Wednesday, June 20, 2012


STORY: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
ART: Mahmud Asrar

Supergirl is one of the most overlooked titles in DC's 'New 52.' It makes sense; Kara Zor-El is not one of the heavy hitters in DC's lineup of heroes, but she's also not as obscure as, say, Blue Devil or Vibe. No, Supergirl has pretty much always got the short end of the stick since her inception. I mean, this iteration of Supergirl is it's sixth volume. This is the sixth time Supergirl has been rebooted. That's absolutely ridiculous. Along with these reboots has followed a totally incomprehensible character history. So if you think about it, the 'New 52' was best for titles such as Supergirl - those lost in their own continuity, with nowhere else to turn. Like I said before, Supergirl is chronically passed over in favor of bigger titles like Wonder Woman and Superboy. This sucks because Michael Green and Mike Johnson have been building a pretty stable and well-structured world for young Kara. With a little more than just "Superman's cousin" to carry her title, Kara has been tested since the moment she arrived on Earth - including flying back to a ruined Krypton and fighting on a chunk of what was left with barely any powers - and has consistently come out ahead due to her unflinching determinism.

For the past few months, Kara's been kickin' it with Siobhan Smythe, a ballsy Irishwoman with a penchant for mastering foreign languages (including Kryptonian), and a bit of an evil spirit living in her that's being hunted by her father, the origin of that evil. Silver Banshee has been a longtime mainstay of the DC universe - mostly making trouble for Superman over the years - who here is recast as an anti-hero who has been cursed with this evil power by her father, Black Banshee - a new character created by Green and Johnson for this arc and one that I've really enjoyed so far.

While Silver Banshee's powers have mostly been based on her sonic scream (similar to Black Canary), ability to manipulate sound waves, etc. Black Banshee - on the worse hand - is all about the totally evil magics. He powers himself through sucking other souls into his own. This doesn't mean he eats souls to survive; he actually incorporates other souls into his own to make it stronger...more evil. That's a pretty twisted notion, and one that Green and Johnson take to it's literal extension when Kara attempts to 'overload' Black Banshee with her sun-soaked super-body. This tactic has the opposite desired effect and powers up Black Banshee more than he's ever felt.

The side effect of this amount of power results in a little bit of Kara manifesting itself within Black Banshee's soul, a world turned into a warped version of Kara's memories of Krypton. Green and Johnson write some pretty jarring moments as Kara travels through memories of moments that never happened; perversions of the memory of her previous life. Eventually, Kara meets Tom Smythe, Siobhan's older brother who sacrificed himself to Black Banshee years earlier to save his sister. Kara uses her residual energy to create a sword for herself and goes after Black Banshee, who has constituted himself as a Kryptonian flamedragon in Kara's memory.

The ending is what really makes Supergirl #10 interesting. After Kara and Tom are able to wound Black Banshee enough to force him to yak them out of his soul, Siobhan rears her silver head and lets loose a massive sonic scream that sucks Black Banshee into her own soul! She gives her dad a taste of his own medicine and traps him inside her own Banshee soul. It's an ending that's not only satisfying, but also promising for the future. Leaving Black Banshee alive (albeit, imprisoned) all but guarantees he'll be back to give Supergirl and Siobhan trouble in the future.

I'm seriously into Supergirl. Each month, it gets better and better. It completely outshines Superboy and Superman. The final pages of the issue introduce a character who uses a suit to change his shape (Chameleon, perhaps?), whose mission is to kill Supergirl! If Green and Johnson keep going with the same tenacity as before, things look good for the future of Supergirl.

Oh, and Siobhan reunites with her brother who was trapped inside Black Banshee for 15 years. That happens.


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