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Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom #2

Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 19, 2008

Cover date: Late January 2009

"Maelstrom" - Part 2

Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Penciller: Phil Noto
Inker: Phil Noto

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Kal and Kara spend some quality time together on a planet with a red sun as Maelstrom is thrown into the Gladitorium. Despite her better efforts she fails to gain his affection and is sent to the slave pit, where she attempts a coup and fails. Meanwhile Kal and Kara really talk about her efforts to settle into life on Earth, his upbringing and his stance on eating meat. Eventually Kara grows frustrated and storms off only to find herself in the dark and surrounded by sinister, glowing eyes.

3Story - 3: How can a story do just as much right as it does wrong?

As with the last issue I approached this book with a certain amount of trepidation. Two weeks ago I was pretty sure that hatred and bile were going to spew from my fingertips and that I was going to hate the first issue. I didn't. I actually ended up liking it, which made me even more nervous about the second issue because the chance for disappointment was even greater.

In the final analysis I have to admit that I was both impressed and let down, which made for a kind of depressing reading experience.

So on one hand this issue was very character driven and mainly centered on Clark and Kara just talking about...everything; her issues, why he is such a country bumpkin sometimes, Batman. A lot of ground is covered and I thoroughly enjoyed most of those scenes. It was compelling and made me feel something for Kara and her plight.

On the other hand there were times when all of that ground that was gained got lost when she decided to act like a petulant child. Now you could argue that this is how a teenage girl would act. One minute they seem like they have everything together and the next they're having a huge meltdown while in line to see TWILIGHT because their BFF didn't call them like she promised. My problem with that argument, sound though it may be, is the fact that at the end of the day this is all we have seen of Kara, though that did change significantly last month. While I applaud the various writers who have handled Kara since her return and their attempt to set her far apart from the original Kara Zor-El I think that this type of writing takes it too far and is a bit frustrating because of that.

The Maelstrom end of the story didn't do all that much for me this time out. She's fighting in an arena, she's still trying to gain Great Darkseid's attention and she still hasn't really accomplished all that much. I have the feeling that once Maelstrom faces Superman and Supergirl again her arc will pick up but I am wondering if I'll care by then.

This issue was a definite three. When it was on it was on. When it wasn't the story held no interest for me. I'm still up and down about my feelings towards the next issue, but in all honesty with the way this issue went I am thinking that things can only get worse from here.

I hope I'm wrong.

4Art - 4: My feelings about the art haven't really changed all that much from last issue. It's good, it's not my cup of tea and I think Superman looks too old. Other than that Noto has a good handle on the action but it is the quieter moments where he really shines.

Good stuff. Wish I liked it more.

4Cover Art - 4: This is not a bad cover. It really isn't. The art is good. Superman still looks a bit off but I am getting to be something of a broken record on that score. The thing is there is something about the fact that Supergirl is tying back her hair that bugs me and I can't put my finger on why. I mean it's an interesting composition and it makes her seem distracted, which makes the fact that they are being watched all the more humorous. The thing is that it makes her seem...I don't know. Flighty? The biggest concern fans have had with this Supergirl is that she seems to be kind of vapid until very recently, so to show her being more concerned about her hair plays into that. On the other hand maybe she just needed to put her hair up and this was just a very natural shot of her doing so.

In either case it was a good cover that left me with mixed feelings.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2009

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