The "Year of the Villain" is in full effect, but not everyone is on board with Lex Luthor and Perpetua’s vision of a world ruled by Doom. The Batman Who Laughs is lurking in the background of the DC Universe and while he’s currently under lock and key within the bowels of the Hall of Justice, his influence is still very much felt throughout Prime Earth. Will Kara succumb to Brainiac-1’s mind control or will The Batman Who Laughs take and squeeze her in his grasp?
Depending on when my Hawkman #18 review came out, some of the things I said about stories being interrupted by events will be repeated here. Supergirl’s initial Rebirth story was fun and focused on her and her place in the world outside of her cousins shadow. When her series was restarted after cancellation at issue #20, she found herself in story after story that intersected with whatever Superman was doing, parts of “Leviathan Rising” and now “Year of the Villain.” While her adventures have mostly still been pretty good, she hasn’t had much room to breathe.
The trend continues here. After the events of the last issue, which saw Supergirl fighting off Leviathan and going to the Fortress of Solitude, she finds herself overpowered by Brainiac-1, an older model Brainiac that seeks to become the ultimate receptacle of knowledge. Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira and Chris Sotomayor absolutely smash the art in these initial pages. Though the battle takes place in Kara’s mindscape, she shows a Kryptonian ferocity, strength and grace that only she can. Colors are striking, debris flies and the inks make the lighting more dynamic.
Brainiac-1 temporarily releases Kara from his hold so that she can handle whatever trouble that’s going on in the fortress, giving him time to gain complete control over her and the vast Kryptonian archive. What follows is another awesome few moments that unfortunately ties into another event with “The Infected.” Supergirl flies onto the scene with a powerful left hook to evil Hawkman the Sky Tyrant as he fights Batman. She knocks the lights out of this man and it is epic as hell – her fist is clenched as tight as it can be, her muscles ripple and The Sky Tyrant’s mask almost spins around on his face.
Scarab, the Infected Blue Beetle, throws one of the Nth metal batarangs at Superman, a plot thread that’s explored in the Batman/Superman series, and Supergirl flies as fast as she can to catch it. In a baller move, she grabs it and doesn’t resist the opportunity to give the Infected Donna Troy (Deathbringer) a righteous left uppercut that sends her flying. Unfortunately for her, the batarang infects her. Ferreira’s inks makes the moment before the reveal even more ominous as her face is shrouded in dark shadows. In place of Superman, The Batman Who Laughs has gained a Supergirl.
She completes the Secret Six with a new, darker costume. Her top is spiked, her cape is shredded, the sides of her head are shaved and her face looks like she’s going to see a musical of The Crow with Gene Simmons as inspiration. I personally think it’s a great design, but unfortunately, we don’t see the ensuing fight. Instead, that’s reserved for Batman/Superman #5 and Kara goes back to Brainiac-1, destroying him and claiming freedom from her insecurities and underestimation.
The world isn’t ready for her.
This issue of Supergirl wasn’t exactly nothing, but it relied on the actions of other books to push it along. I’m glad that she’s been given something to do, even if that is being evil. It had quite a few great moments and the art team was fantastic throughout, but it’s difficult to say that this was really Supergirl’s story when it seemed like she was a bit player in the much larger narrative. It will be interesting to see what she does while Infected, especially since the next issue indicates a fight between her and the World’s Finest.
Supergirl #36: It’s Not Just a Phase, Clark!
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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