Supergirl: Power
by Jeph Loeb, Ian Churchill
(DC Comics, 2006)

Supergirl doesn't make friends very easily.

In Power, the first solo collection starring the new Supergirl since her reintroduction in Superman/Batman #2, Kara Zor-El gets in fights with pretty much everyone. She argues with Batman, then mixes it up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. She battles with Clayface and Solomon Grundy. She slugs it out with Power Girl, Superboy, Wonder Girl and the Teen Titans (not all at once). She spars with the Outsiders, then has a major brouhaha with Lex Luthor. If that wasn't all bad enough, she has a series of running battles with, um, herself.

Power has the unenviable task of making readers forget about the several Supergirls who have passed through the DC Universe so far and fall in love with the new one. Granted, this Kara is a bit too pop-idol in her style of dress, and her legs and bare midriff are long and thin enough to make most supermodels grab for a sandwich, but writer Jeph Loeb has crafted an innocent, yet powerful new version of the heroine that's easy to adore.

The story falters, however, in that it gets a little wearying to watch Kara engage in so many all-out battles with her supposed allies. Don't comic-book heroes ever get tired of punching first and talking later? The split personality storyline too is a little hackneyed -- and you have to love how a mystical gem not only divides Supergirl in twain, it also gives the "evil" half an entirely different costume so we can tell them apart. Clever gem, that.

Still, this is Supergirl's first outing on her own, and she has plenty of time -- and room -- to grow. Let's not count her out just yet -- let's see if she can match, or exceed, her predecessors in the role.

by Tom Knapp
20 January 2007

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