What is this all about?
Supergirl fights Emerald Empress and Indigo as they attack the DEO and Cyborg Superman, who happens to be Supergirl’s father. When the fight spills into the city streets, the people of National City turn on Supergirl. And if that isn’t bad enough, the attack is revealed to be part of a larger scheme to destroy Supergirl’s reputation and maneuver new leadership into the DEO.
It starts off right in the action, with Supergirl jumping in front of an energy blast meant for her father. She’s fighting the Legion of Super-Heroes villainess Emerald Empress, who’s traveled back in time to take out Supergirl before the heroine defeats her in the future. If you don’t know her, Emerald Empress’s deal is that she controls a giant floating green eyeball that can shoot energy blasts and mind-control people, which is wonderfully weird and makes for some unique visuals. She’s generally pretty campy, and I love her.
Their fight explodes out from the DEO to the streets of National City, and this is where I started screaming at the pages. When the people on the streets spot Cyborg Superman, they immediately start shouting at Supergirl for helping him. And okay, I get it. The guy’s a murderer. But there are two superpowered alien ladies shooting laser beams and knocking each other into buildings. Why are you people not running away? Stop heckling the heroine who’s trying to save you and get some distance! What is wrong with you? Use your common sense, please.
I wonder what these people do during natural disasters. National City really needs to run some public safety drills on steps to take during a supervillain attack. Run in the opposite direction. Take shelter. Do NOT take a video on your phone while shouting insults at the superheroine.
Seriously, some of these people are standing like three feet away from the floating evil eyeball. Could you at least back up a little? Anyway, as if Supergirl doesn’t have enough on her plate dealing with these dopes, Emerald Empress isn’t alone. Cybernetic supervillain Indigo jumps Supergirl from behind. She’s not as cool as Emerald Empress, but at least she’s looking less like a cheap Mystique rip-off than she did during her appearance on the Supergirl TV show.
Supergirl rallies and rips Emerald Empress’s eyeball in half in a really cool panel. (The art in this is great.) She doesn’t do as well against Indigo, but then Cyborg Superman intervenes, killing Indigo and saving his daughter. This isn’t exactly a victory, since Supergirl is about saving her enemies rather than killing them, and seeing her father murder again turns the public against her even more.
In the aftermath of the battle, the director of the DEO, who is Supergirl’s ally, is forced to resign, paving the way for Director Bones to take over and reveal he put the hit on Supergirl. You don’t need to know Director Bones’s backstory to realize the guy with a gray skull for a face who’s ominously smoking a cigar is bad news.
(On a side note, Director Bones is wearing a patriotic little red, white, and blue tie with his dark suit that I find absolutely delightful. It’s little touches like this that make comics fun.)
It’s not the most uplifting ending, and I was fully prepared to finish this comic feeling bummed and frustrated, but the next page changed everything. After getting turned on by the very people they’re sworn to protect, many heroes would spend this point angsting. They’d probably sit atop a high building and stare moodily off into the distance while running through a depressing inner monologue. Bonus points if they do it during the rain.
Not Supergirl. Her inner monologue goes like this:
“National City may not trust Supergirl, but I am still here. That has not changed how I feel about them. Nothing could. I love them. And I will never stop.”
This is shown with a beautiful picture of her flying over the city, and it ends the comic on an awesome, uplifting note.
I’m not a fan of the whole trope of citizens being stupid jerks to superheroes (as you may have guessed), but this comic pulls it off by not having Supergirl wallow in angst over it. Writer Steve Orlando really gets Supergirl. Her defining traits are her courage, caring, and optimism, and those are on full display here.
And I guess the fact that I got so angry at the people of National City is a sign of good writing. The last thing you want to feel when reading a comic book is meh, and this issue is anything but that.
…I still think the people of National City are dumb, though.
Reviewed by Kristen Brand
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by: Robson Rocha; Daniel Henriques
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: 9/13/17
More about Kristen: @brandedkristen
Kristen Brand has a major superhero obsession. When she’s not reading comics, she’s watching superhero movies and TV shows, and since that’s not enough, she writes her own superhero novels. You can find out more about her work and read her free web serial, Fight Crime! (A Love Story), at kristenbrand.com