Several years ago, Supergirl’s new-52 series ended. Although she appeared in Jeff Lemire’s Justice League United (also known as Justice League Canada), she didn’t show up that often as far as I can tell, outside of Superman’s own comics that I stopped reading. It’s nice to finally get a Supergirl series again. What’s also great so far is that it’s a well-balanced combination of a continuation of Supergirl’s new 52 series and borrowing elements from the Supergirl TV series.
This issue focuses almost exclusively on Kara Zor-el trying to get used to her new life. She now has foster parents, the Danvers family, is in her first year in an advanced science high school and is trying to learn how to live on Earth. It’s a good starting point for this series. She clearly appreciates what her foster parents are trying to do, but their efforts are making her feel even more isolated. It doesn’t help that her classmates don’t know what to make of her, and she’s struggling to deal with what feels like archaic technology. Steve Orlando’s writing strikes a good balance between fun and emphasizing Kara’s difficulties with life on Earth.
Brian Ching’s somewhat stylistic art is good. The opening montage explains Kara’s basic origin story that only needs minimal narration to explain what’s going on. The next spread shows Kara flying over one of Jupiter’s moons, which the narration explains is one of the least habitable places in the solar system. The spread is complete with a well-detailed Jupiter on the background, numerous stars in the sky and a landscape covered in lava and jagged rocks. The level of detail continues in the streets of National City, with a great variety of both old and new buildings in the backgrounds, and inside the high school with a wide variety of room types and students. Facial expressions do a good job at conveying emotions, like Supergirl’s smile when she’s flying over the Jupiter moon, the raised eyebrow when her foster father tries to speak Kryptonian, and of course Cat Grant’s smug look when she introduces herself. Michael Atiyeh’s colouring is also good. The flashbacks are all shaded in certain colours that match their environments, while the main story is bright, colourful and appealing.
This is a great first issue for Supergirl’s new series (second if you include the Supergirl: Rebirth issue). It sets up Kara’s new Earth life efficiently, uses flashbacks for great dramatic effect and while the jokes aren’t laugh out loud funny, they should at least make you smile. The ending promises some sort of conflict with Cyborg Superman coming up, so there’s also a clear direction going forward. Although the tone is a bit different, those who enjoyed most of Supergirl’s New 52 series should check this out, as should anyone who enjoyed the TV show or is curious about Superman’s teenaged Kryptonian Cousin.