My favorite Supergirl comic in a while is back this week as the digital editions are published on paper. Is it good?
Adventures of Supergirl #5 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
Supergirl has met her match in Facet, who sends her back to the DEO with questions: what did Alura have to do with Facet’s past-and what is her continuing mission on Earth? And now Kara’s foster family is threatened by the diamond-hard former head of Fort Rozz!
Why does this book matter?
Supergirl’s past is haunting her in the most serious of ways as aliens from a Kryptonian prison are making her and her friends’ lives hell. Sounds like one heck of a compelling conundrum and writer Sterling Gates has made it intriguing along the way with some great characterization.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Speak to me mother.
This issue delivers some major answers via Supergirl’s AI mother containing all her memories (that’s kind of an immoral quagmire, no?). Though there’s a lot of exposition and not a lot of things for Supergirl to do in the first half of this issue, Gates gives the flashbacks some meaning. They’re also well told from the AI with plenty of emotional beats for Supergirl to react to. The most important element though is how Gates sets up a very scary threat looming in the shadows.
And then in the second half–complete with a new artist–we get said threat showing off their offense. In a few quick pages the roof comes down on Supergirl and the stakes are raised to eleven. Considering how many surprises have occurred in this series so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if the cliffhanger had a surprise in store next issue.
The second half of the issue is drawn by Emma Vieceli and it’s quite strong work when characters are talking. The dramatic beats are heightened due to some choice panels that swing your attention to the right place.
The first half of the book is drawn by Cat Staggs with some strong colors by John Rauch. A blue light is cast out from the AI that gives the scenes an ominous feel and Vieceli draws a somewhat simplistic face that’s enhanced by the color. Ruach gives the characters a pink cheekbone and some interesting shadows around their eyes which again helps convey looming doom and gloom. It also gives this section a more realistic feel, as if the characters were photographed and then colored.
It can’t be perfect can it?
When the action kicks into gear in the second half of the issue Vieceli’s art doesn’t quite cut it. Rampage looks laughable at best and the crumbling building is more of a mess than a discernible environment.
This second half also doesn’t do quite as well as past chapters in economically reminding us where we are and then progressing things. Technically this issue is two digital issues slapped together and you can tell when this second chapter drops as a full two pages recount what has happened right before, slowing the pace down quite a bit. Things pick up sure, but the action–which is really only three pages–doesn’t do much in the way of entertaining. That makes five of the 10 pages a rather boring endeavor.
A contemplative AI.
Is It Good?
The first half of this issue comes up aces, setting the stage for a looming threat while delivering tense storytelling via flashback. The second half drags on, but has one heck of a cliffhanger that’ll make me come back for more.