Last month’s Supergirl was a real treat. Kara and Clark bonded over their super-ness, and Kara got to hang out with the whole Kent clan. At the end, it looked like Batgirl was spying on her, but what is she doing in National City? This month, we find out.
Geeking it Up
Tycotech is holding an expo in National city to show off its brand new alternative energy machine. Barbara Gordon is there as the founder of the Burnside clean energy initiative, and Ben is there for Catco. Kara is there as Supergirl because the new energy is based on Kryptonian tech (and also as a spy for the D.E.O.) Babs and Supergirl exchange words, take digs at each other’s style of hero-ing, and are generally adorable. Supergirl subtly drops that she knows exactly who Batgirl really is.
The expo begins, and Katarina Bissell reveals Tychotech’s new Eidolon generator. It runs on phantom energy much like Kara’s pod that escaped from Krypton and ripped a hole in the phantom zone letting Lar-On escape. (Remember the Kryptonian werewolf?) The D.E.O. wants to know how Tychotech got a hold of Phantom technology. Before anyone can ask questions, the expo is crashed by Magog, who hurls a spear at the Eidolon and opens a new hole into the Phantom Zone. We just can’t have nice things.
Supergirl battles Magog while Barbara gets costumed up and saves people from getting sucked to the Phantom Zone. Magog seems to have a personal vendetta against Supergirl, or at least, a future version of her. Supergirl of the present, however, has no idea who Magog is, and tries to settle things peacefully. Magog is having none of it. He’s out to kill Supergirl for wrongs she hasn’t even committed yet. We hate time travel.
The Phantom Menace
It’s a snap for Supergirl to take care of Magog (literally) but there’s still that Eidolon sucking everything into the Phantom zone. Ben has already fallen in, and Supergirl barely saves Batgirl from following him. They exchange a few more good-natured ribs as they assess the situation. Batgirl decides to go in after Ben, and Supergirl, disobeying Director Chase’s order, goes in as well.
The D.E.O. is ready to arrest Magog. Chase knows who he is, and knows he has priors. Before the D.E.O. can take him into custody, he mutters something about the Fatal Five and vanishes. We’ve got tons of ideas from this little exchange.
Meanwhile, in the phantom zone, Supes and Bats have found Ben. Now they just need to find a way out. Seeing as how the Phantom Zone is essentially a prison for Kryptonian criminals, that’s easier said than done.
What’s more, a shadowy figure watches from a mysterious tower. They seem to think that Supergirl is the key to escaping the Phantom Zone once and for all. This person, lord Xa-Du, is building some kind of organic suit of armor made from the remnants of people his followers have murdered. He thinks that Kara’s sun-fueled body will be the final building block he needs. We’ll have to wait to see what’s next.
This issue dropped a ton of hints about the Legion of Super Heroes. What is that? It’s a 30th century team of Superheroes that has been a part of DC continuity in some form or another since the 50s. Mon-El was a member (that douchey guy hanging around the Supergirl TV show). Saturn Girl was a member (she’s been spotted in the DC Rebirth special, and namedropped by Emerald Empress). Speaking of Emerald Empress, she’s a member of the Fatal Five, the frequent enemies of the Legion. Fatal Five, where have we heard that before? Oh! Magog in the newest issue of Supergirl muttered something unpleasant about the Fatal Five, and what they will do to those who stand with Supergirl. Also, Magog seemed all upset about stuff Supergirl will do in the future.
What does it all mean? It could be a lot of things. Orlando and company seem to be laying the groundwork for something big on the horizon. Emerald Empress didn’t hang around long in the last issue of Supergirl, but the fact that she was there at all, and now Magog’s cryptic shouting about the Fatal Five seem to be pointing toward something involving the Legion. Will Supergirl travel to the future to fight alongside the Legion? Will the rest of the Fatal Five come to the past to fight Supergirl? Will Emerald Empress find Saturn girl? What does Jessica Cruz have to do with the Emerald Eye? Now that Supergirl is caught in the phantom zone, we’ll have to wait for her to resolve that predicament before we get some more clues, but we’ll be looking, and waiting.
Shout out in the comments below if you’ve got your own wild speculation.
Brian Ching is Back
Brian Ching was the main artist on the first big arc of Supergirl. Since then, two issues have been drawn by Matias Bergara, whose style is not too far from Ching’s. Now that he’s back, we are really having a problem with the look of this book. Ching has a very distinctive style. It’s big on exaggerated features, sharp linework and blocky, angular shapes.
At times it’s amazing. The Cyborg Superman from the first arc looked incredible, as did Argo City itself. Your mileage may vary, but this style is starting to wear us down. It’s not bad art by any means, and the fantastic color work of Michael Atiyeh helps, but there is something that is just not clicking for us here.
Some of the panels are very successful. When the team first enters the Phantom Zone, the backgrounds are amazing. The whole Phantom Zone sequence at the end of the issue looked very good, especially the colorwork. Likewise, Magog looked very cool and sinister, and the fight scenes are kinetic and work well. The backgrounds in general are very strong. Maybe it’s just the characters. The proportions are just a little too exaggerated, the angles a little too sharp. We can’t quite put our finger on what it is. It’s just inconsistent.
The Supergirl and Batgirl team-up in Batgirl Annual #1 was tons of fun, and we’re happy to see them together again. They’ve already got a friendly rivalry-type rapport going that should prove to be very entertaining in the coming issues. Kara may be out of her element on Earth, and she still hasn’t quite mastered contractions, but she can give as good as she gets. With Babs’s brains, and Kara’s strength and heart, there’s nothing these two can’t do (assuming Ben doesn’t get in the way).
We’re excited to see where this is going, and anxious for the next clues to drop from Orlando and company. We hope you are too. We’ll see you next month for Supergirl versus the Phantom King.
Supergirl #9: Escape from the Phantom Zone Part 1
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Brian Ching
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Steve Wands
Images Courtesy of DC Comics