I’m not sure where it all started, but I like Supergirl quite a bit. Maybe it all stemmed from Crisis on Infinite Earths and the scant Legion of Super-Hero appearances prior to that under the pencils of Keith Giffen. But in more recent years I’ve come to really look forward to her adventures in things like the Showcase Presents… reprints of her original adventures and the excellent Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade series. So I anticipated having some fun rereading her New Krypton chapters, and to some degree I am – with her super-powered earnestness and insecurity. Unfortunately, those appearances also come with her ridiculous bare midriff costume, which while not “Power Girl-bad” is still pretty poor. Although not necessarily as poor as her nu52 look, from what little I’ve seen.
Anyway, it was tricky to know for sure what should come after New Krypton volumes 1 & 2 in the whole New Krypton chronology, but I’d read someone else’s suggestion that listed this Supergirl volume as coming next, and it seems to work pretty well (even though it does start with a story that obviously takes place waaaay before any of this New Krypton stuff got moving.)
The main adventure takes place almost completely in Metropolis even though that above mentioned status quo included Kara Zor-El having left earth to make her home permanently with her fellow Kryptonians. She gets sent back by her crazy mother to track down the crazy villain who killed her father. Along the way, she is opposed by a mysterious super-powered woman (“Superwoman”) whom she had previously met and come to believe was her new Super-Girlfriend. This aspect of the plot doesn’t seem particularly justified – one imagines Superwoman is lurking around New Krypton to act as a spy, but she never seems to do any particular spying, and she drops that whole pretense very quickly when Supergirl returns to earth. There is a half-hearted attempt to set up a red herring over her identity before the truth is revealed. And once the truth is revealed, there is very little time to let it sink in before the character is killed off.
Anyway, as chapter 3 out of 15 of a huge year-long epic that you either already have or are absolutely committed to reading, the book, by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle, works just fine. As a standalone story (look at the world we’re in now, where by “standalone story” we mean a single trade paperback collection of six or seven monthly issues), it’s pretty ho-hum. Supergirl, rather than being heroic and inspirational, either by turns loses, is too late, or accidentally kills her opponent. Certainly, she is always several steps behind the bad guys, who overall seem a lot more in control. I don’t mind the hero being fallible, but I guess I’d like to see her win some clean victories now and again.
On the positive note, there is an Inspector Henderson (a new one) who is introduced as a supporting character, that I like quite a bit, and Lana Lang has a pretty big part. I like Lana, although thanks to John Byrne I find it jarring to see her as the Daily Planet’s business editor.
So overall it’s a readable and gripping book, but not a very rewarding one.
Superman: New Krypton Index
Last Son • Brainiac • New Krypton vol. 1 • New Krypton vol. 2 • Mon-El • Supergirl: Who is Superwoman? • Nightwing and Flamebird vol. 1 • New Krypton vol. 3 • Codename: Patriot • Supergirl: Friends and Fugitives • Nightwing and Flamebird vol. 2 • Supergirl: Death and the Family • Mon-El – Man of Valor • New Krypton vol. 4 • Last Stand of New Krypton vol. 1 • Last Stand of New Krypton vol. 2 • War of the Supermen
ADDENDUM: Wait a minute…
Superwoman kills Agent Liberty when he is breaking into General Lane’s secret installation. Then she…drops his body into the river? What? So he could be found by the police, suit containing evidence that incriminates Superwoman. So then Major Lucy Lane turns up and takes the suit away before the evidence is fully explored, so that nobody can know the truth of how Agent Liberty was killed. But of course, Lucy Lane is Superwoman, and was presumably at least partially responsible for dumping the body in the river in the first place. Don’t worry, Inspector Henderson, wait around long enough and the body should turn back up again. Dumb villains, lazy writing.