Kandor is dead, destroyed by mad extraterrestrial Rogol Zaar. But Supergirl isn’t convinced he could commit something as big as genocide alone. She plans to fly out into space to find answers. Clark doesn’t want her to go.
In National City, Kara tries to contact foster mother Eliza Danvers to say goodbye, but she not available, so it’s off to the destroyed Arctic Fortress of Solitude to pick up the defeated Zaar’s massive axe in the hope it will offer up a clue. She knows a man who can scan – Green Lantern’s ring can do almost anything.
Dead end. Hal Jordan tries to help Kara in another way – with advice.
Back at the Fortress, Kara prepares her spaceship, the Krypton Chicken (I may have made that up), for a long trip… and finds she has a ‘co-pilot’.
Superman wants her to take his trusted dog, as company and back-up. Having been short with Superman and less than responsive to Hal’s advice, surely she’s going to send the Dog of Steel off to the Doghouse of Solitude?
Nope. And Kara’s new costume symbol apart, that’s the only real bit of brightness in a pretty depressing issue. It opens with a flashback to Argo’s destruction, and a reminder that millions of Kandorians are gone. Then there’s Supergirl pulling rank on Superman, she doesn’t manage to hug Eliza goodbye and she basically dismisses the advice of Green Lantern, probably the one person on the planet who really does know how she feels.
New writer Marc Andreyko ignores the warm feelings Kara has developed over the relatively short time she’s been on Earth – she puts Martha and Jonathan Kent in quotes as Superman’s ‘parents’ – and then there’s this:
‘…so human.’ I can’t believe we’re back to a Supergirl who feels so distant from her adopted world that she sounds contemptuous of its people. It’s like Andreyko – whose work I’ve enjoyed on the likes of Manhunter – hasn’t read the last couple of years of Supergirl, never mind the New 52 stuff that came before it. This is Supergirl back to Square One, a young woman who would rather go off into space, alone, than stay on Earth and talk things through with her cousin – who could do with a friend himself – adopted family and the friends she’s made. Thank heavens for Krypto, who brings a smile to her face.
I do like that Kara’s science smarts are referenced, even though I wouldn’t be surprised if Andreyko got there by accident.
It’s very handy that the destroyed Fortress has a previously unmentioned hanger of alternate super-costumes, including one that stores solar radiation, but it’s not the first time a Supergirl has conveniently gained a costume.
I really could do without this new direction being so tied to Brian Michael Bendis’s Superman run – he even gets thanked in the credits – but unpromising starts have sometimes led to great arcs, such as Supergirl’s Red Lantern period. By the end of this issue things are already improving, so hopefully it’s onward and upward for a Supergirl who, with Krypto at her side, can’t stay sad and angry all the time. It’s apparent Andreyko wants to heal Kara, so hopefully she’ll solve the mystery of Zaar within six months and then return to the role she should have, one of Earth’s greatest protectors.
A big plus is the artwork of penciller Kevin Maguire, inker Sean Parsons and colourist FCO Plascencia. Maguire’s reputation for capturing facial expressions will remain undimmed after this issue, because as Andreyko puts Kara through the ringer, there’s never any doubt as to what she’s feeling. Andreyko looks to be playing to Maguire’s strengths in the script, right down to giving Krypto those spotlight panels. And how great is that detail of an excited Krypto wagging his tail?
The new costume, being so classic, looks wonderful, though I’m never a fan of glowing chest emblems; hopefully, as with Green Lantern and Spider-Man, it’s just a phase she’s going through. The storytelling is generally terrific, and Parsons, with his clear line, is a great partner for Maguire, while Plascencia has put a lot of thought into the colours, I especially like the night-time tones of the Coast City sequence, with the glow reflected on Hal’s face in this expertly composed panel.
Big thanks, too, to letterer Tom Napolitano for giving us a version of Krypto’s Bronze Age logo!
One thing though, kids – seatbelts!
I like the main cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson, bar the weirdo costume Kara is sporting, while the variant from illustrator Amanda Conner and colourist Paul Mounts is a real winner, despite Kara’s right eye looking as if it’s about to explode.
In terms of craft, this is a great issue. In terms of story concept, I’m iffy. I’m going to be optimistic though, because that is Supergirl.