Supergirl Saturday: Supergirl v6 #18-20
|June 13, 2015||Posted by Jess under Comics, Supergirl Saturday|
Now that her series is over, let’s check back in with another arc from the New 52 Supergirl series. When we last left this version of Kara, she’d clawed her way out of the terrible “H’el on Earth” crossover with Superman and Superboy, but it left her with a) a broken heart, b) the certainty that Krypton really is gone, and c) oh yeah, fatal Kryptonite poisoning. Sadly, things are not going to improve for our girl for quite some time.
However, she does make a friend. Now, this arc is honestly a bit of a mess, mostly thanks to the shuffling creative teams (these three issues, respectively, were written/drawn by: Frank Hannah/Robson Rocha, Michael Johnson/Mahmud Asrar, and Michael Nelson/Asrar). BUT, I still really like aspects of it, because Supergirl meets Power Girl in it, and it’s great.
For context: the last time these two characters met for the first time (comics!), in the post-Crisis universe, it went pretty poorly. Since they’re essentially the same person, Power Girl being the Earth-2 version of Supergirl, they had…well, it was supposed to be sort of a matter/anti-matter effect, but what it actually meant was that being around Supergirl triggered an uncontrollable rage in Power Girl, leading to lots of extremely destructive fights complete with dramatic boob-punching. It took the whole Justice Society to separate them, and Kara was essentially advised to stay away from Karen if she knew what was good for her/other her/the world.
This came as part of the first arc of Kara’s last solo series, which was a depressing and misogynistic slog through the DC universe in which Kara spends each issue fighting a superteam (the JSA, the JLA, the Titans, the Outsiders) to drive home the idea that a teenage girl with power is totes bad, you guys. (Believe me, I’ll dismantle it at length here someday.) But the fight with Karen is particularly awful since it doubles down on the “women with power are uncontrollable” bullshit, with a side helping of female competition (and, depending on how you look at it, self-loathing). I hate the “two superheroes meet and immediately fight” trope already, but this was a particularly loathsome application of it.
But that’s not what happens in this arc.
The first issue sort of treads water for a bit, but it does have a fantastic cover:
How gorgeous is that??? I love it when Supergirl gets to be scary.
Anyway, suffice to say that Kara is still suffering from kryptonite poisoning despite a few baths in the sun (like, in the actual sun) and it’s having a feedback effect on Power Girl, who leaves a board meeting of her company to go identify the source of her ailment. After a brief run-in with a volcano elemental (???), Kara is attacked by drones sent by Lex – and, in her weakened state, overpowered.
This cover is misleading, because what Karen actually does is rescue Kara from the drones. When they touch, the kryptonite poisoning is temporarily pushed at bay, and we get this gorgeous splash page:
I just love this. Kara’s been through so much alienation in the past 17 issues, but here she finally has a moment of genuine connection and understanding. Just lovely.
A still-weak Kara tells Karen to take her to Sanctuary, her version of the Fortress of Solitude which sprang up at the bottom of the sea from the wreckage of her ship.
Everything’s hunky-dory until Sanctuary realizes that Kara and Karen have identical DNA, which it interprets to mean that one of them is a clone – and that Kara, as the younger of the two, is it. As we remember from Kara’s interactions with Kon, clones are a big no-no to the New 52 Kryptonian mindset, so Sanctuary immediately starts trying to destroy Kara. Nelson writes this issue with a broad comic tone that I actually liked quite a bit, though it’s sort of jarring when contrasted with the not-particularly-humorous previous issues. However, any tonal disconnect is COMPLETELY FORGIVEN if it means we get Kara defeating Sanctuary with a brilliant application of science:
THAT’S RIGHT, Y’ALL! My girl’s not just a bruiser; she’s SMART.
And, well, that’s pretty much the end of this arc! Of course, this leaves our sick and heartbroken Kara without a home, or any tangible reminder of Krypton, and she’s about to spend the next…oh, a long time bouncing from misery to misery. But that moment of connection with Power Girl makes up for a lot. This is not a Kara who is a danger to everyone around her, no matter what Clark says; this is a girl looking for someone to trust, and I’m so glad she was able to find that with another woman, and, depending on how you look at it, with herself.