‘Adventures of Supergirl’ #1 Brings TV’s Supergirl to Comics! (Comics’ Supergirl Still MIA)
When the CBS Supergirl TV series was announced, and then when its premiere approached, and again when it turned out to be a really good show, one question was repeated among the fans of the character: Where is Supergirl in the comics?
Of course, that had already been a question for a while. The Supergirl of 2011’s New 52 relaunch never really felt like Supergirl. Speaking for myself, I picked up the book, in spite of the terrible costume, because I like the character. When I quit the title several issues later, she hadn’t yet learned English, or had a positive interaction with her cousin, or made a single friend. After I quit reading, I heard she became a Red Lantern, which is, charitably, a very weird thing to do with Supergirl. So seeing Supergirl on TV felt like seeing the character I enjoy for the first time in a very long time.
That book is out now, and the first issue is pretty great. It has the slightness of a single digital-first issue, but I look forward to reading more. Bengal’s artwork is lovely, and perfectly suits the light-hearted tone. Kara’s a little more blonde than she is on the show, which is a good choice to give her more of a “classic comics Supergirl” look. He and Gates also do a great job of briefly recapping Kara’s origin without using up too much of this short comic’s space.
The only members of Kara’s supporting cast to appear in this first issue are her sister Alex and Hank “not Cyborg Superman” Henshaw, but I suspect that’s entirely a matter of space. I’m sure Cat, James, and (unfortunately) Winn will show up before long.
The comic also follows the show’s lead by using an old Superman villain as a monster-of-the-week. And this being a comic, that villain (spoilers: it’s Rampage) looks a lot more like she did in those Superman comics than she would if she were on CBS (although to be honest, I’m now a little disappointed that we’re unlikely to see Rampage on CBS).
I have to admit, even in the face of this excellent digital comic, I still find myself asking the same question: Where is (the comics version of) Supergirl in comics? Maybe I’m being unfair to DC’s TV-based digital comics universe, which has produced some truly great work. Maybe I’m just another old comics fan who’s too invested in continuity and what “counts.” But I keep thinking about how Batgirl, Black Canary, and even Starfire are starring in excellent character-revitalizing comics set in the DCU, while Supergirl is nowhere to be seen in that world, and currently seems to exist only in her televised form.
I love TV’s Supergirl, and I’m really glad that fans of the show have a great comic to look forward to. But this Supergirl is never going to fly to Burnside for coffee with Barbara Gordon. She’s not even likely to team up with her own cousin, because the version of him in her universe is relegated to faceless cameos. She’s a great Supergirl, but one who feels separate from the other comics I love, and I have to admit that still makes me a little sad.
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