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 #6 arrived last week, bringing readers the last chapter of writer Steve Orlando’s and artist Brian Ching’s Reign of the Cyborg Supermen storyline. The conclusion showcased the final battle between father and daughter to decide whether Argo City or National City would survive. ComiConverse’s Krypton correspondent, T. Kyle King, reviews the newest issue.
(Warning: Spoilers follow!)
Supergirl #6 Review:
Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Finale — like Superwoman #7, also released last Wednesday — closed out the series-opening story arc for a female-focused Superbook by dropping an airborne object into the water to end an otherworldly threat. How did Kara Danvers’s defense of National City compare to Lana Lang’s rescue of Metropolis?
Supergirl #6 Synopsis:
At its New York City headquarters, the D.E.O. is alerted to the looming threat by Argo City’s descent through Earth’s atmosphere. While fighter jets are sent to confront the invasion, Zor-El attempts to persuade Kara that it is Krypton’s right to take what it needs from humanity in order to survive. Supergirl responds by knocking the Cyborg Superman through Argo City, crippling its engines.
Cat Grant uses her mass media influence to transmit the frequency that will overwhelm Zor-El’s Kryptonian technology. When the Cyborg Supermen begin to shut down, Kara explains to her father that she figured out how to defeat the cybernetic systems when she escaped from her father’s prison. The crippled Kryptonian city falls harmlessly into the Pacific Ocean, allowing Kara Danvers to resume her roles as a Young Innovator at CatCo, a foster daughter to the Danverses, and a compassionate hero who hopes to rehabilitate the criminals she has captured.
Supergirl #6 Analysis:
Orlando understands the inherent optimism of his heroine, and he wisely emphasizes that defining characteristic in Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Finale. Kara consistently demonstrates determination and independence — as evidenced by her subtle switch from Kryptonian to English when addressing Zor-El — but those traits are common virtually to all costumed superheroes. The Woman of Steel does more to set herself apart in Supergirl #6, though. She protects the innocent, saving a pilot by catching his plane and explaining that she could not do otherwise. She hears the heroic words uttered by human beings and insists that they inspire her as much as she inspires them. Most notably, Supergirl visits the villains she has imprisoned to offer redemption rather than retribution. Orlando effectively stresses her hopeful nature, giving an otherwise formulaic story a tone that is uniquely Kara’s own.
The writer also interjects much in the way of backstory (and perhaps foreshadowing) into Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Finale, often to underscore his major themes and plot points. Zor-El expressly makes reference to events from Kryptonian history. The mention of D.E.O. Director Bones provides a tangible example of a supervillain who converted to the side of good, and he is headquartered in an architecturally unique edifice that is noticeably distinct from the surrounding buildings. Dr. Aquadus likewise is name-dropped in a passing explanation of why Argo City’s plummet into the ocean did not cause massive destruction; this acknowledgment of problematic details differentiates Supergirl #6 from Superwoman #7 — speaking of whom, is that Superwoman’s uniform we see in Dr. Veritas’s lab? If so, is it just the costume, or is there a person inside it? Does this tie into the fate of either Lois Lane, or to the forthcoming Superman Reborn?
The graphics of Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Finale unfortunately followed the familiar pattern from recent issues. After the series’ initial installments established a whimsical artistic signature well suited to Supergirl’s youthful exuberance, Ching’s images have suffered from a rough finish that detracts from the quality of the artwork and does not match Orlando’s upbeat writing. The good news is that portions of Supergirl #6 are visually reminiscent of earlier issues. In Eliza’s and Jeremiah’s brownstone, for instance, Kara once again appears more elfin than edgy. Overall, though, the hardening of the artistry has marred the last several chapters.
Orlando continues to display a particular flair for combining his title character’s comic book history with her small screen positivity, even if his take on the Maiden of Might sometimes is a tad too on the nose. Imaginative elements, consistent characterization, and some subtle touches served to spruce up what otherwise might have been a by-the-numbers execution of a mundane superhero adventure, but Reign of the Cyborg Supermen: Finale was harmed once more by the unfinished look of Ching’s hitherto fitting pictures.
Did Supergirl #6 inspire you as much as you inspired it?
ComiConverse with us in the comments about your reaction to the defeat of the Cyborg Superman!
T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.
Source: DC Comics