Thursday, August 02, 2007

The One You've Been Waiting For: "Supergirl" #20

I have been waiting 3 months for the post Kelly-era "Supergirl" to come out. As you might remember, there had been a little, as they say, "kerfluffle" regarding the handling of the Maid of Might -- which possibly resulted in an actual editorial and creative shift for the book.

The Supergirl of the Tony Bedard/Renato Guedes run is real, realistically proportioned, and is drawn so modestly that she actually wears pantaloons under her skirt. I mean, the one or two times you get the crotch/upskirt shots they are completely covered up and unerotic -- my condolences to those who require them.

Renato Guedes is a very talented artist who manages to make Supergirl animated & attractive without being sexy. The irony is, you really get the feeling that, if asked, Guedes could totally "bust out" (if you will excuse the phrase) with the sexiness if asked. The effect is that Supergirl is depicted as a physically maturing yet modest and almost tomboyish female -- there is a constant tension between the burgeoning adult woman's body covered up by the cape and the skirt and the pantaloons and the confused, rebellious, uncertain teenager inside. And I like that tension. That's a realistic depiction for a 17-year-old. It's not cheesy-cheesecake. It's honest.

The story really plunges you into the events of "Amazons Attack" -- which, not being familiar with the "event," necessarily lessens its emotional impact for me. Because of all the action, I haven't really got a feel for what Tony Bedard is going to bring to the table on this book -- so I will give it a few months. The art reminds me very much of Gary Frank, so perhaps Bedard could bring back that magic that made the PAD/Frank run so enjoyable.

What I do pick up, however, at least on a subconscious level, is a sense of Supergirl emerging from the last 19 issues of her book with a bit of bewilderment and shame. You get the feeling that she wants to really prove herself; to redeem herself in some fashion.

Mention should also be made of Bernard Chang's cover, which similarly presents a pretty but non-exploitative Supergirl.

The book is, actually, so much a reaction to the fury over the "teen hottie" Kara as to make my head spin. I have never seen such a complete and total change in a character based on reader outrage. It's a welcome change. It's a book that I could give to an adolescent girl without the slightest bit of reservation or embarrassment.

I give "Supergirl" #20 the official "Occasional Superheroine" stamp of approval.


  1. Maybe it's because I've never been the biggest of Supergirl fans, but I've always had the impression that the character, in all her incarnations, is a fundamentally wholesome character, no unlike her namesake. To see her written as a bimbo and drawn like a porn star in those few issues I did read, it pained me to see that Supergirl was becoming just another piece comic book eye candy. I'm glad she's in the right hands now.

  2. I don't know how people that just read one character book straight through make sense of all these crossover things. They certainly kill a lot of the sense of good storytelling when half the story is spread around in other books.

  3. Unfortunately, I believe I read somewhere that Bedard is just the fill-in writer for a handful of issues. I don't think they've yet announced who the long-term writer will be. I may well be wrong, though.

  4. I'd give the new book a chance, because the art is real nice - except for the fact that Amazons Attack renders everything it touches stupid. SO I'll wait to give DC my money.

  5. I luffed this book! It was wonderful! The art was great, the writing was great, and it even managed to make an Amazons Attack tie-in GOOD! :D

    Supergirl FINALLY cares about other ppl and WANTS to do the right thing! :D

  6. This is the kind of Supergirl I've been waiting for since she came back. I've been annoying people and complaining on posting boards for almost two years about her crap portrayal since she first appeared in Superman / Batman. This feels a bit like either someone was listening to me and others, or a few people in the DC Ivory Towers felt the same without being told. Even though it's in the middle of another story, I'm keen to see what Bedard does with this from the start.

    I really hope they either announce him on the book for at least a year, or someone who shares his viewpoint. I'd hate to see a return to the stick-insect in a skirt after 3 issues.

  7. Enjoy it while it lasts - the Supergirl in the new Smallville season is based wholesale on the 'Kal-El's babysitter' of Jeph Loeb's run (hardly surprising, since he produces Smallville). Once she settles into the show, the comics version will be retooled to suit the more popularly-known incarnation, as has been the case with pretty much anything DC-Universe related in at least the last twenty years.
    Though for all I know, the episode of Smallville where Lois had to go undercover as a stripper is an isolated incident and the female characters get a good deal to do on a regular basis, rather than just giving Clark something to emote about.

    I'm not sold on Bedard as a writer, but he sure got lucky being paired-off with Renato Guedes.

  8. I really loved this issue, and I'd never have picked it up in a hundred thousand years had my shop not been giving them to everyone with pull-list accounts for free. Go my shop!

    I had no idea what was going on with the Amazon's attack stuff (why are they attacking?) but the emotional bits coming out of it were strong enough for me not to care. All that and I may have a new favorite artist. Pretty cool.