It’s not often that a superhero comic contains images so extreme I won’t share them here. But there’s a scene in this issue that’s just gross, inserted for shock effect. The moment in question comes soon after Kara returns to Earth following the Rogol Zaar business, a certain Superdog at her side.
Isn’t that lovely? The people of National City are delighted to see her, including school pal Ben Rubel, who’s been hanging out with the Titans during Kara’s sojourn in space.
Before we join her this time, in the Leviathan Rising Special Kara visited her home to check in with foster parents Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers, but the DEO agents are missing, their home destroyed by the mysterious Leviathan. Supergirl doesn’t know who or what this person or organisation is, but she knows a woman who might.
It’s a while since the super-scientist has appeared in this book and it’s good to see her, even better to see Kara greet her so cheekily. Shay Veritas is obviously nervous and admits she’s hiding from Leviathan as it picks off the covert organisations and operatives of the DC Universe. Having made Eliza’s cybernetic hand, she’s able to trace it to Pennsylvania.
To a morgue.
Supergirl speeds off and finds a woman in a body bag. A very decomposed woman who we’re shown in grisly detail.
So yeah, as talented as penciller Eduardo Pansica and inker Eber Ferreira are, I won’t show their work here. The next scene is more palatable.
That’s nice writing from Marc Andreyko, snappily sketching the bond between Eliza and Kara, while Pansica captures emotions like Billy-O. I don’t think we need the slightly corny ‘sniff’ but this page more than does the job of showing Kara believes she’s found the corpse of Eliza. The previous page? Unnecessary.
Next up, Kara is ambushed by agents of Leviathan, but hey, she’s the Girl of Steel and she’s not having a good day.
That’s a great angle in the first panel, a mostly unseen Supergirl dominating the scene, with one of the thugs visibly nervous. And while I’d have canned that ‘sniff’, Krypto’s sad whining is perfect for the moment.
And as the book comes to a close, one agent turns out to be very familiar…
If you’ve read the comics, you’ll know that’s not all we get – that Year of the Villain banner on the cover is the motivation for an upgraded Brainiac… well, almost. It’s a Brainiac drone offered the chance of a big green upgrade by the all-new, all-worse Lex Luthor. And this is how he winds up looking.
A throwaway Brainiac bug. I do hope he comes and goes quickly.
Editorially driven villain plotline apart… well, editorially driven villain plotline and unnecessarily gruesome corpse scene apart, this is a terrific issue. Kara seems far more at ease on earth than in space, even though her National City life has fallen apart in her absence.
I like that ‘Shay, Shay, Shay…’ line. I like that despite discovering Maybe-Eliza, Kara stays focused as Leviathan strikes, with the presence of mind to use a lackey as a shield against kryptonite. I love that she adores Krypto.
And to be fair to Andreyko, even the Brainiac business is well-written, with the drone appropriately incredulous that Lex would gift anyone anything out of the simple badness of his heart.
Why doesn’t Eduardo Pansica get more praise? He’s forever popping up at DC providing sharply composed, expressive scenes, and I’m always delighted to see his byline. Part of the reason that corpse page is so unpleasant is that he’s so darn good. And that opening image of Kara swooping from the sky shows just what inker Eber Ferreira and colourist FCO Plascencia can do, sharpening the lines, making the blacks bolder, adding a blush to Kara’s cheeks, telling us it’s twilight… a breezy job of lettering is provided by Tom Napolitano and the whole thing is edited by Jessica Chen under the watchful eye of planetary overlord Brian Cunningham.
Capping the issue is a very dynamic cover illustrated by Jesus Merino and coloured by Plascencia. And that white/green colour combo on the logo is a favourite of mine that we don’t see nearly often enough.
Forget what we know is coming in Kara’s near future. Sit back and enjoy the best Supergirl issue in ages.