- Posted by Johanna on June 6, 2007 at 7:48 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics
I hate that feeling I get when I’m reading a comic story and thinking “I wish the author hadn’t decided to talk so blatantly to the reader”. This issue, written by Joe Kelly, features a second Supergirl who wants to destroy the first one. The new S says about the old one “the darkness… the ugliness… it’s made the world sick. You’re a cancer…. Supergirl does the right thing. All of the time… and she does it with a smile.”
Later, she continues, “Supergirl is happy. I’m fiery! I’m inspirational! People look to Supergirl to forget their problems… to see someone who can teach them to do it better.” (The new one also managed to find a shirt that stretched down to her belt.)
I think we’re supposed to applaud that “our” Supergirl, the “right” one, eventually wins over the new one, but I have to say, I agree with the imposter. Who does want a whiny, screwed-up Supergirl with problems and a trampy wardrobe? Except for the clothing, that’s actually a pretty good description of the original heroine during the terrible soap opera days where she was hanging out in an orphanage and crying because she didn’t have a normal boyfriend she could show off to her friends. Ick.
I don’t know whether to blame Adam Archer or Alé Garza, the two pencillers, for the blow-up mannequin look of the faux femme. She looks like the air-brushed Jessica Alba on the Fantastic Four poster, with added fake frozen grin. I think it’s meant to support Kelly’s point about what he sees as a two-dimensional characterization, but it’s unpleasant to look at.
The worst part, though, is that the new Supergirl turns out to be Dark Angel. Remember her? John Byrne’s bad idea that turned Donna Troy into an eternal masochist? I don’t think I ever needed to see her again. But wait! Another revelation! She’s being controlled … and eventually destroyed… by the Monitor. Gack! Crossover continuity infection. Quick! Kill it before it spreads!
So why is it a bad idea for authors to directly address fan concerns? Because in superhero comics, writers who do this tend to be big fans of the strawman, a simplified misreading of the real discussion set up to be easy to beat down. Then again, perhaps it’s too difficult or bad fiction to insert a more nuanced position into a four-color punch-em-up.
I found myself reading this story thinking “how many more issues does Kelly have before he’s gone?” This week, that question applies to several series, this one, Birds of Prey, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, … it’s lame-duck writing, and it makes the experience even more pointless than usual. Instead of “I *hope* editorial doesn’t force changes anytime soon”, we’re left with “I *know* this is all going to change in a month or two”.