So I sat down to write a review of Detective Comics 962. After all, not only did I already post two Marvel comic reviews, but it was the only comic I picked up this week that isn’t a female solo book. I would rather have some sort of variety on this blog when it comes to comics. But when I sat down to write the review, I couldn’t come up with enough words to justify it. It’s the conclusion of an Azrael focused story, and not only did I not know much about Azrael going into the story, but I still don’t know much about his effect on the Batman franchise. His background is told very well in the arc, but I still don’t care much either way. So instead of forcing myself to write a review of a good comic that probably wouldn’t be that interesting of a review, let’s look at Supergirl 12 instead.
Detective Comics 962 is a great comic though.
Written by Steve Orlando, Supergirl 12 picks up where the last one left off. Supergirl just returned from the Phantom Zone only to be shot by some sort of energy weapon by Cat Grant. It doesn’t take long for Supergirl to realize that the energy weapon didn’t actually hurt her. Furthermore, she looks up to see the balcony gone, and she can hear Cat Grant across the city. The illusion is the weird part. The bad part is that her powers are going out of control. She can suddenly fly faster, to the point where she’s shattering windows on buildings. Her heat vision goes off against her will. Her hearing is sensitive to the point where she can’t focus.
The comic is split between Supergirl struggling to deal with her amplified powers and a lot of story building. There are five supervillains teaming up, all of which believe that Supergirl will destroy them or their successors in the future – if they don’t eliminate her now. Each of them seem dangerous in their own way, and the Emerald Empress seems to be the ring leader of these “Fatal Five”. At this point the story’s direction isn’t entirely clear, but the ending teaser pits Supergirl against one of the Fatal Five.
There’s a lot of stuff in this comic that works well. Supergirl trying to deal with her amplified powers is a mix of dramatic and funny. She’s clearly struggling with a headache in her advanced science school, and almost anyone old enough to read can empathise with. At the same time, it’s amusing when she accidentally causes the floor beneath her to collapse, and most of the students are too obsessed with taking pictures to help. It’s sad that I could believe that would actually happen in this day and age, but here it’s funny. The villain build up is kind of vague at this point, but this story arc could get intense fast.
The art by Robson Rocha is fantastic. From start to finished, everything is highly detailed. The National City skyscrapers are varied in shape and the amount of glass on their sides, but in general it looks very modern. There’s a variety of people standing at a press conference where Cat Grant is announcing a new mobile news app, each of them holding microphones, camera phones or high quality cameras to take pictures. When the glass shatters, each broken window looks a bit different, and there are shards flying all over the place. Facial expressions do a great job at conveying emotions, like Kara’s clear fatigue and pain when she’s suffering a headache in class, the varied looks of anger when the Fatal Five gather for the first time, and the amusingly smug look on Cat Grant’s face when one of the Fatal Five teleports to her location, threatening Supergirl while simultaneously wearing boots that are kind of similar to Supergirl’s. Michael Atiyeh’s colouring is also great. Everything is bright and vibrant, and there are nice little touches like Supergirl’s eyes occasionally glowing blue and light reflecting off of windows.
This is a fun comic, and a compelling start to a new story arc. Whatever the Fatal Five are planning, you know it’s going to be trouble when Supergirl’s not only struggling with overloaded powers, but is questioning whether the things she sees are real or illusions. The dramatic angle of her powers losing control are also well handled – how it concerns her personal life as a high school student and how she’s worried that she might hurt someone while working as a superhero. Supergirl fans will likely enjoy this, whether you mostly read the comics or you watch the TV series. This comic does a good job at borrowing elements from the TV series while staying true to the comics. Superman fans curious about his Kryptonian cousin should check this series out as well.