Story: Steve Orlando
Art: Brian Ching
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
“REIGN OF THE CYBORG SUPERMAN” part one! Supergirl is back and working for the DEO to defend National City! As Kara Danvers, average American teenager and high school student, Supergirl must balance her life as a superhero with her new life on Earth. But some demons from her Kryptonian past are coming back to haunt her, and Kara will find herself face-to-face with her father: the sinister Cyborg Superman!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Rebirth installment we had previously for Supergirl was one that was pretty densely packed with all that it had to deal with in order to set up the foundations of this series while also being accessible for new readers. Though it felt just a bit wonky because of the back and forth of the narrative at times it did what it needed to in setting up what Kara’s past is like in a broad sense, her arrival on Earth, the challenges here that have her working with/under the DEO, and just how her life is changing by living with the Danvers. Orlando had a tall order to fill and did it pretty well. With this issue, Brian Ching signs on as the artist and he brings his style and dynamism to the page really well, especially since the bulk of what we get here is mostly dialogue based and minimal at best when it comes to action. But this more “talky” issue works very well in connecting us with Kara just as her troubles are about to really start.
A big part of what we get here is the engaging aspect to Kara that often doesn’t get the real exploration it does. Her adapting to Earth is often done in mildly comical turn as she tries to understand the culture and all coming from something completely different, but here we get the reinforcement that she was very smart where she came from – no surprise, considering her lineage – and had a rich and full life. Her trying to deal with life on Earth is extremely difficult since none of it makes sense compared to what she knows how to do and the very different set of tools she had before. Eliza and Jeremiah are trying to help and you can appreciate the things they do, such as trying to learn Kryptonian and redecorating based on visuals from the Sunstone, but the truth is that they’re so out of their depth on those elements that it just makes the pai greater for Kara. And that kind of psychological strain is something that really works well here.
Throughout this issue we get some good stuff to reinforce the DEO side with Chase but it’s the flashback companion pieces to Krypton that I appreciate because that’s Kara. We learn more about her through that and the life she lead than anything else and it’s useful for explaining why she’s struggling. Her need to have certain things is important for her mental health and I’m glad that things were set well enough between her and Superman before he went off stage for a while. So when we get her visiting the Fortress of Solitude and what it represents, it feels right. Of course, the book does some solid backhistory for Kara in relation to her father so that makes the final panel all the more impressive and frightening. I’ve been wary of the Cyborg Superman piece of this since the last time I really knew “that” character was during his original introduction in the 90’s, but I’m loving the visual presentation here.
Supergirl did a lot right in its Rebirth issue and the start of the ongoing series here shows that Orlando is definitely headed in the right direction to keep me on board. I’ve not seen the character outside of non-continuity books for several years now so I’m largely going in fresh with only the TV show as my connection and I like how Orlando is handling her isolation and strain of being in this situation that’s made worse by her cousin’s absence. It’ll make the last page reveal even more problematic for her in handling it. I definitely liked seeing Brian Ching’s work here as he has a really great sense of layout and some big panels to play with at times that hits the right sweet spot of location and atmosphere. But I also like the smaller things, such as the transitions between flashback and present and his handling of Kara in her civilian disguise mode. All in all a solid start that establishes who Kara is rather than trying to hook us with big issues or just non-stop action. It’s full of character and I’m definitely into that.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: September 7th, 2016