Review – Supergirl #31: Who Will Wield the Axe?

Supergirl #31 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Supergirl #31 – Marc Andreyko, Writer; Kevin Maguire, Eduardo Pansica, Pencillers; Sean Parsons, Eber Ferreira, Inkers; FCO Plascencia, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 7.5/10

Corrina: Rage Fight!

Ray: Reading Supergirl #31 alongside Superman this week is one of the oddest reading experiences in a while because a big chunk of this issue is the same story but from a different perspective. Supergirl picks up almost immediately after the last issue, when the deception of Kara’s ally Z’ndr was exposed and Kara defeated the genocidal Empress Gandelo in combat. Now holding Zaar’s axe, she’s flying away from the far reaches of the universe towards the final battle that her cousin has been fighting. Zaar is still a cartoonish joke of a villain, yelling lines like “That whelp dares?”, but thankfully he doesn’t take up too much of the issue. Seeing this story from Kara’s perspective has its appeal, as we see how far she’s come in her mastery of the cursed axe. Zaar has basically been a talking version of Doomsday from the start, and those comparisons are even stronger here as he crashes into a Khund vessel and wipes them out casually. But for all his roaring, he can’t quite match Kara’s calm rage.

Empress Gandelo, at death’s door after last issue’s fight, is rescued by her soldiers and proceeds to yell at them while recovering. That’s really the big problem with this storyline – it has two big bads and neither of them is more than a stock villain. What does work really well here is Kara’s interaction with Jon, although it barely scratches the surface of the fact that her kid cousin is now her age or a bit older. Their team-up is a lot of fun as they head to Throneworld and take on Gandelo, but it feels like this whole story lacks the gravity it should have. The destruction of Krypton is the result of two stock villains plotting a few decades ago? The dialogue feels a bit stronger here than it does in the title’s brother issue, but several lines of dialogue are just repeated verbatim. Kara’s title has stayed overall strong during this arc, but I am more than ready to see her return to Earth and get a more human story again.

Cousins reunited. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: Ray hits on the essential problem. This is a huge, massive rewrite of the Super-Family mythos and it reads rushed and, well, small. There’s no sense of grand tragedy, no sense of how the depth of this secret affects Clark, Kara, and even Jon. It’s just “oh, hey, probably a grand conspiracy triggered by Jor-El, who’s now a genocidal crazy person, caused Krypton’s destruction.” Then it’s time to split up again.

The artwork, as in Superman, does a nice job of establishing the perspective in the space-based battle, especially as Zaar destroys the one ship, and I was amused at how the axe wasn’t sure whether to go to Kara or Zaar at times. (Incidentally, have we ever found the origins of this axe? I don’t believe we have. Is it Persuader’s axe from the Legion of Super-Heroes? We don’t know. Maybe we never will.)

Also, I have to sigh at the continued portrayal of Clark (and sometimes Lois) as the worst parents ever. First, they let Jon go into space with crazy grandpa, then Lois abandons him there because…reasons? Then Clark decides to let him take off with Kara, despite the fact he’s just got him back and that Jon just survived years in imprisoned isolation. “Lois is going to kill me,” Clark thinks. Hell, Clark, I think you need to talk to some of your past selves because this is completely out of character. Batman does better protecting his wards than you do.

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

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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