Review – Supergirl #29: The Reign of Gandela

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Supergirl #29 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Supergirl #29 – Mark Andreyko, Writer; Eduardo Pansica, Penciller; Julio Ferreira, Inker; FCO Plascencia, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 7.5/10

Corrina: Bridge Issue

Ray: While the main Superman title has been parceling out information about the destruction of Krypton and Jon’s journey very slowly, Supergirl hits the gas pedal and reveals basically everything in Supergirl #29, as Kara’s journey for the truth reaches a critical point. It begins in a relatively idyllic place, as Kara, Z’ndr, and Krypton enjoy a break on an isolated paradise planet. This is also an opportunity for Kara and Z’ndr to bond, as their low-simmering romantic tension quickly escalates. Z’ndr reveals how he lost his arm in an attack on a refugee ship, and Andreyko manages to bridge the weird age gap that seemed to exist. It would be a great setup for a relationship – if we didn’t know that Z’ndr is still sort of working for his evil adoptive mother, Empress Gandela. And while we knew she was involved in the Circle’s link to Rogol Zaar, this issue reveals just how deep those links go.

I’ve been critical of Rogol Zaar from the start, finding him a slightly more talkative version of Doomsday and nothing more. This issue makes those links more explicit – and also makes him even less interesting as a villain. This title seems to view Gandela as Kara’s new arch-nemesis, and the reveal that she was the one who hired Zaar and unleashed him on Krypton certainly strengthens that case – and weakens Zaar as a villain. He’s now a glorified henchman. I was dreading the ugly reveal that would tear Kara and Z’ndr apart, and for a minute I was hopeful because the truth seemed to come out in a relatively painless way. Then Gandela stalks Z’ndr and attacks, making it seem like he gave Kara away, and we know things will go south from here. The MacGuffin that let Kara get the truth is finally solved, but it seems like it’s going to make things messier. This series has good characterization of its main players, but the narrative and villains still need some work.

A brief moment of paradise. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: So Rogol Zaar and this Empress Gandela destroyed Krypton together? That’s a huge, huge confirmation of a change of the Superman mythos. I still don’t like it, any more than I like crazed evil Jor-El. It’s messing with a simple concept, a doomed world, and unnecessarily throwing more tragedy and angst on top of it. That’s not to blame this creative team, that’s a DC editorial decision, but it certainly affects my view of this issue. Rogol’s motivation and origin are uninspired. The Empress’ motivation seems to be yet another version of the “I must kill to prevent death” that I dislike so much.

Z’ndr became a little more interesting this issue but I’m still wary of him getting so much panel-time that could be occupied by Supergirl herself. There are clear parallels here with them both being orphans, torn from their parents, but Z’ndr still feels like a sketch of a character rather than a fully rounded one.

Still, the pacing is good and Supergirl #29 does an excellent job of reminding readers what came before in the Superman and Supergirl books, and maybe there will be better answers in the future.

Note: the Guardians remain the WORST in the universe. They had a hand in creating Rogol, they created the Darkstars, and the Manhunters, and that’s a whole list of failures.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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