Sterling Gates’ run on “Supergirl” hits its first major milestone, and DC celebrates it accordingly. Although DC has been inconsistent with their acknowledgment of milestones of late (Superman’s seventieth anniversary as a comic book icon went virtually unnoticed),they seem to have offered this issue up as atonement. With forty pages dedicated to the main story, this is a hefty issue worthy of the hefty cover price. Following the main story is a quaint six-page story co-written by Jake Black and Helen “Supergirl” Slater. The only thing missing from this milestone issue was a collection of pin-ups, but I’ll take a longer primary story over a handful of irrelevant single-page images.
As with the beginning of Gates’ and Igle’s run on “Supergirl,” when the team is able to focus on “Supergirl” as an independent entity the book soars. It is a great read with compelling characters and nifty action. This issue was free from the restraints of “World of New Krypton,” “Last Stand of New Krypton,” or “Supermen are from Krypton, Zods are from New Krypton.” Gates chooses to move the New Krypton story to the background, focusing on a rejuvenation of an old identity. Insect Queen shows up, and the end result is solid superheroic, bug-punching fun.
Igle’s art is as great as it’s ever been, shining through regardless of the tag team of inkers that accompany him. Maybe “regardless” is too harsh, as Sibal and McKenna make a real effort to maintain a similar feel to one another throughout this issue, making the change in inker seamless. The colors vary a little bit more, with the second half of the story being brighter in tone, and less committed to texture and pattern than the first part of the main story. The difference is subtle, and blends well enough with the major thrust of the story that it doesn’t distract.
Black’s and Slater’s story is a retrospective of sorts, featuring Ron Troupe on “Greet the Press” as he tries to provide a positive editorial analysis about the maid of might. It’s a simple story, but one that fits nicely with this issue and the recent goings-on with all Kryptonians. Cliff Chiang steps up to handle the art chores, and I can honestly say that nothing else needs to be said. It’s Cliff Chiang. It’s good stuff.
This issue was a nice breather from the panicked dash back and forth from Earth to New Krypton. Given room to breathe, this story does just that. Some old plots are wrapped up nicely, but some others are exhumed. I hope Gates gets a little more time to let “Supergirl” fly solo following the massive Super-events set to hit these titles in the next few months.