Supergirl #42 review

‘It all ends here’ says the blurb on Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ivan Plascencia’s dramatic cover image, to which I say, thank goodness. This book has been a cheerless affair for many an issue, even DC have lost faith in it, refusing to release the final issues in print – a rotten slap in the face for print collectors. So let’s just wrap the thing up and hope for a rosier future for the Girl of Steel.

Things certainly don’t look good as the ‘Where Do We Go? Finale’ begins. In the aftermath of her Infected period, Kara is being pursued by US army General Banes, wearing a Luthor super-suit loaded with green Kryptonite. Supergirl hasn’t got time to fight, she has people to save from a hurricane. Banes tries to gain an advantage by grabbing Krypto, who’s been helping Kara out.

An understandably angry Supergirl saves Krypto and the battle with Banes begins. It’s made harder by the fact Supergirl is having flashbacks to her time as a thrall to the Batman Who Laughs. And now she’s seeing people from her past. Bad people, out to undermine her confidence and sense of self.

She can’t trust what’s in front of her, and she’s fearful for Krypto’s safety.

As I never tire of saying, good dog!

The fight continues, with Kara realising that some of the hallucinations are imposed over Banes, while others are just things she’s projecting. She seizes a moment of clarity to speak to the super-soldier.

With her foe out of her hair, Supergirl pushes beyond the weakness caused by Banes’ green K attacks and saves people trapped in a crumbling building with a classic super-feat.

Banes does nothing to help, she’s standing back, waiting to take Kara into custody. When the opportunity comes, Supergirl, in her right mind again, agrees. But…

And Kara zooms away with Krypto at her side, thinking about her place in the world.

Isn’t that depressing? Bad enough that Supergirl rededicates herself to Earth yet again – it happens at the end of pretty much every Bold New Direction – but she can’t even manage a smile? She’s going to hang around because Earth folk need to know that Krypton was so much better? Has she not read her own comics?

Even dear old Krypto looks miserable as sin.

And just as Kara rejects the idea of pretending to be an Earth girl, so DC Editorial cans the notion that loyal readers – the poor dullards who pay the bills – deserve closure to the series rather than an ungainly stop. Back on Earth Kara Danvers is classed as a missing person. Her foster mother has been murdered and her foster dad is Lord knows where.

These long-running plot points are ignored. And now Supergirl is, presumably, a wanted fugitive, having fled rather than face the US government because it’s not like she has anyone to speak up for her.

We’ve seen a fair few endings to Supergirl series over the last couple of decades, but this is the worst. DC knew they were pulling the plug ages ago, but rather than use the last couple of issues to tie up some loose ends and leave Supergirl in a good place, she’s flying off, grim faced. ‘Where do we go?’ asks the title page. That question remains unanswered.

What’s actually going on in that penultimate page? Two suns and a moon in the sky in panel two? Kara floating by a sun in the next image? Crashing through some random glass at the bottom of the page?

What were the hallucinations even about, suddenly there were two types and she couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t, despite her enhanced senses? Banes is pretty horrible but you can’t blame her for not trusting Supergirl after she went from giggle demon to deluded metahuman. Are we to assume the visions have gone away indefinitely? Were they an after-effect of her corruption, or was an unseen enemy sending them? Answers on a postcard…

This issue again showcased how good Rachael Stott is with composition and action and speed and facial expressions – check out the eyeball roll as Supergirl races away from Cyborg-Dad back there. And Jodie Houser does a good job with Kara’s internal monologue, she’s resolute and caring. The love between a girl and her dog is wonderful and it‘s great to see the rescued folk fight for Kara – but I’m sick and tired of Supergirl having a terrible time overall. Where’s the joy that should surround a young woman with super powers facing a world of opportunity!

Maybe we’ll see some of that as Kara joins the House of Kent story that’s just begun in Brian Bendis’s Superman title. Perhaps she’s being prepared for a berth at Bendis’ super-sunny Wonder Comics imprint. I just hope Supergirl gets a new series quickly, so I can forget how this initially promising book was thrown into the DC Depressor, chewed up and spat out.

More than anything, I hope Kara finds a strong champion at DC Comics, someone who can lead her in the confident, optimistic direction that best suits the character. She works on TV. She works in books for kids. Why is it so hard to make a Supergirl comic actually super?

To end on a lighter note, remember that old gag that starts: ‘My dog’s got no nose.’ I think Rachael Stott does…

4 thoughts on “Supergirl #42 review

  1. Terrific review, your analysis on this series’ failures are spot on. What a disappointing conclusion to this series. Supergirl deserved a better ending than another story where Kara loses faith in Earth, gets corrupted, overcomes said corruption and tries to find her place amongst humanity. It’s a repetitive cycle that Supergirl writers go through when they don’t know what to do with the character. Still, Supergirl is appearing on a variant cover to Death Metal so maybe the next writer can do something better with Kara that will please her fans and keep sales up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Louis, thanks for the kind words. That Death Metal cover is great, if I hear good things about Kara’s part in it, I’ll be there… otherwise, I think that first issue was enough!

      Well, I say that, you know how pathetically weak I am!

      Like

  2. I agree wholeheartedly here.

    Everything is cheerless here.
    The hallucinations magically go away.
    And the ‘I choose Earth’ here is so lackluster. Almost like she is being forced to. ‘I guess I can’t have Krypton, the better home, so I’ll choose Earth.’

    I hate to see a time when there isn’t a Supergirl book on the shelves. But let’s face it, this hasn’t really been a Supergirl book.

    Like

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