The last issue of Supergirl had quite the cliffhanger ending. Kara’s body was vaporized in order to fully restore Cyborg Superman’s body and memories, only for him to learn that he was Kara’s father. It was a bit of a controversial twist to say the least. We had to wait two months for this issue, but at least we had a Cyborg Superman focused issue, also written by Michael Alan Nelson, to tie us over. But was Supergirl 24 worth the wait?
I was a little concerned after Supergirl’s body was disintegrated in the last issue. It felt a little like a bad science fiction movie from the 50’s. Thankfully this issue was a lot of fun, but not completely without flaws. The comic starts up with the revelation that Supergirl’s consciousness survived her body’s destruction, and is now living within the I’Noxian collective in the form of her much younger self. If you found that confusing, you should probably read Supergirl 21 and 22 before this one. Once the initial shock wears off, she immediately starts trying to break out and avenge her body. Her determination is impressive, and her force of will is strong enough to physically break through the collective and control it. Meanwhile, her father is desperately trying to fix the mess he’s caused in the middle of an attack by Braniac’s forces. If you don’t remember the previous issues too well, it’s probably wise to re-read them before you read this one.
The chaos is fun to watch, but there’s some great development for Supergirl’s character as well. Nelson stated in an interview that this arc was all about helping Supergirl to find some form of happiness, and it feels as though her interactions with the I’Noxian might help her along that path. The comic also ends with the promised fight between Braniac and Cyborg Superman, yet it wisely leaves the fight’s conclusion in the air. I’m sure we’ll see them both again, but leaving the fight a mystery adds to the excitement.
I only have two real problems with this comic. One, while the dialogue is mostly pretty good, Supergirl’s speech for vengeance after breaking free of the collective consciousness feels a bit too long winded. Two, as much as she has reason to be upset with the collective, she seems a little too eager to risk their destruction when she’s seen both what they’re capable of and what they could do for her. It helps that they have a pleasant conversation once Supergirl gets her body back, but still.
The art is very good throughout. The inside of the collective has a very interesting appearance with its black hole-like twister tunnel. Within the consciousness, Kara appears as a very young version of herself and is followed by a recreation of her mother. Pieces seem to be blowing off of them as if their memory isn’t complete. Once Supergirl does start resisting, flames start blazing all over her body. It’s the first of several striking images in the comic. Perhaps the best piece of art is the two page spread when she breaks free of the consciousness, but is still a part of the I’Noxian. Her body is partially reconstructed, and she’s dragging behind I’Noxian buildings behind her. Stuff is flying off of her as she blazes toward Cyborg Superman’s location. Beyond that, facial expressions are very well done and well varied. This is easily the best art I’ve seen this week.
There are no real surprises in this issue – who wasn’t expecting Supergirl to get her body back? The character development, ambiguous ending with the villains, the entertaining fight scenes and the excellent art make this a great comic. It opens Supergirl up for a number of potential stories in the future. Unfortunately, the next one will tie into another Scott Lobdell-led Superman family event. As for this issue though, it’s an easy recommendation for anyone interested in checking out Superman’s family. I’ve said it before, but Supergirl seems to be the best Superman book right now.