January 11th, 2016  Posted at   Supergirl Mondays

Supergirl MondaysSupergirl Mondays is a weekly celebration of the Girl of Steel, who has graced the pages of DC Comics in a variety of forms for more than five decades.

This feature’s primary focus is to take an issue-by-issue look back at Supergirl’s adventures in the post-Crisis universe. From an artificial being on a mission to save her home world, to an Earth-born angel on a mission to save her soul, each Monday, before the airing of “Supergirl” on CBS, reflect on the earliest days of the incredible and winding journey of a frequently divisive, sometimes confusing, but always entertaining era for the Maid of Might.


At the conclusion of “The Supergirl Saga,” a horribly injured Supergirl was left by Superman in the care of Jonathan and Martha Kent, as well as Lana Lang. Following this, the character was absent from the Superman titles for about three months before returning to begin the second major chapter of her story.

In this issue

Adventures of Superman #448

Issue: ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #448
Cover date: 1988
Cover price: 75 cents ($1 Can./50p U.K.)
Cover by Jerry Ordway
Story: “The Ledge”

Credits

Jerry Ordway, writer/penciller
Dennis Janke, inker/embellisher
Petra Scotese, colorist
Albert DeGuzman, letterer
Renée Witterstaetter, asst. editor
Mike Carlin, supreme editor & poobah of all stuff
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Overview

Matrix helps, part 1   Matrix helps, part 2

Thoughts

Paralleling her introduction under the writing hand of John Byrne, the second chapter in the post-Crisis Supergirl’s story unfolds in a series of interludes throughout the course of several issues over several months. Originally mostly divorced from the issue’s main story, these interludes grow in size and importance, slowly becoming more interwoven with the main story while at the same time building to a head that concludes with a watershed moment for the character.

This first interlude, the entirety of which is reproduced above, finds Supergirl — or Matrix as she calls herself — along the path to recovery after being attacked and left for dead by the Phantom Zone criminals.

No longer a shapely blonde or a Lana Lang double, Matrix now much more closely resembles her “natural” state: pink, fleshy and decidedly non-human. Her mental faculties, too, have taken quite a hit as a result of the trauma of the Phantom Zone criminals’ brutal assault leaving Matrix seeming much more childlike in knowledge, speeh and sensibilities.

Still, it’s interesting to see the spirit of Superman (or Superboy) that inspired the character in the first place remains with her wanting to help — and doing so, in her own misguided way. Despite the positive role model, Matrix has a very long way to go to not only recover from her injuries but to acclimate herself to this new world she finds herself in.

Note this also is the first use of the name “Matrix” in reference to the character. And while it isn’t clear (in this issue, anyway) if this is a something she has started calling herself of her own volition, or a nickname bestowed upon her by the Kents and Lana, she is the one to first use the name within the context of the readers’ introduction. The second chapter of Matrix’s (nee Supergirl’s) story is about establishing who she is, and that’s an important step in the character’s independence and becoming more than a blank slate continually molded by others.

Fans talk back

This issue contains reader letters in response to SUPERMAN (Vol. 2) #22, the final chapter of “The Supergirl Saga.” See Supergirl Monday 11 for more on what readers had to say.

Next time on Supergirl Monday: A departure!

January 4th, 2016  Posted at   Supergirl Mondays

Supergirl MondaysSupergirl Mondays is a weekly celebration of the Girl of Steel, who has graced the pages of DC Comics in a variety of forms for more than five decades.

This feature’s primary focus is to take an issue-by-issue look back at Supergirl’s adventures in the post-Crisis universe. From an artificial being on a mission to save her home world, to an Earth-born angel on a mission to save her soul, each Monday, before the airing of “Supergirl” on CBS, reflect on the earliest days of the incredible and winding journey of a frequently divisive, sometimes confusing, but always entertaining era for the Maid of Might.


Reaction to “The Supergirl Saga” and the return of the Maid of Might was voluminous and passionate on both sides of the isle. As Supergirl drops away from the pages of the Superman titles for a couple months following the three-part classic that revealed her origins, we take a look back at fan reaction as documented in the titles’ letter pages following the story’s publication.

