Supergirl #36 Review
Supergirl #36 review by Hugo Bravo
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle
About six months ago, Supergirl was one of DC's monthly books that served little to no purpose. It seemed to lack direction, without even a set origin for its main character. In fact, I can't remember when I really had any interest in Kara Zor-El, aside from her first appearances in Superman/Batman, and the one issue where she went against Batgirl Cassandra Cain (and that was purely for fanboy enjoyment). That's all changed now, thanks to a young writer by the name of Sterling Gates. With only a handful of stories to his name, mostly involving the Green Lantern Corps, he now has his plate full with one of the biggest crossovers in DC. Gates, along with industry veterans Geoff Johns and James Robinson, are writing the 8-part series New Krypton, in which Kryptonians from Kandor, previously held captive in suspended animation aboard Brainiac's ship.
The eighth chapter of New Krypton reveals the first casualty of the series, Supergirl's father Zor-El, following an attack on New Krypton by Superman baddies Metallo and Reactor. This was due to Supergirl's birth mother Alura taking it upon herself to gather a small, but unstoppable Krytptonian army to round up as many of Superman's enemies and sending them to the Phantom Zone. With her husband gone, Alura blames both Kara and Superman for not being able to properly handle their enemies. At least New Krypton still has some friends left. I'm very interested in discovering who the new Flamebird and Nightwing are, seeing as they may have come across Alura's plan for the residents of New Krypton. Kara also gets some advice from another "Super" resident from Krypton, who serves more of a mother figure than Alura and possibly even a better role model for her than Superman himself. Finally, Kara's "aunt" Lana Lang is trying her best to keep Supergirl's name off Cat Grant's tabloid section of the Daily Planet.
In the Superman book, James Robinson's take on Krypto the Superdog completely revived the character, making Superman's pooch not just a gimmick or even just an ally, but an integral part of the Superman legacy. As of right now, we are still waiting for Supergirl to receive that same treatment. It can't be stressed enough how much Sterling Gates has improved the book. She's come a long way from previous issues where she inexplicably tried to take down Air Force One, or tried to cure a dying boy's fatal cancer, but Supergirl still has ways to go before she can get past the confused teenage angst and truly endear herself to the casual Superman fan. Jamal Igle's pencils look great in fight scenes, but occasionally his faces look a bit strange, Superman in particular. It seems that a requirement for males staying in New Krypton is to wear a slight touch of eyeliner.
Young writer Sterling Gates is not only the owner of an awesome government name, but thanks to him, the Supergirl book is holding its own in the New Krypton storyline, hopefully on its way to giving Kara Zor-El a true identity in the DC Universe, and introducing new Kryptonians whom I hope will become a mainstay of Superman's life. I still find Robinson's and John's New Krypton chapter more crucial to the main story, but considering the quality that this book was before Gates came on board, we must give him credit for this, as well as being able to keep up with two of DC's most acclaimed writers.