Supergirl had a rough time of things between Crisis on Infinite Earths and the new DCU. For years, she was not allowed to be Kryptonian due to DC’s editorial mandate. This lead to a convoluted back story that made the character less than accessible. Then, DC finally decided to bring back the most recognizable version of the character, Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-el.
Kara’s return in Superman/Batman was a big hit. It was written by Jeph Loeb back when that still meant something. And more importantly, it was drawn by fan-favorite artist Michael Turner. Turner was known for drawing women, so Loeb worked in lots of opportunities for him to do so. Famously, Kara walked around most of the first issue naked.
I’m taking this trip down memory lane because Supergirl #1 reminded me a lot of the story Loeb wrote. But unlike Loeb’s story, Michael Green and Mike Johnson’s Supergirl isn’t just a bunch of fan service strung together. This new introduction hits some of the same story beats, but it is superior in every conceivable way.
Once again, Supergirl arrives on earth during a meteor shower. Only this time, instead of landing in Gotham naked, she arrives in Siberia already wearing her Supergirl costume. She crawls out of a crater on a world that is completely alien to her. The narration does an excellent job of capturing her confusion. Kara believes she is in a dream.
During the Loeb era, Supergirl was frequently portrayed as a bratty teen without a brain her head. She was angsty and that was her only character trait. But Green and Johnson allow their version of Kara to be pensive. She pauses to examine her alien surroundings. It’s great to see a more thoughtful version of the character.
This being a super hero comic, Supergirl’s thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of armored soldiers who want to capture her. Since she only speaks Kryptonian, negotiations don’t go anywhere and a battle ensues. Kara is frightened, by the soldiers, the alien surroundings and the strange effect that the sun is having on her.
I thought the fight scene between Kara and the soldiers was really well done. You can feel Kara’s building frustration as she struggles with her new powers. Heat vision erupts from her eyes. She is nearly overcome by the cacophony of sounds she picks up with her super hearing. But when she gets her focus, she rips through the metal armor like she’s opening a can of tuna.
There is nothing here we haven’t seen before. The story is very similar to the one Loeb wrote years ago. But the execution is what sets this version apart. Where Loeb’s script was loud and stupid, this version is thoughtful. And it’s paired with beautiful artwork from Mahmud Asrar.
The issue served as a terrific introduction to this version of Supergirl. I look forward to reading more about her.