Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ten Thoughts for Tuesday After Reading Supergirl #34

1. Maybe the eighth or ninth comic I ever read in my entire life was Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, featuring the death of Supergirl. I'd certainly never seen the character before that, but I knew that her heroic sacrifice was a big deal.

2. After that, once I discovered back issues, I read a few stories featuring Supergirl, and they weren't very good.

3. I rented the Helen Slater movie, and watched it on VHS. It, also, wasn't very good, but I had a giant crush on Helen Slater. Years later, as her career faded and she made coked-up late night television appearances, I became saddened.

4. John Byrne, I recall, brought Supergirl back -- sort of -- as a kind of Proty character, who had adopted the form of Supergirl, but wasn't really her. I did not follow the Superman titles for much longer after Byrne left, but I understand that the Supergirl of the 1990s was still that Proty thing, stuck in human (or superhuman) form. I could be completely wrong about that. I certainly never read an issue of her series in that decade, and I have no idea if it was any good or not.

5. I have since fallen in love with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and cherish her appearances in the 30th century and her sad, doomed relationship with Brainiac 5. Also, I own both volumes of the Supergirl Archives, because I now understand why the Silver Age Superman family comics are so utterly brilliant.

6. I have a Supergirl action figure from the Justice League Unlimited line, and my daughter loves to play with it. In fact, she insists on only using the girl figures. And Batman. She likes Batman.

7. When Jeph Loeb brought Kara Jor-El -- a new Kara -- into continuity in the pages of Superman/Batman I was not very interested. I read the issues, I said, "hmmm," and I seemed to understand that she was some kind of evil, faux-Supergirl in the end. Apparently she wasn't. Or she was, but then she overcame her evil. Or she wasn't ever really evil. I am easily confused by this character.

8. Mark Waid and Barry Kitson presented a much better version of the character in their Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes comic. Kara brightened up that series so much that I tried a few issues of her solo comic, and I thought they were some of the worst comics on the stands. I have no idea what happened, but about a thousand creative teams came and went in the first twenty issues, and I remember Mark Sable coming on for an issue and then not getting credit for the rest of the arc and it just seemed like a total car wreck for a while.

9. Like Grant Morrison, I thought the Supergirl story from the Bizarro hardcover was the best version of the character in a long, long time.

10. Supergirl #34 is a huge step in the right direction. Sterling Gates is part of team Johns, and that's a good thing, because Supergirl seems to matter more now than she has in ages. And in this one issue, Gates quickly establishes Kara's character, offers an in-story critique of her recent behavior, returns Lana Lang to prominence, and makes me want to read another issue of the series for the first time ever. I'm still not a fan of the belly shirt, but I think this issue points the way for a meaningful, fun, engaging Supergirl comic, and I'm looking forward to what Gates and artist Jamal Igle do next.

11. There is no number 11. Start reading Supergirl now.


Chad Nevett said...

I don't see it happening, man. I really don't. If anything, it looks like I'll soon be scaling back on what I'm buying.

Timothy Callahan said...

Yes, but that's because you hate comics. Especially ones somehow related to Geoff Johns.

And you burned your brain by reading too many Ultimate books. And btw, if you HAD read any of the Mike Carey Ultimate FF, I think you would just have abandoned all comics forever.

Plus, you like girls now.

Chad Nevett said...

I've TRIED to like Johns's writing. I've tried many times and I don't.

It wasn't just Ultimate X-Men, that interview with Tucker and Nina Stone got me thinking about my reading/buying habits. Post-Secret Invasion, my amount of Marvel books will decrease by quite a bit unless Bendis somehow wows me and gets me excited again.

And I always liked girls. Although none specifically right now.

Timothy Callahan said...

No girls and fewer comics? That sounds rash, indeed.

But I know what you mean (although the Stone interview certainly didn't make me rethink anything), and I plan on cutting back as well. I probably won't. But the plan is there.

Chad Nevett said...

Well, the no girls thing wasn't MY idea (and was the reason for the week off a couple of weeks back), and not something I plan on sticking with for too long.

Fewer comics... it's more fewer mediocre comics that I'm not actually enjoying much.

Timothy Callahan said...

Speaking of mediocre comics, how about that Rann-Thanagar Holy War and last issue's "shocking" conclusion. The bad guy reborn, with slightly bulkier armor!

Chad Nevett said...

Starlin gets a free pass like Casey does (Youngblood...). I think of those books as an "expense" for the blog/writing about comics.

Timothy Callahan said...

That's how I think about everything!!!

Timothy Callahan said...

Which is where I get into financial trouble!

Vanja said...

I tried three times to read Supergirl's 90-ies series, because I was hyped into thinking it was a really strong run, along the likes of Black Panther.

The first time I read just a few issues, but they were engaging in a Star-Man like way.

The second time I got fairly more into it, and it really seemed to grow by issue, losing nothing.

