Review – Supergirl: Being Super #4 (DC Comics)
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artwork: Joëlle Jones, Kelly Fitzpatrick (colours)
Release Date: 28th June 2017
After three fantastic oversized issues, Mariko Tamaki, Joëlle Jones and Kelly Fitzpatrick’s Supergirl: Being Super comes to an end this week, and does so in truly masterful fashion.
So far in the series, we’ve seen Kara Danvers struggling to come to terms with the grief caused by the death of her friend – a death she could potentially have averted – as well as trying to balance her superpower-enhanced growing pains with the pressures of being a high school kid. And here, following the discovery of another Kryptonian being subjected to some of the same experiments she herself was a victim of, she leaves her family and her best friend Dolly behind to follow this stranger out into the larger world.
The search for self-identity that has typified this series continues here, with Kara still struggling to figure out just who she really is. It hasn’t been an easy journey for her to this point, and things are only getting more confusing here, particularly in light of the childhood memories of her last moments on Krypton which are gradually trickling their way back in. And, throughout it all, Tamaki displays a delicate touch with both the dialogue and Kara’s narration, giving the series a grounded, relatable appeal that belies its super-powered facade.
As likeable and grounded as Kara feels however, she does struggle a little to avoid losing out in pretty much every scene she shares with Dolly. Honestly, Dolly is one of the most effortlessly-cool-yet-undeniably-dorky comic creations I can remember reading, and it’s great to see her getting more of a chance to shine here with her sharp wit, defiant spirit and clear, unwavering love for her friend Kara. Her own story also gets something of an uplifting resolution in the final pages of this issue in a moment which is bound to raise a smile.
The slick, stylish artwork from Joëlle Jones really helps to emphasise the tone of the story, with every emotional moment resonating deeply as a result. In a slight contrast to the style of the series to far, the bulk of this issue is fueled a little more by the plot than the character herself, but Jones still adds her trademark flair and subtle knack for conveying emotion as the latest chapter of Kara’s journey reaches its tense conclusion. And, much like Tamaki and Jones, colourist Kelly Fitzpatrick shows a steady hand throughout, never letting go of the reigns too much as she keeps things lively and fresh without ever going ‘full superhero’.
But, while there are undoubtedly some truly epic sequences along the way – including an utterly fantastic splash page featuring Kara and Dolly – it’s the quieter, character-based moments that really shine here. The smiles, the frowns, the looks of concern, they’re what make this series sing. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that the final pages are all but guaranteed to give you goosebumps. Hell, you can practically hear the John Williams-esque theme swelling throughout the entire sequence before hitting its crescendo on the final page. It’s truly captivating stuff, and provides the perfect sign-off to what has been a stellar series.
A coming of age drama wrapped around a superhero origin story, Supergirl: Being Super comes loaded with relatable emotions and impressive character beats. It almost feels at times like a Smallville-esque take on Supergirl, which may perhaps be oversimplifying the impressive work that Tamaki, Jones and Fitzpatrick have done here, but should at least give you a rough idea of what to expect. And, as I’ve said before, this is a Supergirl comic that puts the “super” on the back burner and focuses squarely on the girl, providing one of the most enjoyable ‘alternate origin’ stories I’ve read for quite some time. Highly recommended.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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