Review – Supergirl #30: The Crystal War

Comic Books DC This Week
Supergirl #30 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Supergirl #30 – Marc Andreyko, Writer; Kevin Maguire, Penciller; Sean Parsons, Inker; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist


Ray – 7.5/10

Corrina: Kara “Cuts” Loose

Ray: Kara’s revenge-based field trip through space came to a crashing halt in the last issue when she learned that her new friend Z’ndr Kol had been reporting back to his evil mother Empress Gandela the whole time. He tries to explain in Supergirl #30 that he switched sides long ago, but she’s in no mood to listen – and Kevin Maguire, usually a more comedic artist, does an amazing job at conveying her hurt and rage in these scenes. As Z’ndr tries to talk to Kara, Gandela escalates the situation at every opportunity and soon they’re at each other’s throats. We’ve largely only seen Gandela as a shadowy background villain until now, but this issue makes clear she’s one of the most powerful villains in the universe – her body can shapeshift into massive crystal forms and she can rebuild from being shattered. The battle between her and Supergirl is one of the most impressive scenes in the series – I just wish the plot backed it up better.

My main problem with this storyline is that now not only do we know that Krypton was destroyed deliberately, we know that Rogol Zaar was nothing more than a hired gun. This is the equivalent of there being a story where it turned out the Waynes were killed by a hired hitman. Batman goes after the hitman, but it turns out there was a mob boss who ordered it – and that character is dealt with entirely in the pages of a Tim Drake solo series without Bruce ever confronting the man who killed his parents. Kara has a stake in the destruction of Krypton, of course, maybe bigger than Clark’s, but this is a story big enough that it just feels like it’s been shunted off to a side book without being given the gravity it deserves. The end of the issue teases a team-up with Superman and Jon, but they’re going after Rogol Zaar. This essentially means that Gandela is a bit player in her own plot, and the real killer of Krypton will be reduced to a footnote. Lots of weird storytelling decisions here, but overall a good issue especially art-wise.

Kara betrayed. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: The panels of Supergirl’s fight with the ever-shifting Gandela are some of the best in this series and that one panel with Krypto, when he stops Kara’s rage, is wonderful. That sequence is probably the best since Andreyko took over the title.

But, as Ray said, then there’s the plot. I’ve voiced my objections to making Krypton’s destruction a deliberate genocide, needlessly mudding the Superman continuity, when reviewing Bendis’ work on Action Comics and Superman. I won’t belabor the point here save to say that while Gandela makes an interesting galactic villain, she makes a poor genocidal mastermind. Similarly, Kara is upset at Z’ndr but I never sensed much chemistry between them in the first place, so that falls a bit flat.

I look forward to Kara’s interaction with Jon, especially, in the next issue, as I’m fairly sure we’ve never seen those two together. (And we should have and, hey, Kara would have made a much better choice to go with Jon on his galactic quest with crazy Grandpa than Lois, if Jon had to go at all.)

But, overall, while this has been a fun space romp at times, anything connected with the destruction of Krypton has only half-worked or not worked at all.

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

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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2 thoughts on “Review – Supergirl #30: The Crystal War

  1. I have to comment here. I have to believe you were born after 1985 if you can equate Kara with Tim Drake. If you think of Supergirl as nothing more than Clark’s sidekick. Kara was the one who took down Darkseid in the Great Darkness Saga while Kal El was KOed in the first round Kara was the one who took down the anti monitor while Kal El was off licking his wounds. Andreyko stayed at the start of this run that was the era he was pulling inspiration from. But more than that Kara remembers krypton. Kal sees it as his heritage but Kara remembers it. Krypto remembers too. Krypton’s destruction is more about their history by far than Kal’s Kal’s parents are the Kents. This whole story from both Andreyko and Bendis seems like filler waiting for Doomsday Clock anyway but that analogy was from a very male centric viewpoint and left me highly disappointed from a reviewer I tend to find reliable.

    1. That’s a fair point. I consider myself a big Supergirl fan, but my main pop culture points for her are the post-crisis teen version and the animated series. Her pre-crisis adult years are largely unfamiliar to me. Maybe Dick Grayson would have been a better comparison – Batman’s longest-running and most important partner. It still feels deeply off to me that such an important subplot is being shunted off to what DC largely treats as a secondary title – not only are they packing a massive retcon into Superman’s origin in the main book, they’ve now turned that big bad into a supporting player with a hand-wave.

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