Supergirl: Being Super is an alternate reality mini-series where Supergirl’s origin story is very similar to Superman’s. She grew up on a farm with two adoptive human parents and tried to live a normal human life, with little memory of where she came from. It’s been a very dramatic coming of age story, but with the same kind of Superhero action you’d hope for. Each issue contains 48 pages of material, making each one a short graphic novel of sorts. Being Super 4 concludes the miniseries with a lot of long awaited answers.
Written by Mariko Tamaki, this issue begins where the last left off. Kara just met another Kryptonian, who’s clearly angry at humanity. His background is brutal. He first arrived on Earth as a scientist and an ambassador, but was soon captured and experimented on for years. The last issue hinted that he’s not exactly feeling charitable as a result. Kara on the other hand holds onto her kind nature, even after her gym coach (who revealed herself as a scientist working for Lexcorp in the last issue), tries to experiment on her as well and might even be responsible for her friend’s death in Being Super 2.
The first half of this issue is fairly action packed, with one of Kara’s friends being kidnapped in order to lure her into a trap. It’s here where the other Kryptonians reveals his true colours, turning himself into the main villain of the comic. The fight scene is intense with a lot of environmental destruction, but it’s not over the top in any way. The character drama remains the core of this series, and that’s what makes it work so well. The ending also reveals that Superman does exist in this world, but cuts just short of giving him any lines. It’s probably the best way to end this series.
The art by Joelle Jones is fantastic. The general style is clean and smooth, with realistic looking faces and body proportions. There’s great use of hair flowing while Supergirl is flying, and as the fight goes on, her clothes get torn up a bit without getting anywhere close to exploitive. The backgrounds are well detailed, whether it’s the prairies surrounding Kara’s home, the creepy underground lab with all sorts of monitoring equipment, or the messy bedroom filled with posters on the walls and objects on the floor. Facial expressions do a great job at conveying emotions. Kara is clearly furious when she’s trying to find her kidnapped friend. The other Kryptonian’s cold anger when Supergirl turns on him is kind of scary. Superman’s surprised look on the very last panel when Supergirl cuts him off mid-air says it all. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colouring is also great. Outside shots are bright and colourful, while the underground labs are a mix of green and grey, with monitor glows providing the only real light.
This is a fantastic mini-series about a super powered girl growing up. It’s emotionally brutal at times with the death of Kara’s friend early on, but it ends with a sense of hope and direction. The action in the last couple of issues feels big enough for a Superman family book, yet it’s still small enough that the story still feels personal. It feels like this story is primarily aimed at teenaged girls, but the writing is good enough for Supergirl fans of any age or gender. Check this out if it sounds interesting.
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