In these issues

Superman (Vol.2) #25  Adventures of Superman #448  Superman (Vol.2) #26

Issue: SUPERMAN (Vol. 2) #25
Cover date: 1988
Cover price: 75 cents ($1 Can./50p U.K.)
Cover by Kerry Gammill and Dennis Janke

Issue: ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #448
Cover date: 1988
Cover price: 75 cents ($1 Can./50p U.K.)
Cover by Jerry Ordway

Issue: SUPERMAN (Vol. 2) #26
Cover date: 1988
Cover price: 75 cents ($1 Can./50p U.K.)
Cover by Kerry Gammill and Dennis Janke

Fans talk back

“Shocking anachronism”
From Howard Kidd of Manila, Iowa
Letter from Howard Kidd on SUPERMAN (Vol. 1) #21

“I’ve waited for months to confirm my greatest hope”
From Jeff Restea of Mobile, Alabama
Letter from Jeff Restea on SUPERMAN (Vol. 1) #21

“I don’t get it”
From Joe Frank of Scottsdale, Arizona
Letter from Joe Frank on SUPERMAN (Vol. 1) #21

“A winner”
From Randy Dainard of Dixon, California
Letter from Randy Dainard on SUPERMAN (Vol. 1) #21

“Is she still going to be around?”
From Russ Bedell of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania
Letter from Russ Bedell on ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #448

“Even better than the Wonder Woman affair”
From Lonnie Easterling
Letter from Lonnie Easterling on ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #448

“I was wrong”
From Billy Beechler of Cicero, Indiana
Letter from Billy Beechler on SUPERMAN (Vol. 2) #22

“Very disappointed”
From Anthony Gallagher of Melbourne, Australia
Letter from Anthony Gallagher on SUPERMAN (Vol. 2) #22

“Handled well”
From Narelle Harris of South Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Letter from Narrelle Harris on SUPERMAN (Vol. 2) #22

But wait, there’s more

Supergirl made her first post-“Saga” appearance in the aforementioned ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #448. More on that as we resume our issue-by-issue chronicles …

Next time on Supergirl Monday: Uprooted!

December 28th, 2015  Posted at   Supergirl Mondays

Supergirl MondaysSupergirl Mondays is a weekly celebration of the Girl of Steel, who has graced the pages of DC Comics in a variety of forms for more than five decades.

This feature’s primary focus is to take an issue-by-issue look back at Supergirl’s adventures in the post-Crisis universe. From an artificial being on a mission to save her home world, to an Earth-born angel on a mission to save her soul, each Monday, before the airing of “Supergirl” on CBS, reflect on the earliest days of the incredible and winding journey of a frequently divisive, sometimes confusing, but always entertaining era for the Maid of Might.


With “The Supergirl Saga” concluded, the new Supergirl falls away from the comics page for a few months before moving on to the next chapter of her story. To that end, we use this brief pause to look for an interlude of our own, beginning this week with a look at two minor Supergirl-related “appearances” of note.

In this issue

Who's Who Update '88 #4
Who's Who Update '88 #4 (full wrap-around cover)

Issue: WHO’S WHO UPDATE ’88 #4
Cover date: November 1988
Cover price: $1.25 ($1.75 Can./60p U.K.)
Cover by Ty Templeton
Story: Appendix entry

Credits

Mark Waid, editor
Robert Greenberger, consulting editor, contributing writer
Peter Sanderson, researcher, contributing writer
Productionaires, production

Overview

Supergirl Who's Who entry

Thoughts

“The Supergirl Saga” comes to an end just in time for the titular character to get an entry in the appendix of the final issue of the second Who’s Who Update series. Wedged between appendix entries for Slipknot and the Thinker, a pair of Firestorm villains so lame (#sorryshag) they merited mention here only after being used as cannon fodder in SUICIDE SQUAD, Supergirl’s entry gives a succinct overview of the origin information presented in “The Supergirl Saga.”

Like with most WHO’S WHO entries, it provides no new information or any hints about what lies ahead for the character, but does serve well to document her existence at this time in DC Comics history for posterity.

In this issue

Adventures of Superman #446

Issue: ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #446
Cover date: November 1988
Cover price: 75 cents ($1 Can./50p U.K.)
Cover by Jerry Ordway
Story: “First Steps”

Credits

Writer/penciller: Jerry Ordway
Inker: Dennis Janke
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Letterer: Albert DeGuzman
Assistant editor: Renée Witterstaetter
Editor: Mike Carlin
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Overview

The ghost of Zod!

