SUPERGIRL: THE LAST DAUGHTER OF KRYPTON
Writers: Michael Green & Mike Johnson
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Inker: Dan Green
Additional Art: Bill Reinhold
Colorist: Dave McCaig & Paul Mounts
Letterer: Rob Leigh & John J. Hill
Cover Artists: Mahmud Asrar & Dave McCaig
Publisher: DC Comics
Rating: 7/10 Pieces of Kryptonite
DC’s Rebirth launch in 2016 did a lot for me. It was where the beginnings of my ever-expanding comic collection started. More importantly, though, It turned me into a fan of the sons and daughters of Krypton. I didn’t have much interest in the characters growing up as I didn’t see them as very interesting individuals, and they just seemed to always be good at everything. Since perception has changed I’ve found myself adding older stories of Supergirl and Superman to my collection whenever I can. Recently, I got ahold of New 52’s SUPERGIRL and was curious about what this era’s take on her was. Thanks to votes from the comic community, SUPERGIRL Vol.1 LAST DAUGHTER OF KRYPTON became my read this weekend.
The story kicks off with experiencing Supergirl’s entry to planet Earth by way of a meteor shower. Once awake and surrounded by mysterious mech manned men somewhere in Russia, she realizes she has no idea where she is or how she got there. The first two issues in this story help us establish that Supergirl trying to process where she was as well as learning about her new powers with a little help from Superman being a Kryptonian punching bag.
With a man dressed in her family’s crest, claiming to be a fully grown nephew that she practically changed diapers for days ago to Kara, Supergirl takes off to sort things out herself. Returning to her point of origin on Earth, she begins to search for her pod in hopes to find answers. Unfortunately, it’s no longer there and following the trail left from the culprit, she ends up getting tricked and captured by a wealthy businessman who lives in a giant space station. If Supergirl thought the space station was huge then imagine seeing this guy’s ego. Kara becomes an experiment to the man known as Simon Tycho for a short period before being provided an escape opportunity and causing Simon’s work to blow up in his face. Literally.
After regaining what was stolen from her, the final third of this story follows Supergirl as she tracks down the answers to what happened to Krypton. With the crystal that houses coordinates and messages in hand (I didn’t realize how crystal heavy Krypton was), Kara takes off through space. After arriving at the remnants of her planet, now drifting in space, we are introduced to the World Killers, genetically bread weapons from her homeworld. They are just as curious about Earth as Kara is and want to take over the planet to answer those questions in their own crazy way of thinking. Four vs one quickly changes to a tactical retreat when Supergirl uses the World Killers to injure each other forcing them to call timeout leaving Supergirl standing victorious at the end.
Something I never really considered when thinking about the two Kryptonians was one of the things that set them apart in their origin. Superman was a refugee sent to earth as a baby with no memory or time spent on his homeworld. Everything he’s learned about it was from texts and from others. Superman feels that loss of culture and self from not getting to know his people but it’s more for his cousin. Supergirl grew up on Krypton. She lived there and knew people. For her, the loss is one greater compared to Cark. It shows strongly in this story as Supergirl struggles with anger, denial and sadness.
Another thing I appreciated about this story is that we aren’t looking at a heroic Supergirl yet. She is just Kara Zor-El, lost, scared and grieving. During her first reunion with Superman upon arriving on Earth, her newfound powers start causing a lot of damage. When she notices that almost hurts others though she shows her compassion despite caring about others she initially bails on helping Superman rescue others. It’s a nice set up in this story for a hero’s journey and finding her place among Earth.
Mahmud’s art in this was great. I really enjoy the toughness his characters all have in their design. Dave McCaig’s colors were especially enjoyable around issue five. They had a grainy texture to them really caught my eye. The colors and inks change a little too much though I felt as the style felt different each issue, pulling somewhat out of the experience of the story. The writing felt pretty solid the whole way through. Something I appreciated the most from the New 52 era for Supergirl and Superman was their designs. The costumes were a little more along the lines of how envisioned Kryptonian garb to look like (though I am still confused about the practicality of open knee-high boots).
I appreciated how both Green and Johnson wrote Supergirl partially in the first couple issues. They seemed to have done a good job of both capturing that sense of feeling lost and confused as well as panicked from what they were experiencing. Even when there wasn’t any immediate danger, her fear and anger had me anxious for her to have face the truth ahead and that’s good storytelling for me when the writer has me react to what’s coming.
At the end of this read, I foound the first volume for New 52 Supergirl to be a good start. I feel like with how quickly the last issue ended they could have expanded on the World Killers more by cutting out the evil corporate space junk collector bits. This could have focused on the seven issues of this story on facing and accepting that loss a little better. That being said I did like where the second little story arc with Simon Tycho was going and can’t wait to see where he pops up next in the series. I would say if you are a fan of Supergirl and get past the open knee-high boots then this would be a Super read to check out!