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Supergirl #2

Posted: Friday, September 30, 2005
By: Michael Bailey



"Power, Chapter Two: Teen Titans"


Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artists: Ian Churchill (p), Norm Rapmund (i)

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: Supergirl faces off against Superboy high above the Kent Farm. Just as the two resolve their differences, the Teen Titans appear and another battle begins. A former Titan ends the fight as Lex Luthor briefs the Calculator on the different forms of Kryptonite.

Commentary: I honestly have mixed feelings regarding this issue. On one hand, I thought Jeph Loeb did a terrific job balancing the action and the drama of the story. On the other hand, and I hate to write this, the big budget look and feel of the book may end up hurting it if things don't calm down just a bit.

Loeb is doing an excellent job with Kara. He did a lot to establish her as a character and introduced some odd bits of business that have a lot of potential. I thought the claustrophobia angle (while very Marvel) was a nice touch, and if it is played right, it has the possibility of making Supergirl a very complex and emotional character.

Loeb's strong point here, as in his work on Superman/Batman, is the internal dialogue. In both that title and in Supergirl Loeb has crammed a lot of action in a very small space. The fights are usually big and getting bigger. To balance this, he provides the captions that let us get into Kara's head and see what she is really feeling. A lot of information and characterization is imparted this way, and I enjoyed the little revelations made, like Kara's study of the Flash in terms of how she uses her speed. More than anything the captions avoid a lot of unnecessary exposition through dialogue and makes it seem like there is more going on than two people hitting each other.

Not that a good brawl is a bad thing. I liked the Teen Titans/Supergirl fight. The fact that she never wanted the fight but didn't want to back down either shows a combination of maturity and, at the same time, let's us know that she is still a young, hot headed girl who is sick of getting jerked around. Wonder Girl seemed a tad out of character, but the fact that Jeph Loeb shares an office with Titans writer Geoff Johns gives me hope that the two of them talk and probably fairly often. The one character that did make me go, "Huh?" was Cyborg with his line reminding Superboy that Batman told Robin to be careful around Supergirl. Batman warned Tim about Raven as well, but I guess it is easier to discount Batman in regards to a former team member than some new girl. It was still a bit odd, though.

(Then again I really don't buy into the whole, "He/She was not written in character." Writers have different visions of how a character thinks and acts and should be given the benefit of the doubt when they have a character act outside of what the reader is familiar with. Besides, people act out of character all of the time. It is human nature. The cause could be as simple as a bad day or as complex as a death in the family but no matter the cause there are times when people will deviate from the norm. Also people change as they grow older and if we can accept that this happens in real life how come we expect less from the fictional world in comics?)

I continue to enjoy Ian and Norm's art. I think the two present a very dynamic style. The characters looked just beautiful and there were moments, like Supergirl breaking Superboy's jaw, where the two showed great ingenuity in displaying Kara's powers.

My only real complaint with this issue was the fact that there has been no real down time for the character. Don't get me wrong, Loeb is doing a fine job, but as much information as we are getting as to Kara's personality we still haven't seen her in a more quiet setting. If this series is to really succeed there is going to be a need for more quiet, character driven moments in the art and writing, not brief periods between people hitting each other. As I wrote, I like a good brawl, but when the first three stories that take place after the character's origin are action, action and more action, it makes the book feel like it might be missing something.

In The End: Despite my slight reservations, this was a really fun issue. I liked Loeb's writing but think he should start giving the art team more civilian moments to draw. The whole Luthor (whose armor looked a lot better this issue) sub-plot is being paced out nicely, and I can't wait to see what he has in mind for Kara. And what the heck does black kryptonite do anyway?



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