Review: Supergirl: Being Super #3

Kyle King Kyle King
Expert Contributor
April 30th, 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: Being Super #3
Comics
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Price:
Extraordinary

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On April 30, 2017
Last modified:April 30, 2017

Summary:

A stark and straightforward honesty pervades both the writing and the artwork in the most recent issue of this exceptional exploration of an adolescent alien's arrival at adulthood.

Price:
Extraordinary

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On April 30, 2017
Last modified:April 30, 2017

Summary:

A stark and straightforward honesty pervades both the writing and the artwork in the most recent issue of this exceptional exploration of an adolescent alien's arrival at adulthood.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Supergirl: Being Super #3, the latest edition of the four-part prestige-format miniseries by writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Joelle Jones, recently was released. The third chapter — titled Who Are You? — follows Midvale high school student Kara Danvers through the somber aftermath of the death of Jennifer Bard. ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King examines the latest 48-page installment in this coming-of-age adventure.

(Warning: Spoilers follow!)

Supergirl: Being Super #3 Review:

Kara Zor-El finally has figured out the facts about her true identity… but what do those details mean for the 16-year-old’s notion of who she is? Will learning the truth about her parents, her coach, her homeworld, and herself provide her a sense of purpose or leave her even more confused about her future and her place in the universe?

Supergirl: Being Super #3 Synopsis:

Kara awakens to the realization that her dreams are really memories of her departure from the doomed planet Krypton. As Kara attempts to make sense of these recollections and discern their significance, Dolly Granger confides to her alien friend that she knows about her metahuman abilities and accepts them. Kara brushes this aside, recalling how her adoptive mother’s parents were frightened away by her powers.

The troubled teen returns home to find her coach has come by to pay her parents a visit, professing concern over the fact that the Danverses’ daughter skipped gym class. Strange revelations soon raise questions, though: Dolly discovers a LexCorp battery inside her wristband tracker, then Kara responds to a call for help and locates a hidden lair in which her supposed coach is conducting experiments on a captured humanoid alien. She rescues the kidnapped Kryptonian, Tan-On, and agrees to run away with him. While Kara briefly returns home to pack her belongings, however, a hapless human happens upon the waiting Tan-On, who slays the innocent interloper as the first step in his planned revenge upon the people of Earth.

Story continues below

Supergirl: Being Super #3 Analysis:

Tamaki has earned a Caldecott Honor, a Printz Honor, and an Eisner Award for her writing, and Who Are You? elegantly embodies the reasons why. The lead character’s earnest internal monologue has a raw real feel as Kara’s thoughts lurch about in uncertain staccato bursts that encapsulate the incoherence of her experience and the insecurity of her literal alienation. The dialogue of Supergirl: Being Super #3 similarly sparkles, from Kara’s rambling adoptive mother to her taciturn foster father, and from the aimless ambivalence of her teenaged coevals to the precise perceptiveness of her fellow Kryptonian. Even the jarring argot of text messaging is given meaningful heft by the exquisite care with which the author chooses and uses words.

Jones’s artwork, beautifully burnished by Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors, perfectly complements Tamaki’s writing. Fitzpatrick’s sepia tones, splashes of sunbeam, big barns burning bright orange, moody nights with muted blues, and sinister science labs bathed in a sickly chartreuse glow give vivid life to Jones’s expressive imagery, piercing perspectives, and attention to detail. No bit of background minutiae is too insignificant to be given its due in Supergirl: Being Super #3, and the result is that a brief sequence depicting Kara staring distractedly at a syrup bottle during breakfast plays like high drama offering intimate insights into what makes the main character tick. Like Tamaki’s writing, Jones’s graphics manage at once to be both intricate and economical, showing snippets yet saying everything with seeming effortlessness.

This sublime unity of words and pictures is so effective that Tamaki, Jones, Fitzpatrick, and letterer Saida Temofonte are able even to illuminate through the use of shadow. A single-page scene early in Who Are You? shows Coach Stone ostensibly worried at Kara’s absence. An unnamed teen offering halfhearted commentary from the chorus stands with a soccer ball balanced against a cocked hip, monochromatically dominating the foreground of a panel that is focused on the purposeful strides of the departing coach. Later, Kara is depicted adopting a similar posture as her darkened outline stealthily descends the staircase to save Tan-On from the deceptive vivisectionist for whom being a gym teacher was but a cover. The exactitude of such aspects of Supergirl: Being Super #3 is unmatched.

The overall aesthetic of Who Are You? is one of earthy authenticity. Rumpled clothes, disheveled hair, and living spaces cluttered with the messy detritus of life abound throughout. Kara’s supposedly simple surroundings present a jumbled muddle of convoluted order and unkempt chaos, mirroring the roiling turmoil and bewildered isolation with which the Kryptonian teen struggles. When she hears the distant whispered cry of “Save me” in the night, though, everything neatly narrows: Kara gathers her hair in a ponytail, zips up her hooded jacket, and flies, gracefully traversing a rolling indistinct landscape of blurred greens and blues, her gaze certain and resolute, her face determined and untroubled, her purpose clear and true. Granted, greater anguish and indecision await… yet, in that lone moment, alone in the air, Kara exemplifies a pure and uncomplicated heroism; in the sole instant in which she ceases thinking about who she is, she becomes who she was meant to be without even knowing so, and that single simple understated page simultaneously answers this issue’s titular inquiry and justifies the subtitle of this spectacular series.

Let us know what you thought of Supergirl: Being Super #3! ComiConverse with us in the comments below!

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

Supergirl: Being Super #3

  • 5

Extraordinary

A stark and straightforward honesty pervades both the writing and the artwork in the most recent issue of this exceptional exploration of an adolescent alien's arrival at adulthood.

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