I had to debate myself whether I’d review this or Detective Comics 955. In the end I chose this because 1: it’s twice the price, 2: Detective Comics is a bi-weekly ongoing series, and 3: Being Super is a 4-part mini-series. So before I get into the review, let me just say that Detective Comics 955 is amazing and if you’re a Batman fan, you should be reading Detective Comics.
Supergirl: Being Super 3, written by Mariko Tamaki, accomplishes quite a bit in its 48 pages. It continues the dramatic elements from Kara losing her friend in the previous issue. It explores more of her past on Earth and touches on her Kryptonian Origin more than the first two entries. It expands on the mystery with her powers that keep faltering at the most inconvenient times. It almost feels like there’s three issues worth of material in here, but in a good way.
The focus on Kara’s tragic loss was the main focus in the previous issue. It’s still present, but it shows that she’s starting to come to terms with it, even though she’s clearly depressed through most of the comic. It explores how there’s a constant reminder of her loss almost everywhere she goes, especially in a small town. At least she’s able to joke a bit with her other friend, and when she starts figuring out what’s going on, she gets very determined. It’s still an emotionally rough comic though.
Toward the end, there’s a huge twist that fully reveals why Kara keeps losing her powers at certain times, and who’s responsible. I don’t remember any specific foreshadowing in Being Super 1 or 2, but there’s a bit of subtle foreshadowing in this one. Without too many spoilers, it involves someone in Kara’s life performing twisted experiments on another Kryptonian, and the discovery and the immediate aftermath gives Kara a new sense of direction. Of course, teaming up with the Kryptonian she rescued could have its own dark consequences if she doesn’t figure out his plans soon enough.
The art by Joelle Jones is fantastic. It’s a fairly realistic style, with plenty of detail in both the characters and the backgrounds. In Kara’s home, the kitchen features a mess of dishes on the shelf in the background, blinds half up the window, a “world’s best dad” mug and a lightly decorated refrigerator. This attention to detail continues throughout the comic, like a wide variety of students at Kara’s high school, paint ending up on sleeves during Kara’s friend’s art class, Kara’s room full of books, pictures and decorations surrounding her computer monitor and the hidden lab full of old equipment. Kara’s facial expressions range from her somewhat depressed look while eating breakfast to her subtle grin when her friend talks about her joke shirt, and the determination in her eyes when she not only realizes who’s making her powers fluctuate, but figures out how to stop it. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colouring is also great. There’s a wide variety of colours, the shading often feels realistic, and the specific colouring of the other Kryptonian’s skin is kind of creepy, but in a way that makes you feel sorry for him.
I might as well mention that Hulk 5 released this week, also written by Tamaki. She seems to be very good at writing people with emotional struggles, yet balancing it out with a fun and intriguing story. As for Supergirl: Being Super, it takes place in an alternate universe where Supergirl’s childhood on Earth resembles Clark Kent’s in the main DC Universe in a lot of ways. She’s growing up in a small town with her adoptive parents on a farm and slowly discovering her powers and her true origin. It explores themes of growing up, loss and recovery very well. It explores a young woman who’s trying to find her place in the world, made all the more complex with her powers and alien origin. It feels like it’s mostly geared toward teenage girls, but it’s well written enough for an adult man like myself to enjoy. If that sounds interesting, then check this mini-series out.