The women of the DCU continue to make their mark on the New 52. Crashing to Earth in Week 4 is Supergirl #1, a book that received a great deal of attention from fans when the first preview images were released in the summer. Want to know why? Read on!
Supergirl is a character that gets a new story almost as often as she gets a new costume. This time around, she gets both. Supergirl #1, like a handful of other New 52 titles, wipes the slate clean and re-introduces its protagonist into the DCnU. Plummeting to Earth in classic Kryptonian fashion, the Girl of Steel’s alien vessel touches down in (where else?) Kansas, but burrows through the planet until it comes out the other side in snowy Siberia. I could almost hear the writers saying, “Fooled you!” Our heroine emerges from the smoldering hole, already clad in her new attire, a costume that looks to be a cross between her classic ensemble and the suit worn by her Earth-2 counterpart, Power Girl. It was the first image of this new look that garnered attention from vocal fans. Immediate speculation began, citing the familiar costume and similar hair style as hints that the character of Karen Starr (Power Girl) would be the DNnU’s new Supergirl. Others feared that the physical blending of the two characters meant the exclusion of Power Girl from the New 52. As of the final page of Supergirl #1, these questions are still unanswered.
Meanwhile, back in Siberia, the frightened teen can’t even figure out where she is before she is accosted by a squad of armored soldiers. Co-writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson immediately get the reader emotionally invested in this scared and confused girl. How would you feel if you woke up in a frozen wasteland, surrounded by half-a-dozen giant robots that were shouting at you in a foreign language? Unfortunately, the empathy is fleeting. Just when Supergirl is about to be taken down, the sun comes up and her Kryptonian powers manifest. What follows is a prolonged fight scene that lasts for the rest of the book. Artist Mahmud Asrar’s stark style deftly portrays heat vision blasts and feats of strength that tear mechs apart, but before you know it, the book ends and you find yourself saying, “That’s it?” The abrupt ending is brought to you by none other than the Man of Steel himself, making an appearance not unlike his final page debut in Justice League #1. While he belongs among the other heroes in JL#1, Superman has made some New 52 cameos, including this one, that make it seem like the writers need to validate the lesser-known titles by throwing in a top-tier character. C’mon, guys, let the B and C-listers make it on their own merit.
Supergirl #1 starts out on a strong, emotional beat, establishing the sense of loneliness and isolation through both the character’s inner monologue and the dark, barren setting, but, sadly, it gets lost among the overly drawn-out action. With Big Blue now on the scene, expect some lectures about how humanity needs protecting and lessons on the finer points of superheroing in issue #2.