Review: Supergirl #51
March 17, 2010
“Part Two: Leaders”
This issue starts off really well with a tension-building scene. A group science guild children have escaped the devastating attack underway on Kandor, their teachers trying to keep them from realizing what’s happening. But these children have superpowers, and superhearing… One cute little girl removes her headgear to tell them that she can hear the people screaming :(
(I love the kids in their science guild costumes. But I shouldn’t think Kryptonian children would wear exactly the same clothing styles as adults; the guilding ceremony was shown to be significant enough that I’m sure they wouldn’t be able to take those robes until Guild Day.)
Supergirl and Mon-El fight side by side for a bit. Supergirl’s pretty awesome :)
Then Mon-El receives a telepathic message from one of the Legionnaires that Superman needs help – he’s been captured by Brainiac. Mon-El prepares to take a solo trip to the ship to save Superman, on what is possibly a suicide mission. He tells Kara that her people need her to lead them, and if she can, save the Legion. It’s a tall order, and Supergirl is doubtful of her abilities – she hasn’t had much experience in leading. But Mon-El gives her a pep talk, before heading off. It’s a nice scene between two junior members of the super-team.
Then very unexpectedly, Supergirl flies after Mon-El and kisses him real hard, grabbing his suit.
So, what, Mon-El gives Kara a pep talk and she…kisses him for it? You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d missed the page where it’s hinted that Kara has feelings for Mon-El, because it doesn’t exist. Kara tells him that her kiss is “For luck. Just for luck.” Really. And here I thought women kissed men because they were attracted to them. Nope! And of course, instead of being freaked out when a friend and colleague with whom you have *no romantic relationship* suddenly crosses the sexual barrier, Mon-El is merely bemused by Kara’s behavior. Because women’s sexuality exists to bolster men’s morale.
This scene could have been so awesome if used at the right time for the right characters. (The streaking effect of Kara’s hair and cape in superspeed is cool.) I wish it had been saved for an occasion where Kara was actually expressing genuine feelings towards someone (not Mon-El). A character building moment. Here there’s no justification for it, so it comes across as just another gratuitous use of female sexuality for (hetero) male ego-boosting. (There’s not a chance in hell the same thing would happen between Superboy and Mon-El. Although I’d love to see that. Mon-El has never struck me as hetero anyway.)
* * *
Cut to the Legionnaires, who have made quick work of the guards. (Superboy is looking way too overmuscled for my taste. His bulging arms are grotesque.) They’re just getting back on their feet when Alura bursts in, angry as hell, and looking a lot like her daughter when she’s on a tear! (Alura’s hair changes from blond to red halfway through the issue – three different colourists.) She calls Connor a “terrorist” and is pissed about people with “human DNA” appropriating her house symbol.
We then get to the scene on the cover (misleading as always) – Supergirl hears her mother commanding Superboy to “Put me down!“, and is appalled to find Connor holding Alura by the throat! She sends him flying across the room. Not the best family introduction!
Then the terminators burst in, a black soldier with pupil-less eyes (??) gets brutally impaled through the head, Supergirl thinks fast and shoots a REALLY BIG GUN (wooh!) but still they keep coming, until Connor comes about and TK’s them. Phew.
Kara convinces her mom to have the Legionnaires released. This is a tiny bit but it’s very cool and an important development: Alura is open to going against Zod’s orders, having the empathy to understand how important it is to free the other bottled cities (something that would *never* be a priority to Zod), but she still feels unable to oppose him. Kara talks her mom into overruling Zod. Finally! This is the only way anyone is going to wrest control away from Zod. When he finds out what she’s done, Zod is so pissed. :)
As usual, Ursa doesn’t get to do anything in this issue but ask Zod “Shall I deal with her?” In Last Stand #1 all she got was a “Yes, General Zod”. She has *no agency*. Which is why it’s a big deal when Alura calls for Zod to be summoned *to her*. Looks like things are coming to a head between them very soon.
I love how Alura has, since this invasion began, accepted Kara’s role as a front line soldier and now leader in the battle. She trusts her abilities, something Kara has struggled with earning for a long time.
Kara recognizes that the Kryptonians’ fatal flaw is their inability to cooperate across guild lines, and sees Alura as the person who can unite them. This is the role which Superman usually takes, but he cannot be that person for his people. Both women have grown into their leadership roles and support each other. It’s a rare thing to see in these stories.
This issue ended far too quickly! I was all excited to see Kara reunited with the Legion and leading the charge, and it was over! The last page gives me goosebumps. I don’t care if it’s cheesy: I love Starman’s “Up, Up and AWAAAY!” :)
Read more: Newsarama has a very favourable Best Shots Review of Supergirl #51.