In Review: Supergirl #8

More Emerald Empress and stronger art would have helped his fun story considerably.

The covers: It’s been a while to see this villain dominate a DC Comics cover and Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, and Hi-Fi do not disappoint. The Emerald Empress, fresh from the pages of Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad, takes on Supergirl and Superman, while Batgirl watches from a safe distance below. The artists have packed in much on this cover without it seeming crowded. I’m especially pleased to see how close three of the characters are to the reader. There’s also a complete background for the characters, another rare treat. The colors are gorgeous on this. This frontpiece has me really excited to see what lies within! The Variant cover is by Bengal and it’s got some great attitude from the characters. Superman and Supergirl float in the sky face to face, with the Man of Steel having his arms folded across his chest, smiling at his cousin, while the Maid of Might looks royally cheesed at her older relative. These are the stereotypical emotions for relatives, but it works well. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant B+

The story: The first page of this issue seems really drawn out, considering that last issue readers saw that it was Kal before the title character, and it takes a turn of a page for this issue to reconfirm it with the reader. The reason the two are meeting is that it’s the Day of Truth, a Kryptonian day where only the truth, no matter how blunt or brash, is spoken. Superman says, “I was never able to celebrate it on Krypton. And I thought today we could celebrate it together, as a good way to catch up.” This is a slick idea by writer Steve Orlando and fits in perfectly with Superman’s make up and is a great reason for him to visit Kara in this issue. Before Kara can respond to her cousin, their super hearing picks up on someone yelling for help. Naturally they speed off to assist the bystander and run into the Emerald Empress and her all powerful eye, which is shooting a powerful beam of green energy at them. Superman is able to step forward under the eye’s onslaught, while Supergirl has to upright a cement truck and use it as a shield. The villainess screams, “I tracked down Saturn Girl across centuries! Thinking she was the one who destroyed my life. But instead she showed me the truth!” She points at Supergirl, who has no clue what she’s done to the antagonist. The resolution to this conflict comes much, much too soon, leaving fans of the Legion of Super-Heroes with only a taste of, hopefully, things (and a monthly title) to come. The remainder of the book is a getting to know session for the two Kryptonians: they discuss fighting evil, food, and memories. Eventually they end up at an iconic Superman locale, with Johnathan Kent present, asking Kara to do something that thrills him to no end. Superman recounts what’s happened to him recently in his own titles and the pair reassert their devotion to helping each other. The story ends with a two page tease of two different people out to investigate the same thing, with Barbara Gordon’s alter ego listening in. A novel concept for a story that ends up being a good introduction for those who want to try this series out. Overall grade: B+ 

The art: This is incredibly stylized art. It could be very devisive for readers. Supergirl certainly looks her age, but Superman is too simplistic in the face, Pages 2 and 3 being strong evidence for this appraisal. The introduction of the Emerald Empress on 4 is a full paged splash, but there’s so much energy unleashed on the page, she is lost in all the destruction. This villainess also is drawn in a heavy Japanese style that lessened her impact on her pages; she looks incredibly young and not nearly the threat she does on the Regular cover. How Supergirl dispenses with her is good, but it’s too quick. The scenes outside National City’s City Hall are very well done, with Kara and Clark sharing some time during lunch. The location is populated with several fun characters and the expressions on Kara’s face are on point. Better still is what she does on 10, which is funny and shows Supergirl in a rare moment of play. Page 11 wastes too much space for Kara’s action, which is lost with the position of her body and the close up of the picture on the wall. And about that picture: it looks like something drawn by Chuck Jones in the latter part of his career. It’s fine, but the style is out of place for all that’s preceded it. Matias Bergara only has Lois on one page, but the last panel she’s in has her right arm looking really wonky. The two pages where Superman recounts the events of his last few books is impressive looking, with a really cool mirror image combining them. Just as something looks good, something pops up that’s really odd: Superman in close up on 16 and Supergirl’s extraordinarily long neck on 17. Thankfully, the parallelism that’s employed on 18 and 19 works very well and the final page is outstanding. Bergara seems to be trying to imitate the style of Babs Tarr from the New 52 Batgirl series, but only partially succeeds. I’m only liking half of this book’s visuals. Overall grade: C

The colors: Michael Atiyeh’s colors are outstanding throughout. The rainbow trail that Supergirl has on 2 really makes her stand out against her famous cousin. Page 3 has terrific coloring, from the light orange used for a flashback, to the slick greens that change to blue to connote super hearing. The Kryptonians’ eyes are gorgeous in a similar light blue. The greens from the Emerald Empress are awesome and I wish that Atiyeh had been given more time in the story to show them. The final panel on 7 has some nice foreshadowing with red. The colors used for the background on 13 are beautiful, making the harsh environment seem perfect for the two characters on the page. There’s a great selection of colors used for different forms of energy on 14 and 15. The final page is flat out gorgeous because of the art and the stunning colors from Atiyeh. This is an excellent final page for this issue. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, yells, dialogue, the story’s title, the book’s credits, transmissions, sounds, signage, transmissions, and the tease for next issue are brought to life by Steve Wands. Everything he does is good, but his sounds deserve particular focus for how cool they look and sound. Truly, his sounds perfectly resemble the sounds that being made. Look no farther than the battle with the Emerald Empress to see them in action. Overall grade: A

The final line: More Emerald Empress and stronger art would have helped his fun story considerably. A tease to whet Legion fans’ thirst for an ongoing title coupled with a great reason for the super powered cousins to meet makes this a good read, but an average visual experience. Overall grade: B

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Supergirl-2016-8/digital-comic/479915?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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