Supergirl has been off-world for a while, and the people of National City have definitely noticed. Cat Grant’s written up an article asking where Supergirl is, and Kara Danvers’ old friend and love interest Ben Rubel has been trying to his missing friend. Meanwhile, she’s found a new mystery with Leviathan, and though Supergirl wishes that she could be done with mysteries for a while, the job of a superhero is never done.
As Supergirl gets settled back into her life on Earth, and gets better acquainted with her new mission, a robotic life-form known as Brainiac-1 has been approached by Lex Luthor, who promises the robot the keys to the Fortress of Solitude, and with it all the knowledge contained therein. The idea is that with all the knowledge, instead of simply being a scout for Brainiac, Brainiac could become the Brainiac. Power is too much to turn down for any villainous type, and so Brainiac-1 takes the keys, though he remains suspicious of Luthor. It turns out that his suspicions were unfounded, though, because he was able to get into the Fortress, and get his hands on some very important cosmic data...and the information helps transform him into something closer to the real Brainiac.
Meanwhile, Kara tracks down her old friend Dr. Shay Veritas, who is disappointed and worried that Kara was able to track her, given that she’s supposed to be in an undisclosed location where no one’s supposed to find her. She informs Kara that all of the secret government agencies have targets on their foreheads because of Leviathan, and Kara explains that Leviathan is why she came to see Dr. Veritas. It turns out that her adoptive parents, Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers, are missing, and she wants Dr. Veritas’ help in finding them. It takes some doing, but Veritas finally agrees to help Kara and points her in the direction of her adoptive parents – they're in Pennsylvania - by way of the chip in Eliza’s cybernetic hand.
Kara arrives at the location – a medical examiner’s office – and soon finds a body that’s more bone than flesh...with Eliza’s cybernetic hand. She only has a moment to mourn before some of Leviathan’s finest bust into the office. Surprised that Krypto didn’t warn her about Leviathan’s arrival, Kara uses her X-Ray vision to find her canine sidekick and sees that he’s trapped under some sort of net, courtesy of Kara’s newest adversaries. Angry, she rushes past the agents, frees Krypto, and the two of them attack. Unfortunately for both of them, the agents are wearing lead-lined masks so Kara can’t see who they are, and they have batons made of green kryptonite, weakening both of the Kryptonians. Still, Kara’s able to gather enough strength to take down a couple of the agents, but it’s not enough. Right before one’s about to do her in, she’s saved by another masked, armoured figure. She thinks he’s someone else connected to Leviathan, but it’s not. It’s her adoptive father, Jeremiah Danvers, alive and well – and they have a lot to catch up on.
After a prolonged arc in which Kara was off in space, chasing Rogol Zaar, it’s nice to have the Girl of Steel back on Earth, and at least briefly in National City. It’s a nice, familiar setting, and one that’s been missed, because while the space stuff started out very strong, it lost steam too quickly. Hopefully now that the action has moved to Earth, that can be rectified. Granted, what with the Supergirl story still tying into everything going on in the Superman comics, that might not be likely. The problem with following a character like Supergirl, especially when you don’t read any of the other books in the line, is that when every arc has to tie into the arc that’s going on in the rest of the family line of books, you always feel like you’re missing out on something, which is definitely something one might feel going into this arc. With the previous arc, at least Supergirl had her own mission, but this feels more closely tied into what’s going on with the other books, so it feels as though you’re only getting a small chunk of what’s going on with Leviathan.
With Kara back on Earth, she definitely feels a little more like the teenager she was before she was taken on her space adventure, even though it’s a little tough to reconcile the character that she was in Steve Orlando’s run versus the one she is here. She speaks, behaves, and reacts differently, and there’s nothing really wrong with that, but one’s reminded of the inconsistency when supporting characters from the previous run – like Ben Rubel – show up. It’s expected that every writer will have their own take on a character, of course, and Marc Andreyko writes a wonderfully strong, capable, competent Kara, so there are no complaints there. With the possible death – this could always be a fake-out, after all – of Eliza Danvers, and the brief amount of time spent in National City, it certainly seems as though the book might be moving away from that aspect of Kara’s life, but where it could go from there after the Leviathan stuff is over is anyone’s guess. As it seems from recent solicitations, with Jody Houser coming onto the book soon, it looks like Andreyko only has a finite amount of space left to tell this story, and I’m curious to see where he goes with it.
There are a couple of really good moments in the story where Kara’s allowed a chance to shine, which she definitely should. One of those moments is where she’s able to detect that Dr. Veritas is lying to her, and she gets the truth out of her sometimes ally to go track her parents down. Allowing Kara to be the detective and use her smarts like that is great – after all, she’s not just brawn, she’s also meant to be a bright, intelligent character. The page where Kara mourns Eliza is effective, and it’s great that Andreyko writes Kara as capable of fighting back even if she’s weakened by Kryptonite. She’s more than her superpowers, after all.
It isn’t immediately obvious where this Brainiac storyline is going – or if it’s even going to go far, considering everything else that’s going on with the book – but it can’t possibly be a good thing that Brainiac-1 is in the Fortress of Solitude, of all places. Whether this is a story that’s going to more directly affect Kara or not remains to be seen, but given that she just had a romantic dalliance with a Coluan in the last arc, seeing her go up against one in a more adversarial fashion here could be great.
Another thing to be suspicious of is Jeremiah Danvers. While he claims to be on Kara’s side, Kara’s been off-world for a while and clearly a lot has changed. Though for the most part, the things that happen in the book don’t directly correlated with what happens on CW’s Supergirl tv series, it should be pointed out that Jeremiah eventually went villainous there, and the same could easily happen here. After all, he did kill someone, and though it could be explained away as his trying to protect Kara…it’s comics. Anything could happen. People are always dying, supporting character’s alliances – especially when their spies – are always shifting.
Eduardo Pansica is on art duties this issue, and his style gels well with the story being told. In many ways, it’s classic comic book art done up in DC Comics’ modern house sensibilities, and it works here. The story doesn’t really need someone with the comedic or emotional impact that a Kevin Maguire brings and Pansica is a more than capable artist to bring things like Brainiac-1’s transformation to life. You really feel Kara’s pain at the potential loss of Eliza, and he’s great with making her a strong figure that’s meant to be contended with. Unlike a lot of other artists, he never descends into unnecessary posing or overt cheesecake, and that’s really great when you have a character like Supergirl. There are a few panels that seem a little too scratchy, rushed, or unfinished, but given that they’re fight and action scenes, the effect kind of works in their favour.
Supergirl starts its latest arc in this issue, and it's a great change of pace from the space stuff that came before it.
Supergirl #34: A Lot to Catch Up On
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 6/106/10
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