Last issue I swore off this comic, as the new lead creative team of Kelly Puckett and Drew Johnson failed to grab me. Heck, they pretty much tossed me away, presenting a terribly confusing story of Supergirl on a space mission for Superman and the Green Lantern Corps. The worst aspect was the (mis)use of silent panels. Johnson isn’t an unattractive artist, and he’s growing with each assignment, but either he failed to get across the relevant information in his panels or, more likely, Puckett forgot that while he knows what his story is, the reader may need a few hints.
But that was last issue. I must get over it, move on with my life, so let’s see, what have we here? A cover with the main image in letters too large to easily read. Lovely. Straining, it says Ghosts of Krypton. We see Supergirl being spied on by spooky skeletons in Superman costumes. Can’t wait to see how that comes into play.
Inside, the first few pages follow on from last issue’s set-up – Kara is off to see if she can find the alien spaceship she lost last time. Apart from the recap page and a one-word thought box, the first four pages are silent. As best as I can tell, Supergirl goes through a portal in her bathroom, comes back and takes a deep breath (last month ‘established’ that she can hold her breath in space for just two hours, an arbitrary limit never previously mentioned and out of kilter with Superman having long since cast off the breathing equipment he used in the Exile storyline), sucking up a variety of object in a comedic manner. And it is a fun scene, an original scene. But the silence continues as Superman is found to be in his cousin’s apartment and for some reason she expels all the rubber ducks, bog roll and so on in his direction.
I’m not against a minimal use of silence in comic books. It made sense in the first scene here, but when Superman shows up we could expect a few words to be exchanged, rather than snitty looks. When the cousins do start chatting, there’s a distinct lack of realistic interaction. Supergirl tells Superman she’s been off trying to sort out the spaceship business, he tells her not to worry, it’s all happily concluded. But does he give her details? Do we know what the fight was that he and the GLC were involved in? Nah, that’s not important right now. Apparently. And Supergirl doesn’t ask him, I assumed because she was sizing him up . . . this guy is acting suspiciously, with strangely burned arms and coming out with cryptic and creepy comments. By the time he says he has a surprise for her it was obvious this was a Phantom Zoner or somesuch, with a projector ready to doom Kara to the dark dimension. But no, he’s wanting to take her to a holographic home movie of Krypton he’s created, eliciting memories from Supergirl, who, unlike him, had a Kryptonian upbringing.
Last time we saw her on Krypton in this series, she was the jewel-encrusted killer stooge of her evil scientist father, Zor-El. Now she remembers her mother as the scientist while her father is a (forest? Scarlet Jungle?) ranger. And he’s ever so nice, welcoming brother Jor-El and family for snacks. She leaves Krypton in her rocket without killing her mom. Which is nice. And the final picture is Kara sitting in a tree, one dotted with crystals.
Dearie Lord, I thought after all the origin shenanigans we’ve gone through in this series that Krypton would remain untouched for awhile. A few months ago Joe Kelly gave us a story which left it open as to whether or not Kara was a killer chandelier. It would have been great to be told that all that nonsense was indeed nonsense, but readers could choose the Never Happened, Dark Angel Played With Your Head option. Yet here she is again, hanging out with shiny spiky things. Just leave it out, DC. Give us a couple of years of Supergirl living in the now, establishing her heroic place in the DCU. If you must touch on who she is and how she came to be, give us the definitive story, no ambiguity. And move on.
There were a few nice moments in this issue. The aforementioned bathroom scene was amusing. Kara uses her powers in a way Superman hadn’t thought of. She has a sweet anecdote to share at book’s end. Other than that, though . . . Kelly Puckett, you’re not writing Batgirl. Cut out the mute scenes. And then we’ll talk.