In the previous story arc, Supergirl was hit by some sort of energy weapon that sent her powers out of control. She moved so fast that she shattered windows. An attempt at a precise heat vision beam tore apart the streets. It made her more powerful, and it would eventually overload and kill her. Although she got her powers under control so that they wouldn’t kill her, she’s still more powerful than she should be. This is a one-off story about trying to solve that problem.
Written by Steve Orlando, Supergirl 14 is a one issue team-up between Supergirl and New Superman. I don’t know much about New Superman, but I know he’s from China and that Clark Superman seems to respect him. Both the lessons that Kara takes and the following action scene explore very similar themes. For those familiar with Avatar: The Last Airbender, this is kind of like “The Guru” episode. Kara takes a bit of a spiritual journey in attempt to calm her powers down. The fight scene interrupts her class, but also kind of helps her complete the journey. The situation involves a crashed Russian rocket man in Mongolia, and the following standoff between people who can’t understand each other. It’s a really tense situation, and Supergirl shows a lot of wisdom through some of her experience by talking the Russian down. It’s a powerful moment that encourages people to listen to the other side instead of those in power, instead of just resorting to violence and arguing. That’s something the world could use a lot more of these days.
Jose Luis’s art is great. It’s a clean, smooth look. There’s a fair amount of detail in the environments, like the distant city lights in China, and the Mongolian suburbs complete with smog and clouds above the distant skyline. There’s great use of a golden image of Supergirl pulling a lever that gets clearer as she gets closer to centering herself. Facial expressions perfectly convey emotion, like New-Superman’s proud smile when he introduces Supergirl to his spiritual guide, Kara’s strained expression complete with sweat when she’s trying to follow his instructions, and the look of rage in the Russian’s eyes when the Mongolians start pointing their guns at him. Michael Atiyeh’s colouring is also great. There’s brilliant use of smooth lighting and shadows throughout, and the mostly brown streets are balanced out with the blue, red and black on Supergirl and New Superman’s suits, Kara’s blonde hair and the Russian’s mostly white armour.
When I first read this comic, I felt like Supergirl regained control a bit too fast. But when the control involves toning down her powers, and it tied into the issue’s situation so well, it didn’t bother me anymore. There’s a lot to like about this comic, from the spiritual aspect of the theme to the message that sometimes, complicated situations are best resolved by actually listening to people and trying to work together. All of this adds character development for Kara. It’s a great issue overall, and an easy recommendation for Supergirl fans. It’s probably also worth a read for those reading New Superman, but I’m not familiar enough with the character to say for sure.