Thoughts

Supergirl’s sole appearance in the three months after the end of “The Supergirl Saga” is this one. A one-panel (splash page) appearance amid a dream sequence as Superman is haunted by the deaths of the Phantom Zone criminals. While at first glance hardly worth a mention, I think this “appearance” is important if for no other reason than it shows she is still forefront on the minds of Superman and the creators now steering the books in the wake of John Byrne’s departure, particularly Jerry Ordway, who along with Roger Sterm, will be the primary guiding hand for the character for the next year.

Next time on Supergirl Monday: Fans react to “The Supergirl Saga”!

December 21st, 2015  Posted at   Supergirl Mondays

Supergirl MondaysSupergirl Mondays is a weekly celebration of the Girl of Steel, who has graced the pages of DC Comics in a variety of forms for more than five decades.

This feature’s primary focus is to take an issue-by-issue look back at Supergirl’s adventures in the post-Crisis universe. From an artificial being on a mission to save her home world, to an Earth-born angel on a mission to save her soul, each Monday, before the airing of “Supergirl” on CBS, reflect on the earliest days of the incredible and winding journey of a frequently divisive, sometimes confusing, but always entertaining era for the Maid of Might.


In this issue

Superman (Vol. 2) #22

Issue: SUPERMAN (Vol. 2) #22
Cover date: October 198
Cover price: 75 cents ($1 Can./50p U.K.)
Cover by John Byrne
Story: “The Price”

Credits

John Byrne, story and art
John Costanza, lettering
Petra Scotese, coloring
Renée Wittestaetter, assistant editor
Mike Carlin, editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Overview

As Supergirl, Superman and the Pocket Universe Lex Luthor begin their final confrontation with the General Zod, Quex-Ul and Faora, the Phantom Zone criminals strike back, destroying the Smallville fortress and killing the remaining members of the resistance. Outraged, Supergirl attacks Zod and Faora, but is hit with a double blast of heat vision.

Attacked! (Part 1)  Attacked! (Part 2)

Superman is in shock, but Luthor tells him not to worry about Supergirl because “the protomatter will regenerate itself soon enough.” With no time explain, Luthor sends Superman to the site of Superboy’s former laboratory on a mission to find the one thing that can stop the rogue Kryptonians.

After a brutal fight with Quex-Ul, Superman finds the object of his search: a canister containing Gold Kryptonite. He then uses that to remove the powers of the three Kryptonians and trap them in a makeshift prison made from the remnants of the underground lab before finding Luthor, who has been fatally injured.

The death of Lex

Turning his attention back to the Phantom Zone criminals, Superman speaks of the heinousness of their acts. As the last representative of right on that world, he tells them he has no choice but to act as judge, jury and excutioner, and exposes them to a lethal dose of Green Kryptonite.

With sadness over his own actions in addition to the tragedy upon tragedy that has occurred, Superman buries the bodies of Zod, Quex-Ul and Faora on the barren remains of the Pocket Universe Earth before returning to the Kent farm with Supergirl in his arms.

Supergirl left with the Kents

With Supergirl in good care and much on his mind after what has transpired, Superman flies away with a heavy heart and much to ponder.

Thoughts

Of the three issues that make up “The Supergirl Saga,” Supergirl’s part of in this one is smallest all of them as she is taken out of action quite early, and in a fashion that is quite brutal. But, I try to temper my disappointment (and, to a degree, dissatisfaction) with that by remembering, as I’ve said, that this is a Superman story.’ Much like those original interludes that introduced Supergirl in short, one- or two-page bursts, Supergirl’s story continues to unfold as a supporting character in the various Super-titles.

But, here, we get final answers — or at least more complete ones — about this new Supergirl’s origin: A new lifeform based on a previous person but literally a blank slate. In many ways, a very meta approach to rebooting the character. This is Supergirl, but not the Supergirl we know. She’s one who hearkens back to the past but leaves the door open for new and even better and more wondrous tales.

