The first time I sent in my review of “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade,” my editors kindly sent it back with a note explaining that I needed to do more than just repeat the word “adorable” 350 times. I still maintain, however, that it was a pretty valid review of Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones’s “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade.”
I’d seen Walker and Jones’ work before, most notably on their comic “Little Gloomy” for SLG Publishing, which meant that I knew that the two could handle an all-ages comic. And, just like with “Little Gloomy,” Walker and Jones are able to not only make a comic that’s appropriate for younger readers, but still interesting for us older readers. What struck me the most about “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade” was that this isn’t a book about Supergirl who is also pretending to be a normal teenager, this is genuinely a book about a teenager who just happens to have super powers. The end result is that “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade” quickly shifts away from “where Supergirl is from and who she’s connected to” but instead to “where she is going and how she can adjust to going to school on Earth.”
Walker’s got a strong sense of pacing and humor, and I really like how he both knows how to reuse a joke over and over again, but also equally understands exactly when to stop it while it’s still funny. Watching Supergirl flounder in her new school is funny and painful at the same time, and he balances that line just right. There’s a nice mixture of drama and humor, and Walker’s scene with Supergirl arguing with her mother in Argo City is a perfect example of just how well Walker gets teenage girls.
Jones tackles Supergirl with equal skill in his art. The difference between the confident, strong visuals of Superman and how he draws the slightly gawky, unsure Supergirl is perfect. It’s an important artistic decision; by keeping her from being the majestic person that she is elsewhere, it’s easier to buy that she’s having such a hard problem feeling in-place. Even the little touches, like Lex Luthor being back in his old-school green-and-purple villain outfit, are great here. I can’t wait to see what happens when Jones gets to create some new villains (super or otherwise) for “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade” because I bet they’ll look great.
Editor Jann Jones has done a great job with creating DC’s new all-ages line thanks to books like “Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!” and “Tiny Titans,” and “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade” fits in perfectly when it comes to the high quality in its production. I’m in for more, absolutely. (And maybe we could have more than just six issues? Please?)