Supergirl: Being Super

Mariko Tamaki
Oct 9, 2019

In Supergirl: Being Super Canadian author Ms. Tamaki sets us in a "Friday Night Lights" community that reminds me an of apotheosis of Americana; a dream vision of flyover country.  Quite simply illustrator Joelle Jones is the worthiest exclusive find that the publisher DC has netted in a while.  Within comic books and graphic novels, her Supergirl is specific.  While Kara is well-built, the sensuality is not over-sold, which is refreshing for superhero comics.  I would have loved the angst-filled tone to drop off even more, as in the chapter "For All Seasons," in which the story is threadbare, hanging its narrative hat first and foremost, in a sense of place .  We see this more in cosmic and mystical beginnings fare, so having the slugfests here drop away and not be consigned to the tedium they half the time embody is refreshing.  Our woman-of-steel Kara was found on a farm similar to her famous cousin.  This is a good retelling and a much more complex, real, and well-developed Kara.  It is nice to have a complete stand-alone character-driven story.  I have never been keen on the modern tendencies to make superheroes darker and darker, and the well-crafted dialogue here bucks that trend.  This alien superhero is more fun, and not as psychotic as some of the others.  This is almost all setup and origin story, but from the humanoid alien's vantage point.  We learn why Kara ended up on Earth and see her potential awaken, and still see her having fun with her best friends.  This does have some angst and there is drama with her friendships, but this all fits in with her new frame.  I appreciated the light touch with her adoptive parents, the hints about Krypton, and the fact that Kara got to have a funny kick-the-bad-guys-down friend, (who steals every scene she's in), to help her with her secret identity.  There's violence and loss and action and self-doubt and everything else you might expect from a sixteen-year-old girl coming of age story, but it all seemed to be directed to an authentic and hopefully even upbeat take on Supergirl.  You will not know that for sure from this volume of Supergirl alone.  Our superheroine story is long, but it doesn't kick in to phase two until the last few pages.  But that's the nature of both origin stories and stories about teenage girls. Our teenage superhero story is entertaining, (and the art is crisp, colorful, expressive, and dynamic), and it shows promise.

Reviewed by Anne G
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