Superman/Batman: Supergirl

Here’s yet another instance of me really wishing a trade cover didn’t give away the entire plot point of a comic.

Granted, I’m probably being nit-picky, as I’m sure back in 2004 it was  well-publicized that Supergirl was going to return; I’m sure few people opened up this comic and viewed her reappearance as a complete surprise.  Still, given the rather unique nature of the quest I’ve undertaken, I wish there was a way to avoid any and all spoilers, so that I could go into each comic completely blind and simply let the story envelop me as it plays out, surprising me with its twists and turns.

But I digress.

Superman/Batman: Supergirl continues the Superman/Batman crossover that was begun in Public Enemies.  The Kryptonian asteroid has been destroyed, and Superman is in seclusion as the world gathers up the smaller pieces of kryptonite that are falling to Earth.

On a routine dive underwater to collect such pieces, Batman stumbles across an alien-looking ship, that he’s fairly certain hasn’t been there that long.  Cut away to a scene of a naked woman running through the streets, before being taken out by Batman and Superman and brought back to the Bat Cave.

The girl is speaking a strange language, but luckily it’s one that Superman knows all too well.  After a very brief exchange, Superman happily introduces Batman to their visitor.

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Kara Zor-El is back.

Of course, within this current version of continuity, she had never been there before.  For comics fans though, Superman’s cousin, who was last seen sacrificing her life during Crisis on Infinite Earths, has finally made a triumphant return to continuity.

Now of course with Batman being Batman, he’s incredibly skeptical.  He’s convinced that they don’t have enough evidence to prove without a doubt that this is in fact another survivor of Krypton.  Superman disagrees, and informs Bruce that he knows it in his gut that this is his cousin, and welcomes her with open arms.

Kara learns English and is eventually transferred to Paradise Island, where Diana and the Amazons help teach her how to control her powers.  There’s a moment of arguing, with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman each believing they know what’s best for Kara.  I was pleasantly surprised when Kara stood up for herself and pointed out that they might ask her what she wants to do with her life.

You go girl.

Of course, there isn’t much time for that.

Darkseid has monitored Kara from afar and decided that she would be the perfect leader for his Female Furies (still trying to replace defector Barda, apparently).  He sends in a diversion to distract our trio of heroes while he swoops in and steals Kara away.

Superman chases after her with an intensity we rarely see, even from him.  Enlisting Barda to help, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Barda journey to Apokolips to confront Darkseid and bring Kara home.

Of course, by this time she’s already been properly mind-controlled, making for a pretty intense battle between Superman and Supergirl.

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Darkseid is eventually defeated, with Batman holding his own against one of the most brutal warlords in the universe (I sort of loved the scene where he basically backed Darkseid into a corner and gave him no choice but to surrender Kara.  Go team Bats, even Darkseid’s no match for him!)

Kara returns to Earth, but of course Darkseid is not to be trusted.  He shows up and vaporizes Kara with his omega beams (but not really).  Thanks to a little transportation technology, Kara is removed from the scene right before she’s killed, so that Darkseid will believe her to be dead and leave the planet.  It’s your typical fake-out death, seen quite often in comics, but here at least it doesn’t feel forced.

As the comic closes, Kara finally adopts the Supergirl persona, with a uniform that mimics Clark’s own, uniting them as family as well as fellow heroes.

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Supergirl’s return was surprising, with plenty of twists and turns along the way to hold my interest. The conflict between Bruce and Clark over whether or not she can be trusted was well-written, and felt true to character for each.  Although Supergirl isn’t fully fleshed out at this point, she at least has a mind of her own and is willing to stand up for her own rights.  That’s not something we see with every superhero, so I was more than happy to see her take such a forceful stance so early on.

The slight yet effective banter between Batman and Superman was extremely engaging, and made their long-time friendship feel more real than it has in the past.

Bonus?  Wonder Woman and Big Barda fighting alongside one another on Apokolips.

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Barda’s appearance was just icing on the cake for this comic, and I loved seeing her in her “warrior-spirited, take no prisoners” glory.

Yeah, I have a bit of a girl-crush on Barda. Not even ashamed.

Everything in this comic united beautifully to make a wholly enjoyable story, and provide a wonderful welcome for Kara Zor-El back into the main continuity. I look forward to seeing where her story goes.

-Jess

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