Superman leaving the injured Supergirl in the care of Kents (and, to an extent, Lana) shows now only the great amount of trust he has in his adoptive parents, but it also shows the optimistic and hopeful side of Superman. Yes, this Supergirl attacked him, the Kents and even Lana, but as Superman says, she did so out of fear — not malice. Unlike the Phantom Zone criminals that ultimately caused her creation, Supergirl, while perhaps prone to act impulsively or on rash instinct (as seen in attacking the Kents or, in this issue, Zod and Faora), isn’t intrinsically evil and deserves a second chance.

And much like Superman, she is the last survivor of her world — her universe, even. This creates a strong kinship between her and the Man of Steel that, in theory, could supersede any blood kinship the pre-Crisis versions of the characters shared.

Next time on Supergirl Monday: Who’s who’s Supergirl!

December 14th, 2015  Posted at   Supergirl Mondays

Supergirl MondaysSupergirl Mondays is a weekly celebration of the Girl of Steel, who has graced the pages of DC Comics in a variety of forms for more than five decades.

This feature’s primary focus is to take an issue-by-issue look back at Supergirl’s adventures in the post-Crisis universe. From an artificial being on a mission to save her home world, to an Earth-born angel on a mission to save her soul, each Monday, before the airing of “Supergirl” on CBS, reflect on the earliest days of the incredible and winding journey of a frequently divisive, sometimes confusing, but always entertaining era for the Maid of Might.


In this issue

Adventures of Superman #444

Issue: ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #444
Cover date: September 1988
Cover price: 75 cents ($1 Can./40p U.K.)
Cover by Jerry Ordway
Story: “Parallel Lives Meet at Infinity …”

Credits

John Byrne, scripter/co-plotter
Jerry Ordway, penciller/co-plotter
Dennis Janke, inker
Albert DeGuzman, letterer
Petra Scotese, colorist
Renée Witterstaetter, assistant editor
Mike Carlin, editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Overview

While Superman mourns the deaths of the Pocket Universe’s Jonathan and Martha Kent, that universe’s Lex Luthor and Pete Ross fill in the Man of Steel on what happened to their now war-ravaged world. In the aftermath of Superboy’s disappearance (during the Pocket Universe saga), Lex set out to find out what happened to him. Upon discovering Superboy’s secret lab, Lex was tricked into releasing from the Phantom Zone a trio of Kryptonian criminals (General Zod, Faora and Quex-Ul), who proceeded to destroy the lab and the Phantom Zone projector before going on a global rampage destroying anything and anyone in their way.

As part of his newly formed resistance, Lex devised a way to give the Pocket Universe’s Lana Lang super-powers. She adopted a costume like that of Superboy, as well as the name “Supergirl,” and became a rallying symbol for the people of Earth in the fight against the rogue Kryptonians. But, the resistance served only to infuriate the Kryptonians, who responded by burning away the planet’s atmosphere, killing everyone except a small band of fighters inside Lex’s citadel.

Discovering the existence of Superman, Lex devised a way to send Supergirl to his universe in an attempt to recruit him to help.

Supergirl's mission begins

Caught up to speed, Superman vows to join the Supergirl, Lex and the rest of the resistance in order to end the Phantom Zone criminals’ reign of terror.

Thoughts

Honestly, there’s very little specific Supergirl content here. However, we must remember that despite being referred to as “The Supergirl Saga,” this is, first and foremost, a Superman story. And while perhaps not specifically Supergirl, this issue does detail much of the Pocket Universe’s story which, as detailed, led to the creation of Supergirl and thus — like the entire storyline — remains key in the foundation of this new Supergirl’s backstory, addressing and answering many of the mysteries presented in the preceding six months.

Not much is added to Supergirl’s character or personality here, though I did appreciate her adopting the costume as a way of becoming a rallying point for the resistance, which is something that pays as much tribute to Superman’s (or, in this case, Superboy’s) legacy as Supergirl herself.

Fans talk back

With the letters column addressing ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #440 (see Supergirl Monday #2), the second interlude featuring the new Supergirl, more writers addressed the character’s return, including this impassioned letter from writer Thomas Romano of Houston, Texas.

Letter from Thomas Romano

But wait, there’s more

And end-of-issue blurb and the letters page chatter both plug the conclusion of the story in SUPERMAN #22, though neither give much indication of Supergirl’s role.

SUPERMAN #22 blurb from ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #444

SUPERMAN #22 chatter from ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #444

Next time on Supergirl Monday: Unhappy endings!