Writer: Steve Orlando / Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino / DC Comics
A few months after Supergirl crash landed on Earth she finds herself dependent on the Department of Extra-Normal Operations to get her powers back. It’s a curious predicament: this powerful alien being de-powered is practically a gift for an organization that monitors extra-terrestrials and protects the planet. The predicament comes with a decision to either accept the de-powered alien and call it a win, or take the gamble that a person from another planet can be trusted. Of course, it’s more than mere trust – for the gamble to have payoff, Director Cameron Chase would need Supergirl as an ally, a weapon against those aliens who are actually dangerous after Superman is no longer in the picture. And that’s the gamble she makes in DC’s rebirth of Supergirl, but not without highlighting the theme of our title so far that this new relationship comes with expectations, oversight, and that Director Chase fully intends to maintain control.
Kara’s origin story here balances two types of responses you would expect towards Supergirl: the D.E.O.’s skepticism of Supergirl being a solution for Earth’s problems instead of becoming a dangerous problem herself, and the warm acceptance of her adoptive parents, her “handlers,” who want to be more the former than the latter. One response comes with distrust and cynicism meant to manage Kara and the other comes from the role of teachers who want to grow her towards the human experience. Nothing groundbreaking here, it’s standard fare, but executed well enough here to be entertained by Chase’s edgy dialogue and Eliza’s thoughtful charm. And Jeremiah, Kara’s surrogate dad – well, he fades into the background so you barely know he’s there. If he spoke it’d probably startle the people in the room who forgot he was there.
Emanuela Lupacchino’s artwork has no shortage of badass poses and dramatic effects that make Rebirth #1 a fun read, despite it being a little overdone in some panels, even for Supergirl. No need to thrust your hips to the side looking at an incapacitated body in a lab or bold-superhero-pose in an office building having a conversation. Still, the action is absolutely fun and the panel layouts are both entertaining and easy to follow.
Overall, a solid start to what looks to be a solid series. A Kara Danvers origin story sets expectations moderately low to be honest, so the opportunity is there to surprise us with something more than dorky-girl-learns-to-be-human and new-hero-learns-to-hero. Here’s to cautious expectations, but hey, if anyone can do it…