In Review: Supergirl #37

You should be reading Supergirl because its story of a young girl trying to fit in is a universal tale.

The covers: Two different covers for you to fly after. The first is by interior artist Emanuela Lupacchino with colors by Tomeu Morey.  This is a terrific picture showing Kara taking out three former versions of herself in space. She’s looking at readers as if they can explain why her tee-shirt, baseball cap wearing guise, her Red Lantern personae, and her Kryptonian armor wearing self are attacking her. All four Karas look great and their poses as they’re smacked aside look awesome. I’m a huge fan of her Red Lantern costume, so it was a treat to see this again. But this image is not symbolic–it actually occurs! Take a close look, reader, for behind our heroine is Crucible. If you read last month’s issue, you’ll have a good idea why this smackdown is happening. I should also point out the sensational coloring by Morey–take a look at that wonderful lighting effect on the characters’ flesh, and that magenta in the background is sensational. There is also a Darwyn Cooke Variant that has a classic Supergirl riding Comet, with Krypto and Streaky flying beside her. I had to own this cover, but I’m also a big fan of Lupacchino, so congratulations, DC, you got me to purchase both covers. I’ll continue to do so if you can get both artists to make a cover each month. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: Kara has enrolled in a school in space for young people to improve their abilities. It’s a gigantic ring called Crucible, and that’s also the title of this story by K. Perkins and Mike Johnson. She’s made friends with Maxima, Tsavo, and Comet (Not the horse, but a cute boy who is “clever and thoughtful, but preens far too much.”). In fact, all the females on Crucible go out of their way to greet him, causing Maxima to storm off with Kara in tow. Professor Korstus, tactical theory instructor and Vice-Preceptor of the academy, finds Maxima’s responses in class interesting and Kara’s defense of them naïve. He knows something, but it’s not revealed to the reader. This storyline is designed to make Kara more polished in her dealings with other races and a better hero, and it functions fine in that regard. I was afraid the story would be come Hogwart’s in Space too quickly, but Perkins and Johnson have something occur on Page 14 that makes the story do a quick change of settings and provide some neat backstory to one of Kara’s friends. This was a good story that continued the saga of hero education, but went somewhere to apply that knowledge. Overall grade: A

The art: The penciller for this issue is Emanuela Lupacchino and the inker is Ray McCarthy. What can’t this pair create? The opening page shows that they are adept at creating outer space settings as Crucible is reintroduced, they can create sprawling futuristic interiors as evidenced by the double-page spread of Pages 2 and 3, they can create a myriad of alien races (throughout), and they excel in action as shown in the final setting. I really like Kara in this book. She just looks so classy and refined. Page 7 is a nice four panel example of her working on school projects and it shows how she’s not just a strong, “punch ’em up” Kryptonian. Pages 9 and 10 have a tense sequence and Lupacchino and McCarthy wisely employ heavy lines around their panels to make the scene more dramatic–a thin line would evoke a lighter scene. Kara’s solution to this sequence is dramatic. The final four pages fall on one of her friends at school and that individual is seen in a different light than how they are at school. I especially liked this character on Pages 17 and 19. This book looks great! Overall grade: A

The colors: I expect great things from Hi-Fi and they never fail to bring their A-game to any book. The opening page is set entirely in space and it’s a dazzling moment when the power source for Crucible is shown. This strong moment dims to cool, calming blue for the interior of the school. However, the many races that make up the student body are every color of the rainbow. Yellow is a good aged color for Korstus, and the blue he wears harkens back to the earlier interiors of the school. The showstopper is the double-page spread of Pages 17 and 18. The details on Kara and her friends, and their attackers, look tremendous. Overall grade: A

The letters: Narration, dialogue (I’m so thankful when there’s a differentiation between the two, because there should be), story title and futuristic credits, Archive File font, a computer’s voice, sounds, transmissions, scene settings, yells, whispers, and next issue’s tease are created by Rob Leigh. There’s a lot of varied work on this book from him and it’s impressive. Overall grade: A+

The final line: You should be reading Supergirl because its story of a young girl trying to fit in is a universal tale. That she’s a Kryptonian with certain abilities makes her unique. Overall grade: A

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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