This issue concludes Supergirl’s struggle against the Emerald Empress and her followers (the fatal five). It’s been a rough story arc for Supergirl. First she’s blasted by an energy weapon that caused her powers to go out of control, to the point where she accidentally caused a lot of damage for a couple of issues. It was later revealed that her altered powers might cause her to overload and die. While they did get it under control in the previous issue, she’s still more powerful than she used to be, and that’ll take some getting used to. Then she was attacked on nearly every front of per public life. The Empress’s crew hacked the media and revealed secrets to hurt her public approval, while also harming some of her positive relationships with influential people. They also attacked the DEO – the organization she works with as Supergirl.
Supergirl 13, written by Steve Orlando, starts off with what might be the final confrontation between Supergirl and the Emerald Empress. Before the actual fighting begins, the surrounding civilians throw a lot of accusations at Supergirl. It’s a dramatically rough moment, with most people refusing to listen to anything Supergirl says, no matter how wise or true her words may be. It kind of feels relevant with all the political conflicts going on lately, just without any direct parallel (wise considering how polarizing things are right now). Some of the side scenes show us what’s happening with Cat Grant’s hacked media company, and her personal thoughts on the fact that Supergirl kept her father (Cyborg Superman) alive. The aftermath of all this will clearly affect this story going forward, both with Supergirl’s work as a superhero and with Kara’s personal life with her foster parents.
When the action does start up, it’s intense in all the right ways. The Empress’s magical eye causes a lot of damage in this comic, and Supergirl’s solution to the problem both shows her physical strength and her determination. Other characters get in on the action as well, like an accidentally released Cyborg Superman looking to help his daughter, a Kryptonian werewolf revealed early in the series and the Fatal Five members that are still standing at this point. And the events in the action scene further affect the public’s opinion on Supergirl. Time will tell whether that’s for better or worse. The ending also ties into the major reveal that takes place in this week’s Action Comics 987, and it’s another potential emotional bombshell for Supergirl if and when she finds out about what might have just happened.
The art by Robson Rocha is really good. It’s a smooth look with a lot of detail everywhere. When the eye’s explosion sends Supergirl and the Empress flying, there’s a lot of energy and debris all over the place, and their hair is being flung around. Facial expressions do a brilliant job of conveying emotions, like Supergirl’s clear emotional fatigue, the cold anger in Cat Grant’s eyes when she talks about her newfound distrust in Supergirl, and Cyborg Superman’s fury when he tears apart the Empress’s most powerful ally in one particularly brutal moment. The colouring by Michael Atiyeh is brilliant. The various types of energy being thrown around are each of a different colour, with great use of shading and reflecting off of characters’ uniforms. The one panel where Supergirl and the eye are blasting at each other is particularly great, with all the characters in silhouettes that are still clearly recognizable. The darker scenes make great use of monitor glows and shadows as well.
If I was to pick between my two favourite comics of the week, it would be this and Star Wars 36. Yeah, a week where All-New Wolverine isn’t one of my favourites. Between my two favourites, there’s a lot more to talk about with Supergirl. Despite the fairly complex story, it’s easy to follow. The action is intense in all the right ways. The drama not only ties into the action well, but it’ll likely have long lasting consequences for this series. I can’t think of one bad thing to say about this issue. Supergirl regulars should pick this issue up. While this isn’t the greatest jumping on point, being at the end of a somewhat complex story arc, it’s worth checking out this story arc from the start if you’re curious about Superman’s Kryptonian cousin.