party (as seen in her initial appearance in the Superman/Batman arc). Evil Supergirl says that Darkseid was able to reveal the "real her" for a time, but the crystal her father had given her did its job too well and the "innocent" Kara took over again.

Kara tells Evil Supergirl that she's lying and Evil Supergirl is just something that Lex Luthor "made", and a particularly brutal and highly enjoyable fight ensues. The justice league shows up and Evil Supergirl then tells them that they should run. And Black Canary gets all up in her grill like, "Giiiirrrl, nuh-uh! YOU just try it, girlfriend!" and so... Evil Supergirl flies away. I guess she's moody.

Turns out Evil Supergirl was just luring Supergirl into the vacuum of space, where they have an interesting discussion despite there being no way for sound to travel or air to breathe. Kara's all "I'm SO real!" and Evil Supergirl is all, "No way, loser, I am!" and they eventually re-enter Earth's atmosphere and land in the ocean somewhere.

They suddenly appear in the water by the Gotham City docks, upon which Batman and his 40-foot wide cape are waiting. Break out your black lights and velvet, glow-in-the-dark posters, boys and girls, because Evil Supergirl charges at him and he defeats her with some sort of... flashing bat.

She talks about making a Bat-flambe, but not before Supergirl gets between them and breathes all cold-like on Evil Supergirl... who immediately breaks out of it and then does the exact same thing to Batman.

Just then Superman and Wonder Woman show up (it's about time!) and are all "Surrender!" and Evil Supergirl is all, "You mean you wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept!" (but in Kryptonian, so she can seem more enigmatic).

Yes, I paraphrase! Don't get all up in my grill, girlfriend.*

She charges into Supergirl and they crash into a building construction site, and Supergirl comes up with a wrecking ball just as Evil Supergirl says that there's a bit of three-card-monte going on and their suits have been switched. Superman then heat-visions at Wonder Woman who is quite startled by his actions, but is still somehow able to deflect one beam from each eye into each of the Supergirls. The girls fall down and Superman proceeds to beat the tar out of each of them.

Both of the girls fight back, and one of them tells Superman that she's more powerful than he is. He implies he's been holding back and that he could stop her anytime he wants to. Batman seems to think this is wishful thinking or strategic posturing, and he finally brings out the Kryptonite ring now that all the fighting is actually over.

The ring seems to have no effect on anyone (including Superman, who's shown to be standing no more than five feet from it in one panel) as Wonder Woman uses her lasso to somehow combine the two Supergirls back into one. The "good Kara" ends up in control and says that she might be a bad girl again sometime, so she's going to need to be monitored. And then she flies off into the night.

*Here's the actual Kryptonian translation, as provided by Michelle Glass:

First word balloon:

How like your father, Kal-El. You arrogant buffoon.

Second word balloon:

I am so going to enjoy killing you.

3Story - 3: This book started off as a 5. I was thrilled. I was excited. I had to slow down because I was turning pages too quickly and missing things.

But then it ended as a 1 and I was crushed, and so I'll just score it right in the middle and be done with numbers.

None of the issues up until now had me as happy as the beginning of this book. I thought we were really, finally getting somewhere, and the fight was brutally amazing. And the first one that actually had some meaning behind it.

They ended up in Gotham, and Bats was there, and Wondy and Supes weren't far behind. Finally, we'd get what we so very much longed for!

But that never happened. There was no discussion, no explanation, no conflict (of the inter-personal sort). It was just more fighting, and unlike the previous battle, there was no emotion behind it. It was just "stop the bad girl before she does anything... bad", which is fine from time to time, but that's what most of the fights in all the issues leading up to now have been.

Was Evil Supergirl lying about Zor-El being evil? We don't know. Was she created by black kryptonite or not? We don't know (and heaven help us if she was, because that means there'll be eventual Superman vs. Evil Superman stories coming that I really don't want to see). Now that they're combined together back into one person, is it like she has multiple personalities? Is the good one really in control? We don't know.

To sum up: we know almost nothing more than we knew before this entire arc started. In fact, you could have combined the important bits from the four previous issues (which consists mostly of just her fight with Lex and Evil Supergirl being evil) and then had this issue and it would be exactly the same (which explains my problem with some of the earlier issues). This wasn't a wrap-up to a story, or even a chapter of a story. It feels like ending the story mid-chapter and that doesn't sit well with me.

There can be unanswered questions, don't get me wrong. But for *everything* to be unanswered still is bothersome, though I'd easily overlook that if there were continual, really strong character moments and development. We still know absolutely nothing about Kara's personality, and in fact, I think now we actually know less about her than we did before.

How can I like and root for and care about a character that I haven't been allowed to get to know yet?

I know issue 5 was longer than normal and Loeb's planned ending for issue 6 had to be incorporated in to this issue. I'm sure that probably accounts for some of the story issues that I have, but it still doesn't change the character/personality (or lack thereof) and that is by far my biggest disappointment with this initial arc on the series.

Loeb has always been excellent at characterization in my opinion, and it's what's made him one of my favorite writers for years now. But this arc just really fell flat for me.

I want to love Kara but I still don't know even the tiniest bit about who she is as a person, so how can I?

4Art - 4: Churchill finally gets to put his Mad all-women-look-like-Kara Skillz to use as there are two people who are *actually* supposed to look like Kara all over this book. But... what's this? Wonder Woman she... looks... a little different! STOP THE PRESSES! We have growth.

And there was much rejoicing.

The coloring wasn't quite as good as it has been in the past, though it was nice enough. But oh, David Moran, I pine for thee.

3Cover Art - 4 (Turner) / 3 (Churchill): I'm not sure I get the point of combining art from two different artists on each cover. Firstly, their styles don't really mesh very well as Churchill's lines seem more measured and precise and Turner's seem more open and free-flowing. Second, this has the effect of making the two Supergirls not actually look like each other, which is a weird thing for me since for months now I've been saying how every woman in the interiors looked *just* like her. So it's very odd that now that they're supposed to look the same... they don't.

Turner's Evil Supergirl looks like she's about to go Zatanna and cast a spell or something, which apparently frightens Churchill's Supergirl to no end (maybe she doesn't like witches).

Churchill's Evil Supergirl at least has a more menacing pose, and Turner's Supergirl looks at least prepared to deal with that. That's really the only thing setting these covers apart. No cheesy or incorrect words on the cover (yay!), but there's a non-descript photo background of orange clouds on each of them (boo!). I guess it's the yin and the yang, the good and the bad, the red and the blue, the detail and the lack thereof, the Supergirl and the Evil Supergirl of the whole thing. At least there's a theme!

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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