Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones’ unique look at Supergirl’s youth comes to an end in Supergirl: Being Super #4, and it leaves you wanting more. Not necessarily because it’s good (which it is), but because it leaves plenty of threads dangling with its open-ended ending. Is it still a satisfying conclusion after the first three great issues?
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Joelle Jones
Publisher: DC Comics
Here’s the publisher’s synopsis from DC Comics:
Having her life torn to shreds and burned to ash has forced Supergirl to choose between the world she was born on and the world that adopted her. Can Kara Danvers find a way to be super—or will she crash and burn?
In the previous issue of Being Super, we learned that the mysterious earthquake that shook Midvale and killed Kara’s best friend Jen was all part of a science experiment and Coach Stone was surprisingly involved. It turned out that Stone had been running experiments on another person like Kara, a Kryptonian named Tan-On. Kara helped Tan-On escape and he convinced her to leave her family.
This sets up a relationship that’s similar to General Zod and Superman’s, or Kara’s fight with her cyborg father in the main Supergirl series. While Kara sees the good in humanity, Tan-On only sees the bad because he’s never experienced human nature outside of a laboratory. Tan-On wants revenge for what was done to him by destroying all of humanity and he thinks Kara will go along with the plan since they’re both from Krypton. It’s up to Kara to hold him back and tell him that there is no “home” for them to go back to: Krypton is destroyed. Kara finally figures out that her dreams of a lost civilization are really memories.
The ending isn’t quite as satisfying as the earlier issues were. It’s fine to have an open-ended ending that gives Kara a positive outlook on the future, but there’s too many hanging threads, especially for a self-contained book.
That said, the art in all four books has been fantastic. Jones work is energetic and just pops from the page.
Being Super was excellent at the start, as Tamaki made Kara a typical teenage girl, who just happened to have super powers. But as the conspiracy began to unfold, the series didn’t have much time for that. Kara’s life with her friends took a back seat (it didn’t help that one of them died) and she had to face what’s essentially a stock Superman/Supergirl villain.
Kara grew up over the four issues and became the hero we all knew she’d be by the end, but the fight with Tan-On wasn’t as important to her development as her relationships with her earth family and friends were. She doesn’t need to wear a cape to be a superhero, and it would have been cool if she could have figured that out without having to punch a bad Kryptonian in the face.