After the battle with the combined might of the Justice League and Justice Society, as well as an ambush that left Supergirl's father dead. The Kryptonians now led by Supergirl's mother Alura has fled the Earth to live on the other side of the sun, on a planet they renamed New Krypton. Superman leaves to the world and learns that Alura had freed Zod from the Phantom Zone. Superman returns to Earth to speak with his adopted-mother and Lois Lane on a decision he feels must be made.
Supergirl is still fairly new to the whole superhero gig, therefore, she makes mistakes. News reporter for the Daily Planet, Cat Grant, loves to put her flaws on full blast. Supergirl must try to learn how to deal with public criticism. Little does she know, these are the least of her worries. -summary
Supergirl: Who is Superwoman?continues the Maiden of Steel's run taking place in Superman'sNew Krypton saga. We're some where near the half-way point of this crossover and things are still looking towards the positive; by this time, DC has already stretched this through the entire Kryptonian universe, and now everyone gets to take a bite out of this sandwich straight out of hell's kitchen whether they want to or not. The New Krypton saga was originally started by Geoff Johns, with writing duties cast off to James Robinson. The crossovers have been dolled out to Greg Rucka, Robinson himself, and now Sterling Gates. This TPB collects Supergirl issues 34, and 37-42. And I have to say that Sterling Gates not only continued to deliver with the character of Supergirl herself, but he also did a wonderful job piggybacking this crossover.
This batch of stories are the strongest by this point, and I think it narrowly surpasses the later crossover Superman - Codename: Patriot in terms of action and suspense. The first story is a stand alone tale, which actually takes place before the entire story arc and has nothing to do with it. Still, it's entertaining as it examines Supergirl's teenage mentality. It's amazing that Supergirl can take a full blast scream to the face from the voice of Silver Banshee, and be plunged deep into the ground, but it's the words and ridicule of the public that brings her to tears. I like how Sterling delves into the human side of her letting us know, that even with all of that power she is still a teenager. This also helps develop her relationship with Superman.
The second story in the book begins the five-parter Who is Superwoman?. Supergirl's mother Alura has taken command of the Kryptonian race, and she orders Supergirl's return to Earth with her mission being to bring back her father's killer Reactron, which is not going to be an easy task in the slightest. It almost feels to be a suicide mission. Reactron is very similar to Superman's nemesis Metallo; the man with the green Kryptonite heart. Reactron has his own Kryptonite heart, instead his rock is Gold and its ability is to rob Kryptonian's of their powers for at least 15 seconds; more than enough time for him to deliver the killing blow, in which he has used his energy projection to blast the heads off many Kryptonians by this point in their weakened states. Definitely sounds like suicide for Supergirl huh? Adding to her troubles, Superwoman wants nothing more for her to leave back to New Krypton, and she's willing to drag her back unconscious if necessary.
Sterling juggles these two plots and brings them together to a thrilling conclusion. He keeps the suspense going pretty strong, by tossing out red herrings as to who could be Superwoman. At the same time, he develops her as a real threat, since she was able to take down Supergirl in their first encounter. Plus he does a splendid job in making Reactron into a serious threat all on his own.
There are other characters to receive some face time, such as Superman's long time friend Lana Lang, who helps Supergirl develop a secret identity as Linda Lang. Along with his wife Lois Lane, who has to deal with some bad news delivered to her. The reader will also see more development of General Lane as well. The book focuses completely on Supergirl's Earth based story with little reference to the main storyline. Now, I'm not saying this book is completely newbie friendly to the point where this is a good place for new fans, or even vets who abandoned comics for awhile to start, but it's not very hard to follow as most crossovers are if this was a starting point.
Jamal Igle's artwork is very good. The character designs for the females have quite a bit of sex appeal. Supergirl's alter-ego Linda, is complete with glasses and presentable attire that looks really nice, and let's not forget Cat Grant delivering on the fan service also. The characters aren't overly revealing though which is a good thing. The action panels are very entertaining. I can't imagine someone coming from Supergirl's clashes with Reactron and Superwoman disappointed.
Supergirl: Who is Superwoman? is a really good crossover. I think it's the best in this arc since Superman: Brainiac. It's also essential when going forward, since the New Krypton saga flows into more Supergirl stories. On top of this, it's a great read too, so I recommend it.
Pros: -Splendid artwork and well paced story
Cons: -Although very good, the first story is filler
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