Supergirl #39 is written by Jody Houser, with Rachael Stott as the series artist, Cris Peter as the colorist, and Tom Napolitano as the letterer. The third chapter of ‘I’m Not The Bad Guy’ finds Supergirl still under the control of the Dark Metal infection she caught from the Batman Who Laughs. Wonder Woman remains on the scene vainly trying to talk, or punch, some sense into her comrade. But outside forces have become aware of events in Smallville, and they are about to take drastic measures to thwart Supergirl’s scheme from the last issue to infect Smallville, and the globe, with Dark Metal.
Supergirl’s online declaration to the world that she will deliver it from destruction has been scrubbed from the internet by the American military. Their goal is to stop the public from panicking over a Superman-level threat in the nation’s heartland. But that’s merely step one. This dark Supergirl must be eliminated. Good thing for them they have a stockpile of Lex Luthor’s technological devices for attacking the Man of Steel at their disposal. The safety of Smallville, and the presence of Wonder Woman and Krypto, does not seem to factor into their strategy.
Meanwhile, Supergirl is more than Wonder Woman and Krypto can handle. With her power level mired in Dark Metal, she is deftly able to force Wonder Woman’s hand. Empathy and dialogue become moot. Wonder Woman is forced back into combat against an ally. And then, the Lexbots arrive. Supergirl #39 moves at a fast clip. Aside from the dialogue in Washington D.C. among the military, this issue is a battle for control. It isn’t a simple case of whether Kara Zor-El can regain control as Supergirl over the Dark Metal in her body. This is a fight for control over Smallville, the future of the human race, and the salvation of Supergirl. The best part is none of this is explicitly stated. It’s there in the story without being screamed out to the reader.
Houser is writing a superb book. Supergirl’s struggle has always been there, having lost Krypton and her family, navigating the high morality of her cousin, Superman, as well as having her anger issues. It’s a treat to see that those morals allowed for more complex assimilation by the Dark Metal than just an immediate descent into villainy. Houser’s use of Wonder Woman as a foil is great not just for the battle. She is perfect as a voice of reason, fighting as a last resort, not out of hostility.
I still want to see more from Krypto. Considering he has a power level equal to Kara, the Dog of Steel could give her a much-needed eye-opener if he opted to do more than growl or whine. The addition of Luthor technology also brings another load of baggage to the story. One would think the military would have had its own contingency plans in place by now. Relying on gadgetry from a villain is troublesome at best. Lex Luthor is the premiere villain the government is aware of. Surely they should be aware his designs were made to kill Superman, not to mention service his personal goals.
This issue is rendered in a very kinetic style by Stott, Peter, and Napolitano. While some of the facial expressions tend to be highly elastic, the overall look is enjoyable and easy on the eyes, in that panels and motions flow smoothly. There are also some nifty combat moves within this issue. The heavy ink job on the military makes them appear to be more of a shadowy cabal of villains, which is fitting considering their actions. The panels of Supergirl showing her prowess to Wonder Woman at one point is explosive and dynamic. Colors in Supergirl #39 are lovely, especially the orange sunset backdrop throughout.
This is a fun, dramatic issue. There are increasing stakes and making Smallville the center of it all, especially after Superman revealed his secret identity to the world, in Superman #18 gives the story added weight.
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Supergirl #39 is a fun, dramatic issue. There are increasing stakes and making Smallville the center of it all gives the story added weight.
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.