T. Kyle King’s published work ranges from newspaper columns to film reviews and from short stories to law review articles. Most notably, he served as a site manager and staff writer at DawgSports.com, a daily weblog devoted to University of Georgia athletics, from 2006 to 2013, and he is the author of a book about the history of the college football rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers published by Clemson University Digital Press in 2013. Kyle is a lifelong comic book fan whose thoughts on comic books previously have appeared at ComicsVerse, Progressive Boink, and the Superman Homepage. Kyle is a Superman guy.
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Supergirl #3 came out last Wednesday, capping off a busy week for the Superman Family. Writer Steve Orlando and artist Brian Ching delivered the third installment of Reign of the Cyborg Supermen, and ComiConverse brings you this review from contributor T. Kyle King, who covers every DC Comics title starring a superhero wearing an “S” shield.
Supergirl #3 Review:
Over the protestations of her foster parents, Kara ventures into space to meet Zor-El at the revived Argo City. Has Cyborg Superman truly brought their Kryptonian hometown back from the dead… and what has motivated Supergirl’s mechanized father to rebuild his daughter’s place of origin?
Supergirl #3 Synopsis:
After receiving a visionary visitation from Zor-El, Kara is determined to fly to the outer orbit of Saturn to see Argo City for herself. Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers attempt to talk her out of taking the dangerous trip, but, when their efforts are unsuccessful, the D.E.O. agent posing as Supergirl’s mother insists upon accompanying her.
They arrive at the domed city to find some changes have been made, to the architecture, the engines, and, most notably, the population. Cyborg Superman shows his daughter the reanimated Kryptonians — including her mother, Alura — but Kara senses something is not quite right. Zor-El patiently explains that they are lacking a single remaining element necessary to finalize the revival… and he reveals the last facet of his larger plan to his startled daughter.
Supergirl #3 Analysis:
Since the series’ premise was established satisfactorily in its introductory installment and its initial issue, Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Part Three generally sticks to the strictly functional. Single-page interludes pair Cat Grant with Ben Rubel and match Cameron Chase with Jeremiah Danvers, but, otherwise, Supergirl #3 is confined almost entirely to advancing the plot through Kara, her cybernetic father, and her foster mother.
Orlando, however, nevertheless manages to interject some subtle touches into his workmanlike story. In the beginning, Kara addresses the female Agent Danvers as “Eliza”, but, near the end of the issue, she tells Cyborg Superman: “She’s my mother”. Likewise, when the Maid of Might initially insists she will not lose her parents a second time, she is talking about rekindling her relationships with Alura and Zor-El; later in Supergirl #3, though, the meaning of that statement changes when her concern shifts instead to Eliza and Jeremiah.
The distinctively Twee quality of the series’ artwork is embodied by Ching’s and colorist Michael Atiyeh’s cover depiction of the wide-eyed and stylized title character. In the interior of Supergirl #3, the layouts and colors are perfectly serviceable. Unfortunately, the artist’s somewhat slapdash inking of his own pencils gives the imagery a rough and sketchy appearance that sharpens and hardens the edges of the artwork’s hitherto more rounded angles. As a result, the drawings feel rushed — the sense that the imagery is unfinished only increases as the issue continues — and, in particular, Kara’s elfin angularity acquires an unappealing jaggedness that is more sagittate than soft, more acute than cute.
Much like the heroine’s mechanized patriarch, Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Part Three is purely utilitarian; this review was so brief, in fact, because Supergirl #3 was so straightforward that a more involved exegesis was unwarranted. Orlando’s and Ching’s most recent effort was not entirely lacking in refinement — the script and the graphics managed to include the week’s second homage to Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 — but this issue focused mostly on advancing the plot, providing narrative exposition, and setting up the cliffhanger ending signaling the transition to the story’s next phase. Supergirl #3 had a job to do, and it did the job, but it did little more than that.
Do you, for one, welcome our new Cyborg Superman overlords?
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T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.
Source: DC Comics
The latest issue advanced the plot and answered questions, but the artwork appeared rushed and the story was little more than merely functional.