Supergirl #29 (DC)

Supergirl 29

Rating: 2.5/5 – Supergirl is now a petulant teenager with gritted teeth and RAGE!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Hank Johnson.

I have been reading Supergirl for the past several years. When Nick Spencer was announced on the title about 3 years ago, I gave it a try. In that one issue Spencer hooked me on the character, and I have been reading it ever since.  The problem is, the title suffers from a common problem of the “super” titles. How can you craft a compelling story when the main character can do almost anything? What Spencer, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Joe Kelly did on their runs was to turn the book’s focus to Kara Zor-El, the person, instead of Supergirl.  The pre-Flashpoint / post-Crisis Kara Zor-El could easily carry a book. Supergirl, especially this New52 version of her, can’t really do so effectively in my opinion.

One of the most maddening things about the New52 is we have a ‘new’ Kara Zor-El who is essentially unlikable (at least I don’t particularly like her). Instead of being the woman of powerful character, intellect, and vision we knew pre-Flashpoint, we have a petulant teenager with gritted teeth. While there are shining moments here and there in the new series, overall this title doesn’t shine like it once did. Gone are the days when Kara would team up with Stephanie Brown and fight Dracula (R.I.P. to Stephanie for the time being, she’ll be back).

This brings us to this latest issue, number 29. As proudly displayed on the cover, Supergirl is now a Red Lantern. On the upside we have some character development, Supergirl is now a petulant teenager with gritted teeth and RAGE!  While I am extremely disappointed in the direction the title has gone overall, I am even more disappointed by writer Tony Bedard’s attempt to make us care about Kara in this issue and empathize with her new plight.

The two flashback scenes are handled superficially and lacked any real emotion or compassion. In particular, the second cutaway scene was so amateurishly written it made me shake my head in disbelief after reading it.  To be fair, Bedard’s overall story craftsmanship is on full display in this issue. There are several plot elements happening simultaneously and he does a great job sewing them effectively and efficiently throughout the issue. These background story elements give me hope that once this crossover is done, Bedard can write a compelling Supergirl story.  If he will be left alone to craft his Supergirl story without any plot-line interference from DC Editorial is a question that is yet to be answered.

Yildiray Cinar’s art is good, but has a rushed feeling to it. There are a few panels with plain white backgrounds and others where characters faces are simply blacked out. While the art is not to my taste, Cinar does tell a story effectively and you can really feel Supergirl’s rage every time she is on panel in her Red Lantern regalia.

The bottom line is this issue made me feel like an addict who finally realized they reached rock bottom. I have been buying Supergirl issues chasing after the character that Spencer, et al. introduced to me pre-Flashpoint. Only now, looking at my empty wallet, do I realize that Kara Zor-El has been gone for almost two and half years, and she is not coming back (at least not any time soon). While Bedard and Cinar are obviously skilled craftsmen, their work on this issue was far below their best. Supergirl #29 felt to me like good fan fiction gone wrong instead of a well thought out crossover event.

Reviewed by: Hank Johnson
(hank@comicspectrum.com
)
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