“I gave up my own daughter. Sent her far from here to keep her safe….on a world where she won’t be hurt.”
Kara Zor-El is back in DC’s lineup this week thanks to writer Steve Orlando and artist Emanuela Lupacchino. With a lengthy run in the New 52, and her own TV series, Supergirl has never been more popular.
Thankfully DC placed one of their rising stars, Steve Orlando, on the project. Though it doesn’t pack the same punch as his recent Midnighter run, this issue is filled with humor, heart, and plenty of gorgeous visuals. Orlando pulls from DC’s past for this issue, utilizing an updated Kryptonian villain as Kara’s first Rebirth obstacle as well as introducing a new take on her adopted family, the Danvers. The issue is both a wonderful nod to DC history as well as a strong launch for Supergirl.
Depowered and desperate, the issue begins with Kara Zor-El being sent into space in the hopes of restoring her powers. Along for the ride are Cameron Chase and the Danvers, two agents tasked with posing as Supergirl’s parents. The story may be brief but it’s great to see Orlando writing a Kara who’s both compassionate and tough. Very much a departure from the ruthless yet upbeat pages of Midnighter. However, the amount of supporting characters make the pages feel rather crowded. The art also does little to differentiate between some of the female characters, making it even harder to retain everyone’s names and roles. Setting up a new identity, new premise, new powers, and several villains is just too much for one issue.
There’s another historic villain revived for Supergirl: Rebirth #1, Lar-On is one of the highlights of the issue. With a grudge against the Zor-El family Lar-On exits the Phantom Zone straight into the midst of Kara’s friends. While his humanoid self was little more than another exiled Kryptonian, his werewolf form is a gorgeous design that looks great in action. Luckily, Kara comes to the aid of her group just in time, thanks to her rejuvenated powers. Using both strength and empathy Kara subdues her foe in a suitably peaceful fashion. Hopefully Lar-On returns to the pages of Supergirl in the near future.
Yet another villain lingers in the final pages of Supergirl. Thought teased since the first solicits for Rebirth it’s still encouraging to see Orlando take his time to unfurl his larger story. Considering how relevant Kara’s heritage is to this issue it’s exciting to see what surprises can come from such classic villains. One wonders just what other amazing details or characters Steve Orlando will pull from both DC and Supergirl’s history.
Though hampered by some facial issues the art of Supergirl: Rebirth #1 is fluid and vibrant. With pencils by Emanuela Lupacchino, inks by Ray McCarthy and colors by Michael Atiyeh, the world looks wonderfully colorful and distinct. The only issue is the difficulty in distinguishing between some of the supporting characters. However, Kara herself is a unique and well-designed standout. The action is also a highlight, with Kara battling it out against a gorgeously rendered Kryptonian werewolf. Spanning both the depths of space and the rock of Earth, the artists behind Supergirl know just how to craft an issue of visually engaging pages.
Coming off of DCYou’s incredibly successfully Midnighter, all eyes were looking to Steve Orlando to bring Supergirl the Rebirth she sorely needed. Luckily, he does just that. He uses the depths of DC history as a palette with which to paint Kara’s new story. Unfortunately, the pages of Supergirl: Rebirth #1 are overcrowded with supporting characters and plot points that could have used some breathing room. And while the art truly shines, it does little to make those supporting characters memorable. But to Orlando, Kara is the star of the show. Her optimism and strength are the real success of this debut. Steve Orlando clearly knows how to write Supergirl and is quickly looking to create a vivid and unique world around her. Though this issue may take too many steps in that regard, they are all in the right direction.
- Kara at her best
- Use of DC history
- Vibrant art
- Similarly-drawn characters
- Overcrowded pages