“Supergirl” #65 marks only the second time a woman has ever written “Supergirl.” And the other woman was actress Helen Slater, who co-wrote issue #50. To say there was a lot of pressure for Kelly Sue DeConnick to deliver is an understatement. I’m happy to report that she hit it out of the park.
In this issue we find Kara giving Starman a tour of her city and, with his help, saving a tram carrying Lois Lane (among others) from a watery grave. Shortly thereafter, and thanks to the girl whose presence caused the tram to be attacked by robots, Lois recruits Kara to go undercover at Stanhope College to look for information about some missing students. Kara obliges, and what follows is a solid detective meets superhero adventure that has all the promise of a satisfying arc.
DeConnick’s writing is a breath of delightful fresh air here, in one fell swoop making the book feel smart and fun, something I wasn’t sure was possible despite a recent history of solid creators on the title. DeConnick instantly finds a relatable and likable voice for Supergirl and plays her beautifully off of a few other characters – namely Lois, Edna, and Starman. There’s a sense of humor and lightness -- sometimes inadvertent -- to DeConnick’s Supergirl that is wildly refreshing and much needed. That humor rolls appropriately throughout the entire book as DeConnick finds a way to make all of the disparate characters feel at home tonally in her world. Lois and Kara particularly have the beginnings of a nice dynamic here, and the only downside to the writing of the book at all is that Starman doesn’t get to stay long enough. It’s great stuff. On a personal note, I’ve been reading Supergirl religiously for two years despite never really “getting it.” I’ve always chalked this up to a basic disconnect with the Superman/Supergirl “thing.” With DeConnick at the helm, though, I finally get it. And it’s great.
CrissCross’ art is full of energy and enthusiasm and has just the right feel for this book, namely young and cool. There are some inconsistencies in the penciling, especially strong panels followed by some especially weak panels. There are also some strange not quite right expressions that don’t well service DeConnick’s writing, particularly in an odd scene with Kara and Lois Lane. Overall, however, the art is a good fit for the book and for DeConnick’s style, and I expect CrissCross will only improve as he gets more comfortable. As is, he excels at creating a diverse and easy to distinguish cast. He creates a particularly compelling Supergirl – long and lean and powerful - while still feeling appropriately young. His glasses wearing “undercover” Kara is especially adorable and he creates a nice natural balances between the epic and iconic Supergirl and the more down to earth Kara.
It’s unfortunate that DeConnick is only on “Supergirl” for three issues, as it’s clear she could go far with the title. She has exactly the right kind of spunk and personality to make it a much more interesting book than it’s been in the last few years. DeConnick’s three-issue arc is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something smart and fun this summer.