Supergirl #5

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

The problem with characters that have a power set comparable to Superman is that finding a viable threat is a tough task. After all, "super" is pretty darn good, right? With the relaunch, however, DC has the opportunity to redefine "super" and to place challenges around that term accordingly. If handled the right way, that should lead to viable threats, true conflicts, and maybe, just maybe, compelling stories.

"Supergirl" is definitely handled the right way. Michael Green and Mike Johnson write Supergirl as any person would be in her situation: frightened, confused, marginally hopeful and surprised. Supergirl is learning more about her newfound powers in this issue as she tears off into space, retracing what she hopes is her path back home.

Supergirl finds her home of Argo City and is able to activate the sunstone (the red crystal "flashdrive") to receive a message from her father. Both the message and her hometown are tinged with mystery which only deepens Supergirl's despair and loneliness. She does, however, find a new foe in this issue. That foe refers to herself as Reign and she gives Supergirl a fight unlike any other. The two ladies tussle for five pages wherein Reign does quite a bit of expository monologuing. That helps advance the story, making this issue quite a dense, satisfying read.

Supergirl is accumulating foes faster than most heroes, but in doing so Green and Johnson continue to build the universe around her. Surprisingly enough, those foes aren't retreads, but new concepts given expression and panel space to breathe and grow.

Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig magnificently blend their talents in this issue, with McCaig enhancing the marker-toned drawings to add depth and texture. The end result is a collection of stunning visuals that invites the reader to finish reading the story then come back. Start at the beginning of the issue and just study each and every panel. Asrar's camera angles, composition and figure work are mesmerizing. McCaig's colors are akin to life being breathed into the drawings. The figures have depth, the depths of space have texture and the book is remarkably bold.

"Supergirl" is a fine addition to the relaunch, and an even better showcase of what the relaunch could have been (or could still become) for other titles. This is a title unafraid to reinvent the character -- visually and narratively -- or the world around her. "Supergirl" doesn't stop there, however, as this title also serves as a lush showcase for new talent and new styles. Sure, we're almost half a year in, but the story in "Supergirl" is as fresh and exciting as it was in issue #1.

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