Supergirl #18 – Steve Orlando, Jody Houser, Writers; Carmen Carnero, Artist; Michael Atiyeh, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Orlando and Houser’s Supergirl run continues to impress with Supergirl #18. The issue fuses the superheroic and every day in a style that reminds me a lot of vintage Spider-Man. Last issue set up a school dance that caused Kara no small amount of anxiety, but her solo appearance there is soon the least of her concerns, as the party is crashed by a new villain. The DEO has been sending out one alien powerhouse after another, each with their own dark past and a reason for a grudge against Earth, but all of them may have been altered somehow by the DEO’s manipulation. This issue’s foe is the Evolutionist, whose backstory involves being a member of a peaceful alien race whose knowledge-based planet was contaminated by alien visitors, leading her to become a xenophobe who opposes the presence of non-native species on any planet.
I think she’s probably the most compelling of the alien adversaries, having a clear motivation and an intriguing appearance and power set, but, really, the villain is the least interesting part of this issue. Few series have more fun than this one does with the secret identity game, and Kara’s attention to detail when darting around and switching between identities is great, although I am a bit puzzled by how the resident DEO expert thinks the girl with a different skin tone is secretly Supergirl. It does amuse me whenever someone tries to expose the wrong person as a superhero, though. We see some major progress in Kara’s relationship with Ben Rubel, a great new character this issue, and the end of the issue sets up the real arch-villain of this arc in a dramatic cliffhanger. But none of this would work if we didn’t care about Kara, and Orlando and Houser have done a great job of giving her a unique world to play in where she feels distinct from Superman.
Corrina: I find the fusion of high school and superheroics not quite as well-meshed as Ray does, mostly because I can’t tell what emotional age Kara is supposed to be. At some points, she seems to be the confident hero, especially in the first arc, where she fought her own father. At other points, she seems utterly baffled by people. I believe this confident/confused difference is deliberate but I’d like to see more of Kara in high school when she’s not in the middle of a crisis, so it would be clearer.
But, this issue, Kara’s secret identity heightened the tension of the fight with our villain of the week and kept me emotionally invested in the outcome. I could wish that this “release the villains to show everyone how dangerous Supergirl is” worked for me–a similar plotline with the First Victim over in Batman: Detective Comics also had me wondering about the logic of supervillains.
Yet Kara still makes for an engaging hero, her scenes with Ben are great, and I do love the intrigue over at the DEO. This, overall, has been a good series for the character.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.