It’s rare that a comic loses me on the first page, but the cringe-worthy narration that has Power Girl explaining her superpowers did the job. Providing some background on Power Girl on page one is a smart idea. The language of the narration tries too hard to be casual and colloquial in tone, however, mixed with the somewhat ditzy responses Power Girl has to the villain she’s fighting. Though Kara has been a more laid back hero to this point, voicing frustrating in an easy-to-relate-to fashion, she’s never been presented with this grating a voice before. In an effort to show off her humorous side, her attempt at being self-deprecating and maybe lighten things up as she gets beaten up, Winick goes overboard into territory that doesn’t ring true to the character as she’s been established.
The rest of the issue never recovers, as the plot deals with the fallout of an employee at Kara’s charity organization embezzling the organization’s funds, leaving it broke, while another employee has figured out her secret identity. The stuff of high melodrama never gets going, because of odd moral quandaries introduced regarding Power Girl’s true identity and following the money. The scene where Nicco confronts Kara over her true identity is inane and drags. He gets the truth out of her by pretending a vacuum cleaner is a ray gun of some sort and it works. Oh ho ho, a funny idea, right? All it does is, again, portray the woman with the X-ray vision as fairly stupid for falling for Nicco’s bluff.
The art doesn’t help that scene. Basri’s expressiveness borders on the comical, with every reaction so over-the-top and obvious that the characters seem to have faces made of rubber, constantly changing and shifting to express whatever singular emotion they’re meant to embody in any given panel. There’s no flow, just a series of comedic overreactions. Granted, Winick’s writing leans in that direction, so one can’t blame Basri too much for also playing up the broad melodrama, but that doesn’t negate the hamming it up the character do throughout the scene. Basri is much more at home with the fight scene that begins the issue where broader, obvious movements and reactions are more at home.
Power Girl’s attempt to track down the errant employee who’s stolen all of her money is your typical ‘tracking the funds until they get lost in shell companies’ story complete with the double-cross and heroin overdose to disguise murder. It’s so clichéd that there’s no impact. The death is just a simple plot point that ‘makes things personal’ in the worst, more annoying fashion.
The joy of “Power Girl” was its light tone that managed to humanize Kara, while still presenting her as a competent hero worth rooting for. None of that is apparently in this issue where she’s presented as somewhat stupid and presented with a lazily ‘serious’ and ‘dark’ plot that’s uninteresting as it is overdone.