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One of the Better New 52 Titles
on October 23, 2012
While Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton is not the best of the New 52 titles released by DC as part of its epic relaunch, it is far from the worst. The Supergirl origins story told here is, in some ways, more similar to prior incarnations of its title character than many of the other origins stories in the New 52. Supergirl's meteor ends up crashing through the earth and landing in Siberia instead of Kansas. When Kara climbs out of the rubble of her ship she is already an adult rather than a small child as her more famous cousin was upon arrival.
The story gives us a very alien Supergirl. She struggles to make sense of her new surroundings, speaks and thinks in Kryptonian and is unable to accept the news that her home planet, Krypton is no more. Unlike Superman's story, which is in many ways about an alien learning to thrive and be accepted in his new environment, Supergirl's story is more about culture clash, loss and alienation. Whereas Kal-El is adopted by a kindly American family when his ship lands, Kara is immediately attacked by heavily armed soldiers. Her powers all manifest themselves instantaneously upon her arrival and she sometimes does not fully understand them. In one panel she is horrified by her own X-Ray vision.
While Supergirl herself emerges as an interesting and sympathetic character, I still found this book a bit uneven. The villains that Supergirl confronts once she learns the truth about Krypton are rather generic. I don't want to give away any spoilers here, but for me the second part of the book was less successful and interesting than the first two or three chapters.
Mahmud Asrar's pencilling more than gets the job done. The storytelling is excellent. Asrar draw his characters with a slightly angular style that I found visually appealing. Supergirl's new costume looks great and matches the armored look that Superman has been sporting in his story lines (the new costumes are essentially indestructible suits from the home planet).
Although the book slowed down somewhat for me in the second half, it was on the whole worth reading. It reintroduces Supergirl with relatively minor changes to the basic story of this sixty year old character but at the same time makes her relatable to contemporary audiences. The new Supergirl has a lot of potential if her creative team brings her up against interesting challenges and villains.