In Review: Supergirl #7

A familiar story and adequate art make this just passable.

The covers: A gigantic wolf begins to close its jaws and forcing them open is Supergirl. She’s straining to keep the creature from containing her, so it’s raising its clawed hands to force her down its gullet. This cover is by Emanuela Lupacchino on pencils and Michael Atiyeh on colors. The look of absolute joy on the monster is excellent, as is the look of strain on the Maid of Might. The colors are what pushed me over the edge to pick this up because the wolf is amazing. The Variant cover is by Bengal and features a scratched up Supergirl in the bottom two thirds of the image looking up at a wolf shadow that’s starting to envelop her. There’s too much empty space on this cover between the title and the character. Yes, it’s filled by the shadow, but it looks as if the artist was expecting text to go there. Which begs the question, why was there text on the Regular cover, when it didn’t need any, and none on the Variant, when it needed some? Overall grades: Regular A and Variant C+ 

The story: Supergirl has been asked by Dr. Veritas of the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations) to join her mind to Lar-On. The Kryptonian agrees “because my father could not cure his condition…He is in stasis because we haven’t cured him.” An “energy-twin” will be projected into Lar-On’s mind, giving thirteen minutes for Supergirl to find out if his transformations into a werewolf-like creature are mentally or emotionally based. She’s transported to the man’s childhood, where she’s at the dinner table with Lar-On and his father as the man tries to get his son to eat dinner. The pair have a harsh relationship, due his mother’s absence, but when things take a sharp turn to the grotesque, Kara realizes that running around Lar-On’s mind will be no easy task. Writer Steve Orlando goes into expected territory for Supergirl as she’s in a world that she can’t control, predict, or fight. She encounters the child version of Lar-On, which is how the character views himself, and she has to convince him that the trauma he experienced as a child can’t control his adult self. The story is fine, but it’s been told a thousand times before, and Orlando does his best to give it heart, but it doesn’t go beyond filler material. The final two pages are the high point of the story, but they only tease whom she will be meeting with next issue. That has me excited. Overall grade: C+

The art: Matias Bergara’s art is a real mixed bag on this issue. Starting in a DEO lab, the setting conveys futuristic technology well, while showcasing Supergirl. The glare and the smoke coming of Lar-On’s containment cylinder is a little much, but it equates to the reader how much energy is required to keep the man sedated. The point of view for the final two panels on Page 3 is slick: it’s a minor thing to do, but having Kara placed like this provides a neat transition to Page 4. That first panel on 4 is a mess. It’s hard to a get a focus on the character because of the overpowering work done on the energy to transport her. Better is the tight close up when she wakes, and the large panel that follows, though there does seem to be a tremendous waste of space in that final image. Things improve on 5, with the surprise in the fourth and fifth panels twisted nicely, but, again, the final panel has too much done with the energy eruption. The layout of 6 is great, conveying motion neatly. The person Kara encounters on 7 is too cartoony. Yes, it is age appropriate, but is too childish in its design. The antagonists that chase after Kara are good, but the tension is undone by that cartoony character. Starting on 13 the art becomes really loose: the details disappear and the characters are drawn from angles that have them looking odd. At several points the characters’ faces are lost in shadows: Shouldn’t they be fully shown for this dramatic conversation? 16 and 17 are a double paged splash and it does not work. The reason for the angle is understood, but one character’s legs look wonky and the background is non-existent. A background would have made this image much more dramatic. The strongest image of the book is the final page, which teases an iconic character for next issue. However, the character’s face is lost in shadows. Too many shadows, characters are overpowered by energy, and a lack of detailed settings. Given where the story is set, they may be justifiable, but it doesn’t bring any visual joy. Overall grade: C

The colors: Here is an element to this issue which works. Michael Atiyeh has some striking colors for this issue. The blues used for the Scabbard are fantastic, allowing Dr. Veritas and Supergirl to stand out wherever they are in this setting. There’s a nice coloring effect on 3 that shows Veritas at a computer screen. The whitewashing of colors on 4 completes Supergirl’s transportation, while the return to colors shows she’s arrived at her destination–very Wizard of Oz. 6 has a great use of colors that told me, as a long time reader, where she was before I even read the text. Kara’s rainbow fall on 8 was a nice blast of color on the page. The four pages that feature the dramatic conversation are drowning in crimson, but that’s necessary given what’s being discussed. However, this proves to be a problem on 16 and 17, but that’s because there’s nothing in the background for Atiyeh to color. Atiyeh did a good job. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, scene settings, editorial notes, sounds, whispers, werewolf speech, Kryptonian speech, the story’s title and book’s credits, and the tease for next issue are crafted by Steve Wands. The wide variety of sounds make this book fun, even in the darkest parts, and the werewolf speech is a perfect horrific match for their speakers. Next issue’s tease is done at a neat angle that reminds one of classic comics. This was also a well done job. Overall grade: A 

The final line: A familiar story and adequate art make this just passable. It’s only Issue #7 and this is the best that can be mustered for Supergirl? Disappointing. Overall grade: C+

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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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