It’s easy to see why Gray and Palmiotti decided to leave the book at the same time as Amanda Connor. Rarely does a creative team so suited to one another turn up on the perfect book at the perfect time; To risk a continuation without a major part of that team is a daunting prospect that no-one can be begrudged for wanting to avoid. Not since Kurt Busiek and George Perez took over Avengers a decade ago have I seen what could easily have been generic, mid-level superheroics transformed so definitively into must-read comics.
In the final issue of their run, Gray, Palmiotti and Conner brings things full circle, ending Power Girl’s back-to-back superheroics with a what amounts to a winding-down spa in Terra’s underground home. It’s a bit cute, a bit funny, a bit sexy, and all the other things Power Girl has been in every issue of its run. A fair amount of the cast from the last year shows up for one final hurrah (including Kara’s cat, and all the villains) and the ongoing character threads get neatly tied together. It’s one part finale, one part victory lap.
It’s no secret that in many ways, the titular Power Girl of this series isn’t Kara Zor-L, but Amanda Conner, who has produced a run of artwork so consistently entertaining and technically brilliant that she can easily be called one of the greatest pencillers working in the industry today. Her art is virtually faultless, packed with detail, personality and expression but always servicing the story first. She can render grand alien landscapes alongside 70s sci-fi throwbacks and make you believe they belong in the same world. I’m hard pressed to find even the smallest thing wrong with it, and it’s a genuine shame to think that there’ll be no new Amanda Conner artwork on the shelves next month.
The question, then, is whether what follows can match expectations. It’s not a matter of living up to the standard of Gray, Palmiotti, and Connor — few could hope to — but, at the very least, it has to not feel like a pale imitation of its current self. For what it’s worth, I’m far more interested in what the creative team does next, rather than what the character does next. Gray, Palmiotti, and Conner finally provided the starring role that Power Girl was born for, and although the 12-issue run is too short by half, at least it exists at all. It’s a story so well-told that it deserves a place on everyone’s shelves.