Supergirl Saturday: Action Comics #254, “Supergirl’s Foster Parents!”
|August 17, 2013||Posted by Jess under Comics, Supergirl Saturday|
Last week, Supergirl used deceit and trickery to get her fellow orphan Timmy adopted into a household that’s sure to be totally emotionally healthy forever. This week, she gets adopted herself! Or does she?
I hope I’m not ruining things for you guys when I tell you that being adopted by the Dales does not, in fact, work out for Linda. I can’t tell if that narration box is mocking her for it or calling Superman out on being a d-bag.
Our story proper opens with Linda helping out a “space rocket” that’s having trouble achieving orbit. When she arrives, she’s introduced to the Dales:
“They wish to adopt some girl!” Any old girl will do, I guess! (Actually, spoiler, it will. Still, I love that super-rude phrasing.)
Like last time, Linda tries to avoid getting adopted, this time by burning the roast she’s cooking with her X-ray vision so that the Dales think she’s careless, but unfortunately, they like their meat well-done:
Weirdly, no one seems to notice Linda removing the roast pan from the oven with her bare hands.
Anyway, she glumly agrees to be adopted, since it would look suspicious for any orphan not to leap at the chance, but after a little time with the Dales, she starts to hope that maybe it’ll all work out:
The life of the adopted kid is still pretty nightmarish in this world, as Linda is immediately put to work without, you know, being asked if she’d like to be part of a circus act. I love her comment that running a sideshow isn’t dishonest. I mean, obviously the Dales are con artists, but can you imagine a normal person’s response? “Uh…thanks? Did you think I was a safecracker or something? Is that going to be a problem?”
Anyway, Linda cheerfully becomes the star of the “strong girl act,” thanks to some props that make it look like she has super-strength – which, as she points out in every single panel, she oh-so-ironically does!
Alas, it’s all fun and games until you realize your new adoptive parents are actually stock characters from a 19th century morality play:
I was going to scoff at the idea of people in 1959 being gullible enough to think a drink at a sideshow would give them superpowers, but that’s basically how Elongated Man became a superhero, so maybe they’re just genre-savvy.
If Dale already knows exactly what’s in that very simple drink, why does he need a chemist to make it?
The next day, Linda is getting ready for the show with the Dales when the elephant they use in their act trips, and Linda’s forced to save her adoptive folks:
The Dales quickly rush to buy the chemist’s “new formula” for the power tonic (“I dunno, I guess I put a little more ginger in?”), but…
…Earth’s yellow sun gives Kryptonians the ability to build incredibly lifelike puppets in record time! Seriously, the idea of the Dales conducting business with a giant, Uncanny Valley marionette freaks me out so bad. Linda returns the money with the help of her super-memory and, presumably, looking into every window in town like a creeper, and returns to the orphanage. And you guys, I can’t decide which bit of completely unnecessary cruelty in that last panel I love more: the fact that the Dales apparently make Linda walk back to the orphanage and inform Miss Hart that they can’t afford her anymore, or that Miss Hart tears up what might be Linda’s only hope for a new family right in front of her. (Also, wouldn’t you want to keep those records?) People in the Silver Age were stone cold.
Anyway, as I said, all of this is pretty fucked up. But, you know, at least it involves actually fighting crime, which is nice to see in a superhero comic. And I do like that Linda is shown flying off to save lives here and there in between the action – not only does it show her commitment to helping people, it shows how incredibly powerful she is, in that she can save an entire rocket or airplane in two panels and it’s not even a little bit what the story’s about. She’s so great. *chinhands*