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Mild Mannered Reviews - Supergirl Comics

Supergirl #16

Supergirl #16

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 4, 2007

Cover date: June 2007

Writer: Joe Kelly & Marc Sable
Penciller: Ale Garza
Inker: Marlo Alquiza

"The Truth"

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

Kara is flying away from the sun.

She's having flashbacks from recent events in her life as words about her being a failure echo through her mind. Then we get the mother of all flashbacks to her time on Krypton before leaving. Her father, Zor-El, created the sunstone crystals and is at odds with Jor-El over using the Phantom Zone as punishment for criminals.

Thousands of people were sent into the Zone, and Argo City (home of Krypton's, um, "original sin"?) falls into chaos. Some thugs attack Zor-El and Alura In-Ze and in defending his family, Zor-El stabs one with the sunstone and he sees odd ghostly phantoms controlling their actions.

Turns out Phantoms lived in the Phantom Zone. Who knew? They're mad Jor-El has been sending the worst of Krypton's criminals there and corrupting everything, and so have vowed to destroy the House of El.

In his quest to destroy the Phantoms, Zor-El does experiments on Kara and then enlists her aid and together they kill a bunch of people, including a room of children. Turns out Kara's mother was one of those people possessed by a Phantom, and that's why Kara had to kill her.

Oh, also the Phantoms have come to earth to seek out the rest of the El family and Kara can apparently see them controlling humans, too.

1Story - 1: What happen?

"The Truth" hurts.

What about to the Father Box that Kara threw into the sun but exploded first at the end of last issue, that was supposed to cause something REALLY BAD to happen? And, for that matter, Power Boy?

You have no chance to survive make your time.

Kara can see Phantoms in people, despite it never being mentioned in two years. She's shown, in the last panel of this book, seeing them in people on the DAY SHE LANDS ON EARTH. It's not like she forgot how to see them, this book clearly shows her seeing them from Day 1 of her time here. Kara and her father used crystal guns in a "learning annex". TO KILL A ROOM FULL OF CHILDREN.

Somebody set us up the bomb.

This issue also serves to make Jor-El a pig-headed fool who couldn't see the damage he was apparently causing, which, it is also implied, may have CAUSED THE DESTRUCTION OF KRYPTON!

You are on the way to destruction.

Are you KIDDING ME? If I'd known all of this was what it was all leading to I would have saved myself the trouble and just asked my cat what he thought about Kara. At least he has interesting ideas (it takes talent to rip a phone jack out of the wall with your tail, admit it). Joe Kelly?

You know what you doing.

How does one person get credited with plot, and the other with story? Which is what? Who's on first? There's a reason this issue is a complete and utter mess. Sure, there was the nod to Pre-Crisis comics/"Superman: The Animated Series" with one of the condemned criminals being named Jax-Ur. That does not make up for incredibly poor writing. If Kara has been able to see the phantoms since she arrived, why would she never mention them? Wonder about them? Remember what they were? Even if she saw them but couldn't remember what they were, you'd think she might have said something. But no, of course she didn't, because this isn't remotely what anyone had planned from the start. And I hear you say that, and Kelly wasn't writing the book the whole time and had to pick up from the middle. Yes, certainly. And it could have been done in such a way as to jive with continuity, and instead continuity is thrown out the window like so much scummy bathwater.

For great justice.

Not to mention this book's alarming propensity to completely forget about people and events that are played up as big and important (Cassandra Cain, mortally wounded! Power Boy, an abusive fink with an exploding Father Box which means bad news!), only to be simply forgotten about and left by the wayside, either showing the lack of care and concern on the part of the writer or the lack of care and concern on the part of Kara, both of which are equally disturbing. Actually I think the latter is MORE disturbing, because if Kelly actually INTENDED to not mention Cassandra Cain or the exploding Father Box again, it would mean he is choosing to have Kara NOT CARE about these things and that borders on travesty.

This is hands down the absolute WORST issue of the entire run thus far, especially since it makes all of the other issues bad by default for Kara apparently being able to see these Phantoms (which are such Serious Business that she needed to KILL A ROOM FULL OF CHILDREN, which is way over the line for a Superman or Supergirl comic, if you ask me... but in a book that features incest, who am I to judge?) but was no longer bothered by seeing when she got to Earth.

I will tell you one thing, my friends.

All your Supergirl are belong to Joe Kelly.

3Art - 3: It's not Churchill! Throw a party!

I actually somewhat enjoyed the art in this book, and was going to give it a 4, but I had to knock it down a point for two terrible inconsistencies. One was probably the fault of whoever wrote the "plot" or "story" or both, but on page 5 Zor-El has a sunstone on a chain around his neck. On page 7, he crushes it. On page 9, it's back and in perfect shape again, and he uses it to stab the thugs threatening his family in the alleyway.

I really don't know whose fault that inconsistency was, but I wanted to mention it and since it's only a visual thing it gets mentioned here. But I didn't knock the art for it since I can't be sure it was an artistic oversight.

What I DID knock the art down a point for was Kara. She looked great in the opening pages, and when we flash back to Krypton she suddenly looks like she's 9. Well, perhaps this was long before Krypton exploded so it's not a big deal. True. But she looks the same way through the entire flashback, including when she kills her mother AND when Baby Kal is hanging around in Lara's arms.

She was in stasis the entire time on her trip to earth, was she not? Wasn't that established? She didn't age. And yet, according to the art in this book, she most certainly did. More inconsistency or continuity thrown out the window, or both.

However, all of that aside, I enjoyed the art in this book and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this book, at least in terms of the visuals.

4Cover Art - 4: Actually this is a pretty good cover, having high relevance to the interior story. Kara looks a bit too young here, I think, but overall it's a strong image for a book that unfortunately wasn't as strong.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2007

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