Last night saw the premiere of the new CBS series Supergirl. The pilot episode and forthcoming season will surely see a renewed interest in the character and world of Kara Zor-El, the cousin of Kal-El and to others, Superman. We love the time right after the premiere of a show or movie based off of a comic book because it’s the perfect time for the source material in which said show or film is based. This past week saw the reprinting of DC Comics New 52 relaunch of Supergirl issue 1. For just $1.00 you could get the first issue of Michael Green and Mike Johnson’s retelling of the Supergirl story, complete with a Supergirl CBS banner on the front cover and with the full poster on the back. While your local comic shop will be moving these to their back issue box section to prepare for this Wednesday’s releases, you should still be able to locate this $1.00 first issue. But, in case you cannot find it, Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton volume 1 should be easy to locate wherever books or sold.
In conversations that closely resemble the “I’m a PC” or “I’m a MAC” debates, I’d say that I’m DC. I’ve always been a fan of comic books, but it wasn’t until DC started The New 52 that I started reading comics on a weekly basis. Four years later and I’m still reading DC Comics and have even gone back to the comics post New 52 to fill in the important story arc knowledge that many would consider “essential.” For anyone that has paid attention to my contributions, you should be well aware that I love Superman and the Superman mythology. Yet, for some reason, I never paid much attention to Supergirl and Superboy. Maybe it’s because I sometimes exhibit limited taste, but aside from episodes of Superman: The Animated Series and certain issues that featured guest appearances, I never read a solo book featuring them. Taking my love for all things Superman into consideration, I knew I’d have to go back and start reading Supergirl prior to the premiere of the show starring Melissa Benoist. Earlier this year I picked up volume 1 of Supergirl at my local comic shop and this past week and I bought the $1.00 first issue. If you’re excited about the series and find yourself falling in love after the 8:30 PM ET debut on CBS this evening, Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton is the perfect place to start within the comic book medium.
One of the reasons DC Comics The New 52 works so well is that they restarted their universe while maintaining certain important beats of canon without discriminating against readers new and old. When the titles first launched, it was the perfect time for fans like me to get in on the ground floor because each issue operated as if you had never read a Supergirl, Superman, Batman comic and so on. While the issue format of comics on a weekly and monthly basis can seem challenging, Trade Paperbacks or TPB’s for short, graphic novels, are the ideal format for someone looking for an entertaining read and a way to enjoy a full story arc in an almost immediately gratifying way. Sometimes, truthfully, the TPB is the best way to go as you could enjoy a story in the full way it’s intended. In many ways Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained worked better in collected form as opposed to the monthly release. You could find our review on that here.
Michael Green and Mike Johnson begin Supergirl with an immediacy that is not always felt within the Superman origin stories. While Kal-El slowly develops his powers, Kara Zor-El arrives on Earth as a teenage girl with her powers at full, just not honed. Green and Johnson are known for having written some of the best Batman Superman issues and they definitely exhibit knowledge of the Super mythos and iconography. Their Supergirl story begins with her landing in Siberia and feeling as lost as if we were to awake in a land foreign to what we know. It’s a good way to start the story and through the seven issues of the first arc, we watch her encounter Superman, “opportunistic, exploitative researchers”, and Worldkillers led by a villain named Reign.
Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton is a trade worth seeking out if you’re looking for a modern take on the character and/or if you’re looking for a Supergirl story to give to a fan. The content featured in volume 1 is relatively lite considering its teen rating. The art by Mahmud Asrar is very good. There’s a widescreen, theatrical look to each issue and it brings to mind the action of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, despite this coming out well before the 2013 film. The costume design by Jim Lee and Mahmud Asrar strays far away from the more sexualized version found in previous versions. Their take on Kara’s indestructible armor is presented in a style more akin to that of a female gymnast and should make parents feel more comfortable with letting their children read Last Daughter of Krypton after watching last night’s pilot episode.
For those looking for a Supergirl story that closely reflects the CBS series, I don’t believe Michael Green and Mike Johnson’s work on Last Daughter of Krypton is that story. However, it is a good, clean start to Supergirl that if you’re looking for a Supergirl trade to pick up, you won’t regret choosing this one.
What’cha Reading gives Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton volume 1 four stars.