Supergirl has been a surprisingly difficult character for even the best of creators to handle over the years, and one just as difficult for fans to accept. It’s hard to imagine that this is a character so beloved by readers that her death in Crisis On Infinite Earths is hailed as one of the most important moments in comic books. When she’s been handled well by creators, she’s one of the best; when handled poorly, things fall apart fast. So what does her post-Rebirth era, Supergirl #1, hold in store for her?
Kara Zor-El is having trouble adapting to her life on Earth. As Kara Danvers, she’s struggling to learn to drive and having problems at school both socially and with her studies – despite being a genius. As Supergirl, she’s chafing at having amazing powers but being kept on a leash by the Department of Extranormal Operations. When she ditches school to stop a data theft where the lives of hostages are at stake, she comes in for flak from both businesswoman Cat Grant and the DEO.
The consoling words of her “parents” – DEO undercover agents mean little to her, and her sense of isolation continues to increase. Nobody understands her, her problems or her loneliness, and so she goes to the only place where she may feel any sense of home: the Fortress of Solitude. But what awaits her there is going to change everything, and not necessarily for the better…
Supergirl #1 is a bit of a mixed bag. The story is clearly a personal one, driving home the point of both Kara’s abilities and her feeling of isolation. Unfortunately, despite several flashbacks and moments of introspection, Kara doesn’t come across as a sympathetic character nor a likable one. She spends so much time either complaining or feeling sorry for herself that she comes across like a watered-down Damien Wayne. While it sets her up for a chance to grow as a person and improve at a later date, it’s a little off-putting to see a character who appears so emotionally selfish.
Likewise, the art is both attractive with its manga-style influence and distracting. In long distance shots, faces are missing any sense of detail and so characters all look like The Question. At times Supergirl looks too young, to the point where she shouldn’t be out fighting crime at all. There’s promise for both the art and the story, but in this issue both seem a little lacking.
Supergirl #1 isn’t the best of starts for the series, although clearly there’s an understanding of what target market DC is hoping to appeal to. If you fall into that bracket then you may enjoy this, but for others it may take a little while or it may not happen at all.