At the end of the last issue, Kara Zor-El, on the hunt for information on who destroyed Krypton, was transported from the Green Lantern archives that she’d managed to break into, into a meeting with Appa Ali Apsa, a Guardian who had been involved with the Circle – a group who had a hand in Krypton’s destruction. Unfortunately for Kara, the Appa Ali Apsa she’s meeting with is only a piece of holographic memory and as such can help guide her to the next step of solving her mystery, but can’t really do much beyond that. Kara is filled with shock and outrage because she finally seems to have a solid answer for what may have happened to Krypton, and it definitely seems like more than what she and Clark had been led to believe for all this time. The Guardian asks Kara if she’s ready for the truth, because a lot of the details are covered in blood – a lot of the blood spilled by the axe she’s holding. Kara tells the Guardian that she wants to know everything, and he gives her a large red gem, about the size of her hand. He explains that before he died, he placed his confessions throughout the universe, because he was afraid that if he had kept them all together, someone could have discovered them and destroyed it. He tells her to find the other stones, find the truth, and to bring the Circle to justice. Kara asks who the Circle is, or what they are, but Appa Ali Apsa disappears before she can get any answers.
Kara finds herself back in the archives, surrounded by many Green Lanterns, including Kyle Rayner and John Stewart. Kara holds her hands up and tells them that she can explain, but the Lanterns don’t seem to want to de-escalate the situation. Breaking into the archives is serious business, after all, and she needs to show some good faith, first by dropping the weapon she has in her hand. Kara refuses to drop the axe, though, and she asks them not to ask her to do that. One of the Lanterns is done asking and Kara realizes that the only way out is for her to fly out of there, so she fakes the Lanterns out, pretending to fly up when she’s actually going to drop down. Kyle tries to stop her by creating a construct of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, and as Kara tries to fight her way out, she drops the red crystal. Krypto comes in just in time to grab the crystal, but Ch’p manages to grab it out from his mouth. As Krypto chases after the animalistic Green Lantern, Kara hashes it out with Kyle and John, telling them that there’s a reasonable explanation for why she needed to do what she did, but she couldn’t discuss it with them just then. Trapped in a construct bubble made by Kyle, it seems as though Kara has no place to go, but she manages to burrow out from underneath the construct, much to Kyle’s embarrassment.
She’s still not free, though, because Kara finds herself surrounded by many Green Lanterns, all of whom use their rings on her and bind her with ropes of glowing green willpower. She knows she can’t give up, but she also feels as though she has no one to trust...except she does. It turns out that the Green Lantern planet Mogo believes Kara and helps her, understanding her pain, and feeling the pain of the loss of a fellow planet. Mogo uses their powers to hold the other Lanterns at bay so that Kara can escape. She goes above ground and finds Krypto waiting for her with the crystal, and Mogo explains that Kara’s ship is fully functional and fueled. Mogo has input coordinates that will help her on her quest. Kara and Krypto start to escape, but one of the other Lanterns has caught up with her and aims to attack her, though Mogo cuts in, allowing Kara to escape. As this is going on, the alien from the archives that Kara had met the night before, C’Zal, contacts his cousin Hakmon, the alien who has been working for a member of the Circle, and fills him in on Kara being on the move. Hakmon relays this to his boss, along with the fact that he had made sure Kara wouldn’t find anything in the files about Rogol Zaar. An added bonus – C'Zal also put a tracking device on Kara’s ship. Hakmon’s boss – none other than Gandelo, a lord who rules over 42 star systems, says that he will not hesitate to destroy anyone who will undo their progress. Then he asks Hakmon to bring him the spy because the spy – whoever he might be – will destroy Kara.
Things start kicking into high gear as Kara finally starts to get some answers – answers that she most probably doesn’t want to hear, but answers that she needs to hear. Tying Kara’s story into the one that’s being told with Clark over in his books was a smart idea, but it’s even better that the story she’s being given is one that’s out from under his shadow, in space, away from the action of Clark’s books. It gives Kara her own space to occupy, and it allows her to be the leader and the decision maker all on her own. Besides, out of everyone in the Superman family, Kara is the logical choice to go out into space to find answers about Krypton’s destruction. She is, after all, the one who lived there, and the one who has memories of her home planet. In many ways, she has a greater investment in solving this mystery than anyone else.
The story being told here is one in which Kara is being allowed to grow up from the teenage girl who has been stranded on Earth and has been through a variety of adventures while trying to figure out who she is in an alien world. Instead of having some of her agency taken away, as has been the case in the past, here she’s calling the shots, using her own superheroic connections, and getting stuff done. It’s fascinating to see her being allowed to grow up like this, and one hopes the trajectory will continue, because some of Supergirl’s best stories are the ones where she’s been allowed to grow up and take matters into her own hands. Kara’s anger at Appa Ali Apsa is palpable and believable, but where older versions of the character may have decided to attack, heat vision blasting, here Kara chooses instead of try and work with the Green Lanterns, escaping only when she realizes that the Green Lanterns won’t cooperate with her. One of the nicest touches in this book is where Andreyko gives Mogo that shot of personality, allowing them to commiserate with Kara and help her. The fact that Mogo would mourn the loss of a planet and know what that feels like is one of those things that may have been overlooked by many writers, but it adds a richness to the universe to have that detail added in. There’s also something so pure about the fact that a planet would feel Kara’s pain and believe her, whereas all other sentience is ready to look at her as though she’s a criminal. Granted, she did break a few rules, but what superhero hasn’t?
Kevin Maguire at first seemed rather an odd choice for Supergirl. Sure, he’s done Worlds’ Finest, which had Kara’s Earth-2 counterpart Power Girl, but Supergirl was never a book that was going to be very comedic, and due to his connections with JLI, Maguire tends to be associated with light, comedic books quite a bit. He’s a perfect fit for this book, though. Maguire is a master at allowing characters to express their emotions, and he does alien worlds, alien characters, and alien landscapes like no one else. All of the emotions that play across Kara’s face as she’s talking to the Guardian are beautifully drawn, and you really get a feel for what she’s going through. Even with Krypto, most artists are content to give him three expressions – happy dog, growly dog, and quiet dog – but here you get a feel for what he’s feeling and experiencing as well, and that’s damn fine master storytelling. Maguire’s presence takes what is already a great story and elevates it into a can’t miss book.
Superbly written and spectacularly illustrated, featuring a Supergirl who is coming into her own as a hero to be admired, respected, and reckoned with, this is hands down the best book coming out of the Superman family of books and shouldn't be missed.
Supergirl #23: Intergalactic Incident
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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