I do like a natty dresser, so cosmic despot Harry Hokum’s style makes up for his daft name. Hokum is the guy who’s captured Kara as we rejoin her quest to learn the truth behind Krypton’s end. While Kara usually has an eye for fashion – she’s currently dragging a brand new wardrobe of super-suits through space – she doesn’t seem to appreciate Harry’s style. Mind, she is a bit tied up.
Thing is, she’s away from Earth’s yellow sun and Kara has expanded her reserves of power. If only there were a solar energy-wielding alien around she could goad into blasting her…
Job done. Keeping her power upgrade to herself, Kara allows herself to be thrown into one of Citadel chief Hokum’s cells, not suspecting that just as she’s been collecting sun rays, he’s been harvesting her Kryptonian DNA.
Soon, Kara is freeing innocents tossed into the prison, and it turns out she’s arrived on the very day some other superheroes have planned a spot of freedom fighting.
Yes indeed, it’s the Omega Men, never favourites of mine, which is why Harry Hokum, who originated in their Eighties series, is new to me. I know them from many a guest shot, though, and the recent maxi-series by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda (a dark, intense read that will be especially enjoyed by fans of formalism). I’m certainly glad to see them here, because Kara needs a hand and they have many, with powers aplenty at their alien fingertips.
I like that despite no encounters I can recall, Kara knows the Omega Men, and Harry Hokum too – she’s the student of the Superman Family, the teenage scientist, so it makes sense she’d have researched the galaxy’s heroes and villains. Further evidence of her sharp mind comes with her delightfully devious recharge, and subsequent successful jailbreak – writer Marc Andreyko is showing Supergirl as a hugely competent heroine, one with a terrifically spunky attitude.
Kara’s companion, Coluan archaeologist Z’ndr Kol (he’s good enough to talk to himself, reminding me of a name I’ve not yet learned), is away from the action, offworld in Kara’s space hopper, but he and Krypto do show up on panel.
Is that a Lassie reference? I think so. Other pop culture nods include a planet named for Omega Men writer Roger Slifer (spelled ‘Slifor’) and a spaceship name that’s somewhere between Star Trek and an obscure UK pop group. It all adds to the fun without distracting from the story.
One reference we don’t get is to Rogol Zaar, the creature who thinks he destroyed Krypton. He doesn’t receive so much as a namecheck this time. Wonderful, I’m tired of that guy.
Kevin Maguire is back on pencils, accompanied by a trio of inkers and a couple of colourists and the book is expressive, airy and bright – perfect Supergirl artwork. Look at the excellent execution of Kara’s goading of Splyce, the emotions (real and acted) on those faces. It’s almost as marvellous as Harry Hokum’s tailoring!
A word of thanks, too, to letterer Tom Napolitano for fine work throughout and, especially, top use of logos in dialogue balloons. Oh, and nice one Marc Andreyko for giving every Omega Person a proper introduction.
Illustrator Yanick Pacquette and colour artist Nathan Fairbairn give us the quietly dramatic regular cover, while Stanley ‘Artgerm’ Lau produces an instant classic starring Streaky the Supercat – if this isn’t on a tee shirt some day soon, DC needs its corporate head examined by the Warner’s equivalent of the Citadel scientists.
For great art, a script that rattles along nicely, and a wonderfully smart portrayal of Kara, this is my favourite Supergirl issue since Marc Andreyko came on board. I’d love to know what you thought.