The third time I read a fair chunk of the run, almost 40 issues or something (and it's a long run, Peter David kept it around until #80, I think) but somehow didn't manage to finish the New Gods story arc.

As for Mike Carey, I remember the days when he was just writing Hellblazer and Lucifer, and everyone hailing him as the next best thing, after Brian K Vaughan.

seth hurley said...

I have to thank my local Borders and Barnes & Noble for allowing me to read mediocre comics for free!

David Uzumeri said...

Chiming in as someone else who actually read the issue in question, it was a great redirection but I really think the eight or nine issues Kelley Puckett did just preceding were hugely underrated and I'm sort of sad to see that take come to an end, since the dying-kid-with-cancer plot was just starting to get really trippy.

Still, this was a really good comic, and I can't imagine Gates's cops will do anything but get better from here.

David Uzumeri said...

CHOPS. Not cops. CHOPS. What is wrong with me.

Andrew Moser said...

I've been dreading this Johns' Superbook crossover ever since I heard about it. I hate it when a book I AM reading skips over into a book I am NOT reading. And I'm not just talking about the House of M/Civil War/Secret Invasion-style crossover, either. I'm talking about the type of storyline that literally gets carried over from one series to another. Part one of a storyline starts in book "x" only to end with, "to read part two, pick up book 'q' next month!" The last time this happened to me was when Checkmate (which I read) crossed over with The Outsiders (which I don't). I was behind on Checkmate at the time, but when I finally caught up, I realized I would have to hunt down the issues of The Outsiders if I wanted the whole story. I just skipped ahead to the next Checkmate storyline.

Anyway, all that was to say that if Johns’ Superbook crossover is one of those “read this book next month or you’ll totally miss out on something important” storylines, I’m glad to hear that Supergirl has gotten better. I’ve never heard anything good about that series’ current run, but since I do read Superman and Action Comics, I was dreading missing out on key info in what will likely be a good overall story. (I, for one, do drink the Johns’ Kool Aid!) Your review gives me hope that I won’t just HAVE to read Supergirl, but will actually ENJOY reading it.

Vanja said...

Well, Tim, I'd really like to hear your take on one particular subject, seeing as you're a Superman fan and all.

WB studis have declared that they will reboot the Superman movie franchise and darken it, bringing it more in line with Nolan's successful Batman movies.

Now, the current issue of Superman features the death of a member of the supporting cast, that Morrison has too disposed of in his All Star Superman (to much effect, even though it was a point done in Pre-Crisis continuity too).

I want to ask, do you think that this is the direction the eventual Superman movie will follow? Not exactltly spotlighting Braniac per se, and strengthening his bonds as an arch-villain that crossed the line and went personal with Superman (thought that could well be the case, considering the lack of key Batman villains in the Batman Begins film), but the idea of that particular death.

Does that strike you as "dark" and mature enough, to be mirrored in the movie? Has DC found a way to make Superman grim and gritty and still keep their audience engaged on the big screen?

Timothy Callahan said...

Hmm...I just finished reading the new Action Comics issue, and I think the question is worthy of a full post. Look for it this weekend!

Ultimate Matt said...

Hey, Carey's God War and Silver Surfer stories (from UFF) were cool.

David Uzumeri said...

Mike Carey rules and is hugely underrated, and everyone who disagrees can work that disagreement out with me, in a fistfight, at SDCC 2009.

OK, so you'd all beat the shit out of me, but my response stands!

Chad Nevett said...

I dig his Hellblazer work. Some pretty good stuff in there, although it did get off to a slow start.

Timothy Callahan said...

David, you're really going to put up your dukes on behalf of Mike Carey? Wow. Because while his Vertigo work may be good, his X-Men and Ultimate FF work has been abysmal. That's right: abysmal.

David Uzumeri said...

Honestly, I think Carey's been the best writer the X-franchise has had since Grant Morrison. No bullshit, no hyperbole - especially for that first year of actually having a team book, he presented a pretty cool and compelling marriage of big-ideas superhero stuff and Claremontian soap opera. He doesn't bat 1000 or even close, but I really think Legacy's been an enjoyable comic and when I pick up a Mike Carey superhero comic, it might not be the best thing I've ever read, but I know it'll be *interesting*.

Obviously, mileage varies, I was using hyperbole talking about fighting, etc etc. And I totally admit that his UFF was pretty sucky, the Silver Surfer arc and his first annual excepted.

David Uzumeri said...

Excuse me, the best writer they had between Morrison and Fraction.

Ultimate Matt said...

I also really, really enjoy his X-Men stuff, especially from issue 200 and up. I agree about him being the best x-writer since Morrison. X-Men: Legacy is my next "My Favorite Monthlies", which is my weak version of a feature at my blog.

Joe Gualtieri said...

Andrew- you may wan tto pick up Checkout (that title was way too cutsey) in trade. Rucka and Winnick are credited on each issue, regardless of the title, and Rucka kept Winnick in, well, check, for the most part.