Writer: Peter David
Artists: Leonard Kirk (p), Robin Riggs (i)
The book opens with Linda having to deal with the idea that her resentment of Mary Marvel may have very well gotten the young hero killed, and we see this guilty conscious allows Lilith's plan to bring her son back into this world, as all across the globe the chaos stream is overflowing its banks, corrupting everyone it touches. As Linda is subjected to the flames of her counterpart's wings we see that she begins to burn, and given the wings only harm those who believe themselves in need of punishment, we see Linda's self doubt could very well get her killed. However, when Bizarro Supergirl falls to the forces of Lilith, we see Linda gets her head back in the game, though with painful looking burns scarring her entire body, and the fact that Lilith is infinitely more powerful, we see Linda's chances of winning this conflict are slim at best. However with the arrival of Carnivore we see the angelic half of Supergirl joins Linda, and when Buzz decides to pick a side in this conflict, we see that Lilith & her son Carnivore are cast back into the underworld from which they came. As the issue ends we see Linda & Mary Marvel are restored to full health by the healing touch of Twilight, while Buzz exits stage right.
I must admit this story was resolved one issue sooner than I expected as I just assumed that the big finish to this story would be in a double-sized 75th issue, but this clearly doesn't look to be the case. As it stands this issue was quite surprising when it started to resolve the problems that the previous issues had developed, and truth be told in the end I found myself a little disappointed by the rather uninspired finish this story had. I mean sure Buzz's action is surprising but it also comes with a sense of unrealized potential, as for the past two years we've been lead to believe that when the chips were down Supergirl would be betrayed by Buzz, and this element never materialized. There's also the simple fact that Buzz already performed this trick in an earlier issue, so this big moment has a been there, done that quality to it. Now I'll admit that Linda does get run through the wringer in this issue, and one has to admire the character's ability to keep plugging away when most would've given up. However, by giving Buzz the moment that turns the tide of the battle in the heroes favor, this issue does rob Linda's never say die perseverance of some of its impact.
On the other hand, I'm happy with where this book leaves things when the dust settles, as while Linda has herself a nice power boost, the more fantastic abilities that she sported when she was an earthbound angel are left out, which in turn gives us a Supergirl minus all the distracting side elements, like her being a shape-shifting alien protoplasm, or sporting flaming wings. This story also clears the field of most of the running subplots, as while there's still a couple unresolved issues back in Leesburg, this issue does wrap up the follow the chaos stream, battle for Supergirl's soul plot that has been this book's main theme for the past two years. I imagine that Mary Marvel might hang around for another issue, or two, but there's no reason for her to stick around, so Peter David has effectively cleared the stage of all its players except for Linda, and while a return to Leesburg & it's supporting cast is likely, Peter David can also try for a completely fresh start, which would probably be the best course to take given older fans are likely to be drawn to upcoming issues by the seeming return of the pre-Crisis Supergirl. In the end this issue did a good job of setting up a jumping-on point for new readers.
Leonard Kirk's five year run on this title comes to an end, and while I'll continue to get my monthly dose of his art over on the J.S.A., this book is losing a vital piece of why this book is the only title in the Superman line of books that I've stuck with from issue one. When Gary Frank left the book at the end of the first year I must admit I was about ready to depart as well, but after getting my first look at Leonard Kirk's art I decided I would stick around for a few more months. Five years later I'm still around to witness the departure of Leonard Kirk, and while Peter David's made good use of the past five years to sink his hooks into me, I'm going to miss the idea that month in & month out this book had itself some of the best looking art on the stands. This issue Leonard Kirk offers up a memorable finish to the current arc, as there's some great big impact moments in this issue, from the chilling pages that open the issue, and immediately draw the reader in, to the page where Carnivore makes his return to these pages. The shots of Linda getting herself roasted over the course of the battle are also decidedly disturbing, as one is left to question whether Linda will survive this issue.
The big finish to the arc that's been running through these pages for the better part of the past two years, and I must confess I was a bit surprised to see it finish in such a perfunctory manner. I mean, aside from showing that she isn't one to give up, this issue leaves Linda with very little to do, beyond her futile attempts at attacking Lilith. Now I'll admit Buzz's betrayal was rather surprising, and the reason he gives for choosing the side that he did made for a great character moment. Still, the action in this issue wasn't overly impressive, and twenty-two pages simply wasn't enough room to fully play up the urgency this story needed. Now sure we got a look around the DCU to see the effect the chaos streams were having, but this material flashes by so quickly that it's difficult to get too excited. Plus, the crisis is resolved so quickly, and with such little fanfare that I found myself a bit disappointed by how it all played out.
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