In Review: Supergirl: Rebirth #1

This won't thrill long time fans, but would definitely be informative to new readers.

The covers: The Regular cover for this book thankfully shows the Kryptonian heroine clearly, with her fist not obscuring her face, but held before her, covering just a bit of the bottom of the title, as she flies off on her next adventure. Interior artist Emanuela Lupacchino and interior colorist Michael Atiyeh have done a great job on this. I really like the red glow from her eyes, showing the reader she’s about to release their awesome energies. This is one of the better Regular covers, so far, in the Rebirth line. Adam Hughes has created the Variant cover, showcasing Supergirl turning toward the reader. The joy on her face speaks volumes on how she feels about herself and this was the cover I had to purchase. It’s also the visual I had to use with this review. Overall grade: Regular A and Variant A+

The story: “Agro City. Then.” Lar-On is sentenced by Zor-El, acting on the authority of the Science Council, to the Phantom Zone because he cannot be cured of his Red Kryptonite sickness. The man pleads for mercy, but none is given and he disappears. Zor-El is not happy with his choice, but tells a peer, “Lar-On’s sacrifice protects his fellow citizens. His family. Protecting those we love demands sacrifice.” He goes on to say that he knows much of his sacrifice. “I gave up my own daughter. Sent her far from here to keep her safe…” And where is his daughter? On Earth at the Scabbard, the Department of Extra-Normal Operations Ghost Site #25Z where she’s about to launched into the sun to reacquire her Supergirl powers she’s recently lost. Cameron Chase, the D.E.O. Director, and Agent Eliza Danvers, Kara’s foster mother, watch her launch into space hoping this second chance works. Just as she speeds off there’s a “massive Phantom radiation spike” at the launch site and a familiar violet blob opens up and a figure falls to the ground. This character spells trouble for those left behind on Earth, with Kara too far away, and powerless, to assist them. This is a good start by writer Steve Orlando. However, what the Red Kryptonite does to Lar-On physically was right out of the 1970s, and after doing some quick research, it was out of the 1970s. Kara gets her powers back (and be honest, that’s no spoiler) and she makes a beeline back to Earth to help her adoptive parents, since Agent Jeremiah Danvers had arrived on the scene before trouble started. There’s a decent struggle between the two, with a solid reason on Page 12’s second panel why it needs to occur. The change up on 14 is also good, with a good piece of dialogue changing the battle in the fifth panel. The fate of a character on 15 allows this individual to be revisited soon. After this battle has concluded, there’s a rebuilding of a setting, the introduction of a base, the re-establishment of a secret identity, and the appearance of someone who’s starting some serious trouble. This story is okay. It introduces the heroine, her allies, an enemy for a quick fight, and sets Supergirl’s place in the DC Universe. There’s nothing to wow long time fans, but for new readers, this is a good primer. As one of the former, this was average. Overall grade: C

The art: Now this is something to crow about! The art on this issue, by penciller Emanuela Lupacchino and inker Ray McCarthy is outstanding. I fully admit to being absolutely biased about Lupacchino’s visuals, but, c’mon, this looks great! And McCarthy is making her work shine. The characters are extremely strong. The opening page shows this with the close up of Zor-El, showing his sadness as he sentences Lar-On to eternity in stasis. Kara looks great in her close up on 2 and is stunning in her rebirth sequence on 8 and 9. The tight panel that shows her determination with only her eyes at the bottom of 9 is excellent. The new/old version of Kara atop 19 is wonderful to see, as is that slick knowing look in the second panel. And giving Kara a run for her money is Chase, who gets a great close up in the final panel on 4. The ship that launches powerless Supergirl into the sun looks really good. In fact, I’m hoping that more Kryptonian technology appears in other Super titles. However, the antagonist’s altered look of this book is just too cheesy for me. Though I admit that his reactions at the bottom of 5 are cool, mirroring the classic reactions of Lon Chaney, Jr., the design of the character just doesn’t work. And placing swirly tattoos on him doesn’t help at all; coming of as a last minute addition to create an alien look. Looking at this character as I write this review, he resembles the design of the characters from the Bloodlines characters from a long ago DC event. Yes, this character had this same “ability” back in 1979, but the design should have been more alien looking. Acknowledging this, when the villain goes on the attack, there are some neat looking panels, such as at the bottom of 10. The settings look good, especially the interior on 15. The design of the building on 17 is slick looking, and I can’t wait to see this structure in peril at some point. The setting on the final page is also cool looking, and hopefully more of this location will also be shown. With one key exception, this is a sharp looking issue. Overall grade: B+

The colors: The cool violets and soft shades on the first page are instant visual markers for the reader to realize that he or she is witnessing an event on an alien world. The only object on this page that is colored brightly is Zor-El, and this is a good way for the reader to recognize the importance of this man. The combination of steel gray and smooth violets on the ship that rockets Kara skyward is a snazzy alien duo of colors. The colors truly sell the imagery on Pages 7 and 8, as one can feel the heat that they create. The pale blues of Supergirl’s eyes really contrast with the heat of the bottom panel of 9. Pale blues are also used for a technological feel on 15 and 18. Michael Atiyeh makes this book feel real. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings and character identification, dialogue, an editorial note, transmissions, sounds, the story’s title, the book’s credits, distant dialogue, strained Kryptonian speech, computer text, mysterious mechanical speech, and the tease for next issue are brought to life by Steve Wands. It’s understandable why scene settings and character identification employ the same font, since they are both identifiers for the reader, but a different font for each would have made the book more visually pleasing. The strained speech of one alien looks good, but the normal dialogue font for every other character is really thin. I’m old enough to grouse that a thicker font would have been easier to read. Overall grade: B

The final line: By the numbers storytelling, with better than average art. This won’t thrill long time fans, but would definitely be informative to new readers. Your knowledge of Supergirl will determine your enjoyment. Overall grade: B

To order a digital copy of this book go to https://www.readdcentertainment.com/Supergirl-Rebirth-2016-1/digital-comic/T1597100015001

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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