No disrespect to the numerous writers who came before Sterling Gates on DC's current "Supergirl" series, but after so many false starts and lackluster takes on the character, it's a genuine relief to find "Supergirl" a fun book to read. And the great thing is, it didn't really require that much of a shift to the book itself.
Strangely enough, the main story of the mystery of Superwoman is actually the part of the book I'm the least interested in right now. Don't get me wrong, Gates' story about the mysterious woman that we're getting clues about is perfectly fine, even as her motivations and origin remain completely unclear. (To be fair, it wouldn't be much of a "Who is Superwoman?" story if the answer was on the first page.) Gates is slowly giving us more information about her, and it's proceeding at a good pace.
What really grabs my attention, though, is everything else that Gates is juggling right now; Supergirl's new "Linda Lee" identity, the fact that all Kryptonians save Superman were just banned from Earth, the mystery around Agent Liberty's body, and even her feud with journalist Cat Grant. Gates is establishing a supporting cast and an actual life for Supergirl, and I have to say that I fully approve of the direction the book is heading. While Gates has kept a bit of Supergirl's naivety, she never comes across as stupid, and it's just the right touch needed to make "Supergirl" a fun comic.
Props are also due to Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne, whose art fits the book quite nicely. With her midriff-baring outfit, it's easy for artists to draw Supergirl with a little too much T&A infused into the art, but Igle's pencils are anything but. Don't get me wrong, he draws attractive characters, but it never feels inappropriate or out of place to be reading in a public setting. His storytelling in general is quite good, and it makes me hope that Gates and Igle will continue to work together for some time to come.
Add in an "Origins & Omens" back-up drawn by Matthew Clark (is it me or should these back-up features really be called, "Who's going to die soon in this book and possibly come back as a Black Lantern Zombie later this year?"), and "Supergirl" #38 is a nice, solid comic. Kudos to editor Matt Idelson for finding just the right creative team for this book; it's taken a few years, but it's finally found its way.