With the Nth Metal Infection still running rampant through her system, Supergirl’s Kryptonian physiology is keeping just enough evil at bay for her to still believe that she’s the only real hero around. With Wonder Woman standing in her way, will Kara destroy her former friend or see the light once again?
It’s distressing just how much steam the Infected storyline has lost in the intervening months between then and a post-“War of Justice/Doom” world. The idea of these heroes turning evil to fight their fellow heroes seemed like such a novel and cool idea that would have made those issues of Justice League even more interesting, but individually they’re not as great.
Jody Houser does her best with what she’s been given by making Supergirl tonally dissonant. The last issue saw her taking over Smallville and making a broadcast telling the people that the only way that they would truly be free is if they accepted the same Infection that she’s been given. She comes off as wanting to still be the hero, but is doing it in the most evil way possible. This characterization is made even better when she has to save those same citizens from a barn burning down over them.
When one of the few government agencies still around after the events of Event Leviathan decides to send anti-Kryptonian mech after her, they get destroyed and accidentally set the barn ablaze. Almost as if by instinct, she saves the people while insulting them and musing how easy it would be to Infect them in the midst of it all. This offers an amazing conflict within her as her better tendencies are keeping her from losing control and is easily the best part of this issue.
Supergirl has always had to deal with the fear of losing control and this weighed on her heavily, especially when Batman would always give her a side eye for being a mere teenager with the powers of a god. Now that she’s exactly that, she refuses to prove him right and tries her best to be the greatest hero in the world.
Rachael Stott’s art runs the gamut from darn good to “Oh no.” The initial scenes as we’re introduced to the shady military organization are very good. Stott and colorist Cris Peter sell readers on the clandestine nature of their operations with heavily inked shadows, nefarious greens and shots that keep faces obscured or only show the eyes, which is so much more evil. It’s dark and shows the gravity of the Supergirl threat.
Fight scenes are fun and impactful, making use of body language to show Wonder Woman as being far more defensive and less willing to hurt Kara and showing Kara as reckless and pissed off. There are excellent speed lines, blast impacts and framing as the mechs interrupt their fight to kill Supergirl, appearing absolutely titanic in comparison to the two heroes. Stott has a fun style and Peter accentuates it with colors that pop off the page and smooth, well inked lines.
Things make a down turn when it comes to some of the angles used. With the shots pulled in like they are, Kara’s mohawk looks less than flattering and makes her head look oddly shaped or has her body flailing awkwardly as she’s shot back. Most of her angry faces make her look as if she’s straining on a toilet and turns the book from a tense story of villainous heroism to comedy in an instant.
Tom Napolitano, however, stuns throughout the entirety of the issue through excellent speech bubble placement, sound effects and thought boxes. There are so many instances of Krypto’s “Rrrrrrrr,” laser beams “FZZZZZZTs” and impact “KRAKs” that Napolitano makes it look effortless. Lettering is a lost art, but They’re AMAZING when they’re done well and so very noticable in helping the book seem more fun.
With solicitations hinting that Supergirl is getting cancelled (again) after issue #42, I shouldn’t be so hard on her, but I want this series to end. The Infected storyline has deflated and brought Supergirl down with it. It would have been better off if things just continued in the pages of Hell Arisen instead. For a series that came back with a good purpose, it’s lost its direction by being caught between two event stories while not capitalizing on either.
Supergirl #39: I’M the Hero
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 6.5/106.5/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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