Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Comic-book Night - 3/20/13

It's "week 3" of the month, and that means my largest haul of new paper comics, at least for the moment.  This week's "pull list" included Justice League 18, JLA 2, and Supergirl 18.  In addition, I picked up the trade paperback containing issues 6-9 of the previous Supergirl series, Supergirl: Candor.  Combined with last week's purchase of Supergirl: Power, I now have the stories contained in the first 10 issues of that series (0-9), plus a few other stories in which that version of Supergirl appeared.

I've not read Candor yet, but I have read this week's new offerings, and they are a mixed bag.  Strangely enough, JLA, which is the new kid on the block, and is written by Geoff Johns, was the strongest book this week.  I'll provide brief reviews of each issue.

Justice League of America #2

 After getting off to a slow start in issue #1, where hardly any of the team members got much screen time, we finally see the team coming together in this issue.  I'm still not quite sure that Catwoman makes much sense on this team, but I am greatly enjoying Star Girl, who seems to be one of the few classical superhero characters left in the DC Universe, and Martian Manhunter, who is always interesting.  There's a nice cliffhanger ending in classical comic-book style as well. This one's an 8/10.

Justice League #18

In the main story, the JL has decided to let new members onto its roster, and this issue has them all showing up at the JL base (which is a space station orbiting the earth) and meeting each other.  We see one of the first "Metal Men," who malfunctions, and watch a great number of heroes interact.  The basic premise is interesting enough, but it is executed very badly.  They're going for humor as the heroes interact, but a lot of the jokes fall flat.  In the Shazam! backup story, which is finally back after vanishing for a couple of issues, we see Black Adam terrorizing the city, and Freddy tells the rest of the family about Billy Batson being Captain Marvel (I know they don't call him that any more, but that's the proper name for the character). The Seven Deadly Sins also make their appearance.  Although I enjoy the Shazam! backup feature, I really think it is misplaced. They should have just made a 6-issue Shazam! mini-series rather than adding it as a backup feature to JL. I give this one 7/10.

Supergirl #18

I was looking forward to this issue, hoping that, with the atrocious H'el story arc finally over, and with her finally admitting the destruction of Krypton and knowing how to speak English, Supergirl would start to attain some level of normalcy, which the book has not had yet since it started a year and a half ago.  Sadly, DC just seems unwilling, or perhaps unable to make Kara act like a normal person, or have any sort of normal down-to-earth experiences.  Instead, she's suffering from Kryptonite poisoning after the events of H'el. There are hints in this issue that they may be doing this to "depower" Kara so that she is not equal in power level to Superman (if they are doing so, it is both lame and sexist, and they will earn even more of my derision than they already have).  Supergirl gets attacked by a lava creature that apparently comes from the Superboy comic.  That part is a typical mindless superfight.

But what I really hated about this issue was Kara's behavior, which continues to be utterly inexcusable. She is a complete hot-head, who won't listen to anyone else and does just whatever she pleases.  She doesn't think, doesn't plan, just goes off half-cocked all the time.  This aspect of her personality is decidedly unappealing, and it is starting to make me actively dislike this version of Kara, rather than just being disappointed in it.  They may call this character "Supergirl" and "Kara Zor-El" but from where I sit, she is even more of an impostor than the old Matrix character, who at least acted like Supergirl should act.

I'm not sure why the writers and editors have decided to make Supergirl such a hot-tempered, unsympathetic, down-right jackass of a character.  Perhaps this is how they view teenage girls. Perhaps they just don't like the character and therefore aren't inclined to make her likable.  But at this point, I'm getting very close to giving up on the Supergirl series. And that's pretty amazing, when you consider all the money I have spent getting every single back-issue of The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl (series 2), and Peter David's 80-issue run about a character that was called Supergirl but wasn't even Kara.  At this point, honestly what I would really love to see is original, pre-Crisis Supergirl from Daring New Adventures show up in this timeline, and kick this new Kara's ass all over the planet.  Hell, I'd root for Matrix Supergirl in that fight at this point. And again, for someone who loves the original Kara so much, that's really saying something.

Here's hoping the new writer with issue #20 can do something positive with this character. Right now, she's just a complete and total brat of a teenager. And that's not a very respectful way for them to write this venerable character.  I give this issue 6/10.

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