Supergirl #19

Story by
Art by
Mahmud Asrar, Marlo Alquiza
Colors by
Dave McCaig
Letters by
Rob Leigh
Cover by
DC Comics

"Supergirl" #19 by Mike Johnson and Mahmud Asrar features a cover with Lex Luthor and Appex bearing down on the Girl of Tomorrow, but the "surprise" on the fold out is Power Girl, completing the attack formation around Supergirl. The story inside, fortunately, does not feature the two versions of Kara Zor-El fighting each other, despite the first rule of superhero meetings.

That might have something to do with the fact that Johnson truly emphasizes the sameness of the two ladies. This is Kara Zor-El and Kara Zor-El meeting each other for the first time. Power Girl tries to comprehend the physics of meeting herself, while Supergirl barely has time in between suffering through bouts of Kryptonite poisoning to recognize her sort-of-self. This is an expansion on the concepts that Paul Levitz introduced in "Worlds' Finest" where he had Huntress meet Damian, her "not-quite-brother." Johnson explores this concept more and dives a little deeper since these two characters are essentially variations of one another. The end result is a team-up story that works quite well and inspired me to wonder about retitling this book "Supergirls."

That isn't likely to happen, but Mahmud Asrar makes a very strong case for more appearances from Power Girl in this book. The artist delivers a sexy and sassy Power Girl that strikes a supermodel pose rather than that of a porn star. Asrar capably handles the variations on Kara Zor-El cleanly enough that the two are rather distinguishable, but very closely linked. One page, split into six vertical strips celebrates the two characters' similarities and differences without objectifying the young ladies. That page is filled with atmospheric background detailing the differences and similarities in their stories, forging an instant connection between the two. Asrar, with an assist from Marlo Alquiza and perpetual collaboration from colorist Dave McCaig, reintroduces the "boob-window" to the costume for Power Girl, but does so in a manner that works in the story and suits the character.

Of late, "Supergirl" has been running a risk of becoming a modern stand-in for the old Superman team-up title, "DC Comics Presents" or even "Superman Family" with the string of guest stars. Power Girl, however, works quite well, brings a fair amount of potential and plays nicely with her pseudo-self. This is a fun issue that is certain to give readers something to smile about and enjoy. The best part is that Power Girl appears set to stick around for at least one more issue, so Johnson and Asrar can continue to plead the case for adding an "S" to the end of this book's title. After all, it's not an "S," on Krypton it means "hope."

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