This issue continues the slow discovery of the world around Supergirl. While many are certain to complain of the “decompressed” nature of this story, I think Michael Green and Mike Johnson are doing the right thing with this story. If anything, we maybe should have had one more issue before Supergirl met her cousin, as this issue dealt with both that and Supergirl’s continuing discovery of her powers. Green and Johnson write a pleasantly believable and fun to read Supergirl, giving her a personality that is every bit as human as the young lady you sat next to on the bus, in class, or at work today. The biggest difference is that Supergirl is, well, Supergirl.
Green and Johnson give Supergirl her first exposure to flight and also provide a more in-depth look at x-ray vision in this issue. In and around that we begin to learn more about Supergirl’s life before the first issue. She’s from Argo City, on Krypton, and remembers her cousin as a baby whom she sat for. She had some trials to study for, but what those trials are or were remain a mystery save for the fact that if she succeeded, she would be deemed worthy to wear the family crest. Not a vast amount of difference from the reboot, but certainly a helpful backlog for the newer fans.
The art in this issue is not as polished as it was in the first issue. As a matter of fact, it is very unpolished. While Mahmud Asrar supplied some moody washes over top his pencils in the first issue, this issue is plainly inked by Dan Green. That’s not to say Green’s inking is substandard, but the difference between inks and washes is equivalent to the difference between black and white and color. The backgrounds are more sparse, as the pair of Supergirl and Superman is fighting in wintery wastelands of Siberia. That works for now; it helps keep the focus on the characters, but it feels a tad unfinished.
That unfinished look — which in spots reminds me of the work of Rafael Albuquerque — plays to the uncertainty, confusion, and angst of the story. Asrar’s character work is very good and his expressions are well matched to the story this issue delivers. As Supergirl’s x-ray vision goes haywire during her fight with her cousin, Asrar splendidly peels back the layers for the reader. It comes through so completely that it doesn’t take much to imagine that moment projected onto the screen of a packed theater.
Of all the relaunched books, I was looking forward to this one quite a bit, largely to see what Asrar would do with a title that had a stronger profile than much of his previous work. To this point, I’ve been handsomely rewarded more than anticipated, as the story has been crisp and invigorating. Most importantly, however, is the fact that of the two issues so far, I am able (in good conscience) to share then with my eleven-year-old daughter and not concern myself over the content of the book or the presentation of the character. DC definitely got this book right, so right that it deserves to be shared.