Supergirl (2016 Series) Recap Part 1 – REIGN OF CYBORG SUPERMAN

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In reviewing the Supergirl title, I wanted to read from the beginning of the current run (Vol 7) and offer a recap / review of what we’ve seen in 17 issues thus far. I’ll pick up the normal review process with next month’s issue (18).

When I was looking at the available titles to review for Comic Book Corps, there was one that jumped out at me—Supergirl. While being a fan of The CW show had a small factor, it’s my fondness of Hope Larson’s Batgirl run that convinced me. Batgirl is a strong female character that can handle her own and Larson (and artist Chris Wildgoose) made it feel like a CW show in comic form. Yes, the creative team on Supergirl is different, but at first glance, I was reminded of Batgirl. What were the chances Steve Orlando and Brian Ching could actually capture that same magic?

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Very good.

Supergirl Vol. 7

If you’re not reading Supergirl, I highly recommend you pick it up—better yet, start from issue 1. Just like any comic, you don’t necessarily need too, but Orlando’s scripts and Ching’s art is well worth the price of admission alone. In addition, you’ll get the full story they’ve been telling for the last year and half. There are things that work and things that don’t, but Orlando is able to capture what it’s like to be a teenager in a strange place. Kara misses her home on Krypton. Unlike her cousin, she has actual memories of life on their home planet—from family and friends to special locations. The sciences of Earth are so primitive, she doesn’t understand it. She’s balancing life as a teenager with that of being a super powered being. Orlando presents us with a hero of Earth who feels alien, but knows that protecting the people of the planet is the right thing to do.

Ching’s art hammers home that feel I loved from Batgirl. His art feels like a CW show—this is a story about a young hero who is still finding themselves. There are subtle differences when there’s been an artist change—mainly to the world outside of Supergirl herself. Matias Bergara, Jose Luis, and Robson Rocha are able to blend with this world nicely.

Reign of Cyborg Superman

Issues 1 – 6 | Writer: Steve Orlando Artist: Brian Ching 

Kara Zol-El works because she has trouble fitting in. It’s something that we all feel at one point or another. We can relate to her because of this and this first arc from Steve Orlando and Brian Ching is all about that. She’s balancing a life as a D.E.O. agent and superhero while also attending National City Technical High School. She’s adapting to living with her foster parents, Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers, and also adapting to Earth without Superman in her life. That’s a lot for anyone to go through, especially an alien teenager.

Earth technology is archaic to her, so she struggles through school while getting in trouble with her new boss for doing things on her own. The Danvers’ try to make Kara feel more comfortable by learning some Kryptonian and redecorating their house in outdated Kryptonian motif. This makes Kara feel more out of sorts, leading to her taking off for the Fortress of Solitude. She runs into the Cyborg Superman who claims to be her father, Zor-El.

This kicks off a great arc about wanting to go home again and then realizing that sometimes that’s just not possible. Home isn’t necessarily a place, but a feeling. While Kara, from the start, questioned Zor-El’s sincerity about bringing Argo City back, she does consider that it’s a possibility. However, when push comes to shove, she won’t let harm come to the planet that took her in when she had no home. Through battling her father and his army of cyborg Kryptonians, she learns that she may have been sent to Earth to save her life, but she chooses to Earth so they can save each other’s lives.

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There are some important beats with Kara at her school and CatCo, but the overall arc is really about home and family. She struggles with the well-natured Danvers, while realizing that she really has lost her birth parents—that you can’t be truly resurrected. By the end of the arc, she has started to realize her place and, while she still has a lot to learn, her adoptive parents are her parents.

Tune in next week for part 2, ‘Escape From the Phantom Zone’.

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