Tuesday, November 23, 2010

VINTAGE - Superman/Batman: Supergirl

LOEB, Jeph. Superman/Batman: Supergirl. DC Comics, 2005. ISBN: 1401202500

Just when you thought all the superhero action was over, I'm throwing a wonderful combo at you just before turkey day. TWO superheroes for the price of one. A little title DC Comics likes to call Superman/Batman. They slap those two wacky kids together just to see what wacky highjinks will ensue. In this one, the second volume that happens to be penned by Jeph Loeb from Batman: Hush acclaim, he reintroduces Supergirl into mainstream continuity. Hasn't there always been a Supergirl, you ask? Yes. Sort of. Since the late fifties. Sort of. Loeb does his best to explain the situation in a, I'll say it, poorly written foreward to the book. He uses a rollercoaster analogy because apparently some high-up muckity much at DC was riding a "Superman-themed rollercoaster" and saw that Supergirl's biography was kind of horrible. It described her a protoplasmic lifeform. P.S. I totally know which coaster they were referring to. It's totally Bizarro at Six Flags! I was there! And the best part of that was totally reading the bios while I was waiting in the line. I'm a nerd who reads comics. Rollercoasters are kind of scary.

Supergirl, or Kara for short, has many different origins. This story does the best job of simplifying it; she's Superman's cousin. Superman's dad, Jor-El if you didn't know, had a brother who was also on the science council. He made his own rocket, this one much bigger, and stuck his teenage daughter inside it. Before it could launch, the planet exploded. That's what you get for making a bigger rocket, dude. Anyway, eventually a meteor shot through space and landed on Earth. Kryptonite everwhere. Batman and a bunch of other heroes are collecting it and keeping Superman at the JLA's Watchtower on the moon. You know, to limit his exposure. Batman finds the ship in the ocean's depths. While investigating, Kara plops into his Batboat (yes, it's actually called that in this story) buck naked and takes it for a job ride. She crashes it into the harbor. She doesn't speak English, but a really cool Krytonian language that looks like a cross between Egyptian and Wingdings. Scared and confused, Batman finally finds her crying in a greenhouse. He uses his own piece of green to put her down; they really don't get along much after that. I'd be kind of mad if a guy like who looked like a bat knocked me out, too.

Superman is relieved to finally not be the last Kryptonian in the universe. He basically accepts Kara fully into his life, exposing his secret identity within a month of meeting her. Batman is justifiably concerned by this. I mean, if this is a trap it's totally worked at this point. While out for a walk in Metropolis, Clark and Kara are ambushed. Batman, observing in the distance, is attacked as well. Who's doing it? The Amazons? And who is their princess? Wonder-f$#%#$-Woman, that's who!! Kara tries to defend herself with heat vision, but as you can see? No match for the ol' American one-piece. Turns out Batman called in Diana. Diana's with Batman; it's a little too soon. They take Kara to Paradise Island and train her as a lady warrior. Superman's kind of mad about this since Kara is his family and people are making decisions without him. He's justified when a bunch of Doomsday clones teleport in from Boom Tubes and attack everyone on the island. He kills them all with a massive heat vision burst that is super-awesome. The whole thing? A distraction so the Female Furies could kidnap Kara and take her to the hell-inspired planet Apokolips.

Big Barda is enlisted since she has a Mother Box and can Boom Tube the threesome of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to Apokolips. They make a cool little unit; it would have made a cool episode of Justice League Unlimited. Batman snags some Mister Miracle gear so he can keep up with the super people. By the time they get there, of course, Kara has been manipulated into evil (and an incredibly skanky outfit) by Darkseid. Diana and Barda battle the Furies in a girl-fight that's pretty evenly matched. Diana being Diana obviously gets the upperhand. Superman battles the evil Supergirl, eventually using the Luthor-worn kryptonite ring on her. Batman confronts Darkseid after arming a bunch of superbombs in his armory. He says he'll blow up the planet- and all of them- unless Darkseid gives his word to leave Kara alone. Batman is awesome. Darkseid gets mad, beats him within an inch of his life, then relents. Those are the high points. There's some end stuff I won't spoil, but I bought this on impulse and ended up really enjoying it. I don't think the origin of Supergirl will ever be any better than the "Little Girl Lost" story from the animated Superman animated series, but this story did a cute job of incorporating a bunch of DC Comic elements historically while making the title fresh and exciting.

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