I think this two-part storyline in “Supergirl” is, easily, my favorite work from Sterling Gates in quite a long time. Why? Well, it’s well written and drawn, but there’s a bigger reason that I think tipped the scales in its favor. It’s the first time in ages that “Supergirl” hasn’t been part of a crossover. No New Krypton, no General Lane, no crossover with “Action Comics.” Just two issues about Silver Banshee and Lana Lang, something that Gates had started back in his first issue on the book (#34) and which has fallen to the wayside ever since.
Of course, there’s more to liking the story than just that. Silver Banshee is an interesting character to me because she’s not just a run-of-the-mill villain (although some recent portrayals used her that way); she’s someone who was cursed into her current form in a tragic manner. So here, it’s nice to see that Gates hasn’t forgotten her origin and what she’s all about. This story feels like progression on that front, that he’s moving towards a later revisiting of the character and a further shift of her status quo. That’s exactly the kind of story we should be getting on a regular basis in superhero comics, and I’m eager to see the next time she makes an appearance. (Hopefully it won’t take another 15 months to do so.)
Matt Camp steps in for one more fill-in before regular artist Jamal Igle returns, but should Igle need more time off down the road I hope DC asks Camp to return. It’s a clean art style, and expressive to boot. Camp shifts from fight scenes to emotional moments in the blink of an eye, and he handles both of them nicely. I like that he can display menace in something as simple as Supergirl looking over her shoulder; it’s not flashy or over the top, but it packs more punch than you’d expect.
In short? More like this, please. Gates has had “Supergirl” pulled into far too many other big “events” and stories over the last year. Maybe 2010 can be the year that Gates gets to have “Supergirl” stand on its own two feet? Let’s hope so.