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 #5 arrived last Wednesday, continuing writer Steve Orlando’s and artist Brian Ching’s Reign of the Cyborg Supermen story arc. In the latest chapter, Kara comes back to National City to confront her father in an action-packed issue. ComiConverse’s Krypton correspondent, T. Kyle King, provides this review of the most recent installment.
(Warning: Spoilers Follow!)
Supergirl #5 Review:
Jeremiah Danvers and the D.E.O. are doing their best to fight back against Zor-El as the Cyborg Superman attacks National City. Supergirl flies in from space to lend her powers, her passion, and her plan to the effort. Can she stop her father from destroying her world, or will the deranged Kryptonian construct succeed in bringing Argo City back?
Supergirl #5 Synopsis:
The D.E.O. is endeavoring to fend off the invading Cyborg Supermen, but the data filter placed around National City by the Kryptonians is preventing any signal from reaching the outside world. Supergirl arrives to join the fray, saving Ben Rubel and enlisting Cat Grant’s assistance to upload some Kryptonian computer code.
Kara saves Jeremiah Danvers from Zor-El, then takes the fight to the Cyborg Superman after repudiating his objective and his methods. Supergirl is holding her own against the Kryptonian construct and protecting the people of National City, but — as Eliza Danvers tries to warn Cameron Chase on her shuttle flight home from space — Kara may be too late: Argo City physically has arrived at Earth.
Supergirl #5 Analysis:
Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Part Five is Orlando’s best effort yet in the series. The action in this issue is incessant, the story developments make sense in context and are neither glossed over nor dragged out, and — in particular — the characterization is superb. Cat’s and Cameron’s personalities come through clearly in only a few lines, Zor-El is given a voice to explain his motivations in a way that makes him comprehensible if not at least somewhat sympathetic, and Kara has her finest hour thus far in Supergirl #5.
The eponymous heroine is tough, making midair saves and launching effective counterattacks. She is smart, eliciting an introduction from Ben to keep her secret identity concealed and devising computer-delivered countermeasures rather than relying on brute force alone. Conversing in a distinctive speaking style somewhat reminiscent of Starfire or Commander Data, Kara is upbeat, inspirational, and clever, displaying good humor (“Sorry I am late. What did I miss?”), confidence (“Him? Do not worry about him.”), hope (“There is always a way.”), loyalty (“Father. Get the Hell away from my Dad.”), and determination (“No matter how many times you tell me to stop… I will not do what I’m told!”). Confronting a Kryptonian villain in many ways similar to the General Zod of Man of Steel, Supergirl remains mindful of the toll their superpowered showdown can have on unprotected innocents, breaking away from fighting Zor-El to save human bystanders from falling shards of glass shattered during their battle. The star of Supergirl #5 is the Maiden of Might at her absolute height.
Although Ching’s artwork remains somewhat scratchy and still lacks the softer angles of earlier issues, the imagery in Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Part Five is not as harsh in its sharpness, and the jagged line work is more effective in an issue filled with such kinetic physicality. Supergirl #5 is a showcase of full-page splashes, fluid movements, tight close-ups, and over-the-shoulder perspectives in tandem with page-turn reveals, for which the handiwork of Ching and colorist Michael Atiyeh is well suited. Regarding the book’s visual presentation, special recognition also must be given to letterer Steve Wands, whose outsized and innovative sound effects — from a dynamic “SMRA-KRUSH” to a reversed semicircular “WWHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSHHHHH” (in which multiple O’s are missing because the letters loop off the page) to a spectacularly onomatopoeic “SHATTER BOOOM” — lend an exuberant urgency to Supergirl #5 that is perfectly pitched to match the tale’s tone.
Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Part Five is fun, funny, and uplifting, but the issue amps up the dramatic tension by keeping details of Kara’s plan concealed, deftly separating National City from the rest of the world (“No irregular signals can get out. No-one on the outside knows what’s happening.”), and ending with a cliffhanger in which the mountain effectively is brought to Mohamed. While I’d still like to see a return to the smoother finish on the imagery that typified the initial issues, that is my only quibble with the otherwise exceptional Supergirl #5.
Have the clouds started to part during the Reign of the Cyborg Supermen?
Input your Kryptonian code in the comments and ComiConverse with us about Supergirl #5!
T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.
Source: DC Comics
Steve Orlando captures the essence of Supergirl in this action-packed adventure.