Supergirl #34


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Supergirl #34


  • Words: Sterling Gates
  • Art: Jamal Igle
  • Inks: Keith Champagne
  • Colors: Nei Ruffino
  • Story Title: Why the World Doesn?t Need Supergirl
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Oct 1, 2008

Supergirl struggles to find her place but the public isn’t as patient or forgiving. Will the Girl of Steel figure it all out?

With only 34 issues to its name, it is a bit surprising the amount of struggles this title has gone through. With a number of different creative teams and a number of different takes on the character, can writer Sterling Gates figure out what makes Supergirl tick?

Daily Planet reporter Cat Grant has an axe to grind with Supergirl and she is not above using the paper to grind it. Meanwhile, the Girl of Steel in question has a tussle with Silver Banshee that soon impacts the local population and they are not appreciative of Supergirl’s efforts. Going to various members of the Justice League and the Teen Titans for advice, she finds their responses deepen her confusion instead of lifting it. It may take someone unexpected, however, to lead her in a new direction.

Gates takes a very daring approach here. As part of the new creative team he does not start with a big splash or an "earth-shattering" multi-part story arc. Instead he chooses to tell a story that is a done-in-one, light on the action and heavy on the characterization. He also chooses to keep the story small – making it human instead of cosmic. Gates also cannily uses small vignettes to both move the story along and also set out Supergirl’s relationships with the various heroes, hero teams, and Superman supporting characters for the benefit of new readers who may be using the new creative team as a jumping on point. As for the story itself? Like its subject matter, it isn’t earth-shattering but it is solid and gives a clear indication of the direction Gates intends to move in. More to the point, though, he does manage to strike a nice balance of making Supergirl seem emotionally like a real teenager – someone who can be selfish one minute and selfless the next, someone who can still be hurt by the words and attitudes of others no matter how much she wants to pretend otherwise, someone who can be arrogant but also insecure. This emotional depth is far more important than making the character speak in current teen slang or trying to make her somehow unique or dramatic.

As the other half of the new creative team, Jamal Igle takes over the artistic duties. Igle is no stranger to the comic book world, nor a stranger to DC Comics readers. His work is well known and he has acquired a solid fan base in recent years. He turns in his usual good work as well for this issue; giving Supergirl a unique face and bringing some of her proportions into a more normal and believable range. He also does a great job with the backgrounds and settings. He places the characters into scenes and melds the two together whereas for some artists the background is an afterthought (or not thought of at all). Igle’s figures all seem to be a part of the environment and interact with it.

Gates appears to be on the right track by focusing on emotion and a universal sense of insecurity – something that everyone can relate to. He is not trying to make Supergirl different but rather make her more similar to people and then use that to highlight the differences. It is hard to judge based on one issue alone but readers may be (cautiously?) optimistic that the Girl of Steel is in good hands.

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