Overview

Supergirl #1

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Supergirl #1

Credits

  • Words: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
  • Art: Mahmud Asrar
  • Inks: Don Green with Asrar
  • Colors: Dave McCaig
  • Story Title: Last Daughter of Krypton
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 21, 2011

Supergirl's first touchdown with Earth doesn't go as smooth as hoped for, leaving first contact with readers wanting to know more about this strange new visitor, especially with regards to her odd attire.

Rocketed to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton, Supergirl fights not for truth, justice, and the American way, but for survival. As her rocket shoots through Kansas and ends up in Siberia, the Visitor Protocols set forth make this an international incident. When multiple mecha show up to take this strange visitor from another world in, her burgeoning power set might make this harder than they expected. Supergirl is rebooted and relaunched towards the new DC Universe, and has a whole new world to explore.

The first thing you'll notice, in the dialogue-light issue, is that the art is a mixed bag. Some parts are great, especially the first few pages. With more subdued coloring, Asrar's pencils really work well. Once things hit the light of day, coloring goes full-tilt the other way; instead of showing of color gradients with ease, everything is washed out and sharply contrasting. Given that two pages of the "snow at dark" scene can look vastly different, it's not hard to imagine that there's some disconnect between the four-person art crew. The only design problem that comes from the book is in the way Supergirl's new outfit is drawn. If Superman's new armor is a Kryptonian battle armor, and Supergirl's outfit is one she'd get for when she graduates, it's cut a little high for the girl. This isn't a desire for the previous costume to come back (although, 1990s Supergirl with the white t-shirt is a great modernized take on the character), this is just honest questioning about the logic of it. If anything, it'd make sense for Supergirl to be wearing a slightly-modified Superman outfit. While the S shield is a different design and the cape more of a cloak, this would work fine if she'd had some sort of change. As it stands, it comes off as either adult diapers (in a world where Superman's no longer wearing red shorts, the inspiration of red located down there is odd), or an oddly designed one-piece bodysuit that American Apparel would sell.

Admittedly, the story might chalk up some other reason; it doesn't seem as if Supergirl is inspired by Superman at this point. Visually, the conceit is clear; it definitely connects her to Superman more than Superboy's new look does.

All this could be given leeway if the story was great. Glitches in artwork here and questionable design elements there might be like a Supergirl with a bad outfit: the character might be great, it just doesn't know how to present itself. Many of the best of the New 52 are complete tales in one issue that set up the character for the new world. This issue, instead of just resetting Linda Lang for her new role, instead is an origin tale of her beginnings on Earth. Not exactly sure if it's set in the past, but it doesn't seem so. Much of the plot is smart; Supergirl doesn't know English, and in fact thinks she's dreaming. She also reacts appropriately when her powers kick in due to the yellow sun. The story is well-structured, lacks any significant flaws in storytelling, gets aspects of the character across, teases enough in-story and New 52 plot points (and actually has a neat crossover to other books when super-hearing kicks in) to aid in world building, and gives a good beginning to a Supergirl that doesn't seem like she'll be hanging out with Batgirl anymore.

The largest problem is that it's a Part One. It's not in name, but this is an anathema to DC's new avoidance of "writing for the trade." No questions are answered, no battles are won, the story just comes to a cold stop when the second non-grunt of the book appears. If you were on a date with Supergirl, she'd be smart and interesting, but her clothes wouldn't exactly match and you've barely had any real conversation. There's potential here, but you'll have to keep moving on to issue #2 to get to it.

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