After the New 52 began, Supergirl received, arguably, the biggest reboot of its franchise. Not only was she re-imagined into the DC Universe, but she was also reborn.
The first arc of Supergirl began in a rather tragic fashion. Supergirl crash landed on Earth much like her cousin, Clark. However, her arrival did not come as planned. She was held in stasis for years before being set free on Earth. As a result, she stayed the same age that she was when Krypton was destroyed, making her appear younger than Kal, who was a baby when she left. The arc focused heavily on how she needed to accept and cope with the loss of Krypton.
To say Kara had it hard is a gracious understatement. She arrived on the planet only able to speak Kryptonian, everyone she knew and loved had died, and she had awoken to superpowers that were beyond her control. Writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson wrote a truly heart wrenching recreation of Kara Zor-El. The twists and turns were vicious, the fights were fantastic, and the development of the character was one of the most well handled experiences in modern day comic books.
Following the release of Supergirl #0 Michael Green left the book, leaving Mike Johnson to continue their story. Mike wrote with grace and an incredible consideration to detail that tapped into the mind of Kara before and after she left Krypton. Johnson’s solo arc also encompassed the H’el on Earth event that toyed with Kara’s emotions with a promise of a return to Krypton. It became not only the strongest point of the event, but the strongest point of the Supergirl series as a whole. Michael Alan Nelson takes over the writing duties as of Supergirl #20, and it seems that he is off to a good start.
The artwork has been consistent from the start of the New 52. Mahmud Asrar has been the leading artist on the book for its entire run. He draws very attractive characters, and even better fight sequences. There wasn’t a point in the story where you felt that Supergirl was underpowered, and it was all because of the way the art was displayed. Asrar draws Supergirl so well that his work will become a staple for future artists, but hopefully not too soon.
Though the series has an incredible list of accomplishments, it also has its missteps. There were times where certain problems revolving around Kara’s Kryptonian language felt forced. Yes, she was thrusted into a planet where no one (aside from Clark) spoke her language, but finding the only other person in Metropolis with the ability to learn languages instantaneously was a stretch.
The other glaring language-related plot device that rears its ugly head is when Kara miraculously learns English. H’el gave her this ability as a gift in order to woo her, but it would have been nice to see her struggle as she became familiar with the new dialect. Instead we’re given an immediate, “Thanks, I speak and understand English perfectly,” moment that feels cheap and hollow. It was an odd thing to see, because the story of Supergirl has been one of rich emotions and stunning sequences. We were robbed of a potentially strong theme in the story where we could’ve seen Kara grow into more of a human being, as opposed to the Daughter of Krypton who punches real hard. There is definitely room for growth in her character, but this was the only moment where the audience should feel robbed as she has developed in milestones throughout the series.
Despite the irritating plot devices that arise in the story. Supergirl began solid and continues to grow and expand as the run continues. If you have not given Supergirl a chance, you are depriving yourself of an incredible story.