by Jeph Loeb
& Michael Turner
(DC Comics, 2005)
The second story arc of the Superman/Batman line begins with a naked Kryptonian teenager. Given that she's identified as being 15 or 16 years old, alien or not, the amount of Kryptonian cheesecake might attract undo prurient interests to the book. Still, series creators Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner wanted to reintroduce Supergirl to the DC Universe in a big way, and there they succeeded.
A meteor storm of debris from ruined planet Krypton has changed the playing field for Superman on Earth. But, while Batman seeks answers among the scattered rocky remains, he finds a vessel -- and in it is Kara Zor-El, apparently Superman's cousin, who has been drifting in suspended animation since their homeworld exploded. (Although she was the infant Superman's senior when they were both saved from Krypton, he has aged in the meantime and she has not.)
For those who haven't been following the convoluted history of Supergirl, I'll briefly note that the character had a long history with DC pre-Crisis of Infinite Earths; however, during that historic storyline, she died a hero's death. Since then, she has existed in several forms, from extradimensional protoplasm to earthbound angel, but, lacking adequate sales, Supergirl was again removed from the shelf until a new, more profitable incarnation could be put into play. She was reintroduced in Superman/Batman to gauge reader reactions before giving the new/old Supergirl her own series.
OK, enough flashback. She's here, she's naked and she doesn't speak the language.
Superman, of course, is overjoyed to find long-lost kin from Krypton. Batman, of course, is suspicious, and wonders if she's really who she claims to be. Wonder Woman, with the assets of her remote island, takes on the girl's training -- until an army of Doomsday clones comes to whisk Kara away to Apokolips, the domain of Darkseid, who wants Supergirl for purposes of his own. It all seems a bit much, really, but the upside is, we get to see Batman fight with a wicked battleaxe. And again, when Batman and Wonder Woman accompany Superman and Big Barda on a rescue mission, Batman takes on one of the mightiest beings in the universe.
Ah, but I say too much.
Prurience aside, Supergirl is an excellent story that heralds a welcome return. Things happen a little too quickly, as if Loeb was on a tight word-to-page budget, but the hurried feel works well given the nature of the story. It's also a vital chapter in the ongoing Superman/Batman series, which has developed into one of DC's strongest books. The dual narration, in the heads of both title characters, is the device that keeps Superman/Batman at the head of the game.
by Tom Knapp