Review: Supergirl #9

Kyle King Kyle King
Expert Contributor
May 21st, 2017

T. Kyle King is a lawyer, a former sports blogger, a panelist on the "Twin Peaks"-centric "Wrapped in Podcast", and a Superman guy.

Review: Supergirl #9
Comics
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Review of: Supergirl #9
Price:
Uneven

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On May 21, 2017
Last modified:May 21, 2017

Summary:

The quality of the writing remained consistently high, but the unfinished look of the artwork detracted dramatically from the impact of this issue.

Review of: Supergirl #9
Price:
Uneven

Reviewed by:
Rating:

2
On May 21, 2017
Last modified:May 21, 2017

Summary:

The quality of the writing remained consistently high, but the unfinished look of the artwork detracted dramatically from the impact of this issue.

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Supergirl #9, one of four Superbooks that began new story arcs last Wednesday, brought Batgirl to National City for a tale authored by Steve Orlando and drawn by Brian Ching. Escape from the Phantom Zone — Part One got the next chapter in the adventures of the Maid of Might off to a dramatic start. ComiConverse’s Kryptonian correspondent, T. Kyle King, is here to review the most recent issue.

(Warning: Major spoilers follow!)

Supergirl #9 Review:

Kara Danvers and Barbara Gordon cross paths at the TychoTech energy exposition, at which an eidolon operating on Phantom Drive technology is being unveiled. The momentous event attracts the attention of Magog, whose intervention involves dire consequences for both Supergirl and Batgirl that truly are out of this world!

Supergirl #9 Synopsis:

Clean energy aficionado Barbara Gordon, CatCo app broadcaster Ben Rubel, and Krypton survivor Supergirl all are on hand for a mammoth announcement at Shimada Square: Katarina Bissell, the successor to Simon Tycho, introduces the world to the Tycho Eidolon. The machine generates Phantom Energy as a means of producing waste-free and low-cost power. Magog appears, speaking of future happenings that have not yet come to pass and activating the eidolon.

When the Phantom Energy generator begins pulling in audience members, Batgirl and Supergirl rescue almost all of the bystanders, but Ben disappears inside the machine. Magog is defeated, but he is transported away before Cameron Chase can take him into D.E.O. custody. Batgirl and Supergirl pursue Rubel through the portal, and the three adventurers find themselves consigned to the Phantom Zone. Within that ethereal dimension, Xa-Du becomes aware of Kara Zor-El’s presence and sees her fortuitous arrival as an opportunity to carry his nefarious scheme to fruition.

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Supergirl #9 Analysis:

After the audience was spoiled by the artwork of Matias Bergara being featured in the previous couple of issues, Ching’s resumption of the pencilling and inking chores was less than welcome. To be fair, Ching’s depictions are far from universally awful; the cover undeniably had its strengths, as did the energetic action sequences in the interior imagery. On the whole, though, the scratchy character of Ching’s graphics is obtrusive as often as not. Attempts to convey emotion visually collapse accidentally into instances of flat affect, whereas the exaggerated angle intended to lend perspective to Magog’s initial appearance is instead so grossly disproportionate that it would make Rob Liefeld blush. Ching is not without talent, but his style simply does not work in Supergirl #9, as, indeed, it has not for much of the series’ run. Put bluntly, this artist just does not belong on this book.

This is particularly unfortunate, as Orlando continues to excel in his efforts to establish a Rebirth Woman of Steel who is at once refreshingly contemporary and deeply steeped in DC Comics history. Escape from the Phantom Zone — Part One provides a readily recognizable Kara complete with CatCo and D.E.O. ties connecting her directly to Supergirl’s popular television show. This cutting-edge issue is thoroughly current and packed with action, uniting the final survivor of Argo City with the Batgirl of Burnside to give the deserving duo a worthy World’s Finest Galentine’s Day.

The pithy knowing exchanges penned by Orlando for Supergirl #9 give to the heroines’ budding friendship a tone tinged with the sly undercurrent of two sisters sharing a secret while keeping the condescending yet clueless Rubel completely in the dark. The deadpan exchanges and distinctive personalities of Kara and Barbara provide this arc’s opening installment with its marvelous heart. Along the way, though, the writer continues digging down into the fertile loam forming the rich sediment of decades of DC Universe history. There is no B-side single too obscure to serve as a deep track giving grist to Orlando’s inventive mill, and the author’s inclusion of myriad allusions invariably appears effortless.

From Simon Tycho to Magog to Xa-Du, Escape from the Phantom Zone — Part One is replete with such references, each of which seems essential to the story arc Orlando has gotten underway. The presence of these characters in the wake of Superman: Reborn adds an extra element of intrigue to the proceedings, as the merging of the Man of Steel’s pre-Flashpoint and New 52 timelines has called into question the continued inclusion in continuity of particular aspects from the publisher’s most recent full-fledged reboot. While most readers were not sad to see much of the New 52 jettisoned, some stories were worth preserving, and Grant Morrison’s Phantom Zone Halloween adventure was near the top of that list. Supergirl #9 unmistakably confirmed that tale as canonical, as suggested by colorist Michael Atiyeh’s slightly bleached extradimensional palette and verified by Ben’s telling confession: “I can’t feel anything.” The good news, of course, is that the audience still can… because, although the visuals of this issue were sadly lacking, the writing, as ever, was effective on several levels.

Are you ready to follow Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon to Aethyropolis?

Dive into the comments through the Tycho Eidolon and ComiConverse with your fellow fans about Supergirl #9!

T. Kyle King is an Expert Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.

Supergirl #9

  • 2

Uneven

The quality of the writing remained consistently high, but the unfinished look of the artwork detracted dramatically from the impact of this issue.

Story continues below

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