Supergirl is at the end of her quest to learn the truth behind Krypton’s destruction. The world of her birth was murdered by Rogol Zaar, egged on by Gandelo of the Trilium Collective. Teamed with her cousins Superman and Superboy, trusty Superdog Krypto and Phantom Zone criminals Zod and Jax-Ur, she confronts Zaar. Supergirl wields Zaar’s own emotionally driven axe, her anger allowing her to wrest control of it from him. And boy, does she know how to deliver a winning blow.
Winning, but not fatal. That’s not what she wants.
Note that ‘almost’ – earlier in writer Marc Andreyko’s run I’d not have put it past his bitter, angry Kara to have had a crack at killing Zaar. Here, though, after carving an arc with the axe, she reaches the end of her emotional arc.
We see her fresh state of mind in a wonderfully written scene, beautifully presented by penciller Kevin Maguire and colourist FCO Plascencia (I love the new way he’s treating Kara’s hair, with brown lines for texture rather than the traditional black, or those silly Manga splotches).
And at the end of the issue, after the Legion of Super-Heroes have made the scene (click on the bold text here for my review of the rather relevant Superman #14), Kara makes a big decision about where she wants to go next.
Having got the angst out of her system, it’s time to return home. OK, the Leviathan Special a few months back told us she’s not headed for the rosiest of receptions, but let’s for now focus on the fact that the Girl of Steel is herself again, centred, in love with life and her family. She even has a date in prospect.
OK, we’ll probably never see the stupidly spelled Z’ndr – or the Omega Man Riand’r, with whom she shared a moment in recent times – again, but I’m fine with that. This is Supergirl. She jolly well should be breaking hearts across time and space
The quest storyline never really cohered, it felt, and read, as if changes kept being made to the Brian Bendis-masterminded main storyline, meaning Andreyko gets some leeway for the especially rough moments. This very issue has two pages drawn by Not Kevin Maguire – peppy penciller Eduardo Pansica, ace inker Julio Ferreira and clever colourist Chris Sotomayor. Something changed after the script was approved months ago; solicits, or maybe it was just gossip, said Superman was going to become President of the Universe at the end of the Unity storyline that’s run through Supergirl and Superman. That hasn’t happened, yet we get Supergirl saying:
There’s been nothing, either this issue or in Superman #14, to motivate that line from Kara. Was her cousin meant to accept the office here but it’s been shifted to the upcoming Superman #15 so the pages were redrawn? Whatever happened, the pages we get are lovely, with Supergirl thinking about how much she loves Kal and Jon (mind, she’s seriously underestimating her own ability to work a crowd).
Other things I love are Supergirl again being a real joker around Jon, Z’ndr finding his purpose and the reminder that Kara is a science whiz.
Maguire made his reputation with expressive, naturalist facial acting and body language and he shows this facility throughout. I especially like the second panel of this fantastic conversation between the senior Super-Cousins, which is pure Maguire while somehow evoking classic Supergirl artist Jim Mooney.
And doesn’t it read like Superman has a big new role? It could simply be that DC wants to announce the presidency in his own book.
And then there’s this spread by Maguire and Plascencia.
Whoa! If that doesn’t sell the Legion’s upcoming relaunch, nothing will.
Kudos to everyone involved with this issue, from the aforementioned creators to Scott Hanna, who inked a few pages, and letterer Tom Napolitano. Maguire and Sotomayor produced the gloriously cathartic cover.
All in all, this is a terrific close to an arc that has, to say the least, had a few problems. Let’s see where Andreyko and friends take Kara next – will she be able to stay optimistic for more than five minutes? Read on…