Kara battles cosmic beings, Cyborg Superman, and her very nightmares in Supergirl #23.
Cyborg Superman continues his onslaught on Kara’s emotions. Instead of playing the same cards as before and using Kara’s parents as a means to trick her, Cyborg Superman uses everyone else from her past.
Supergirl is faced with every horror, every decision, and every result that has haunted her from the start of the New 52. As her character has grown with leaps and bounds throughout the run, she stops playing the sad and trembling girl in favor of the Kryptonian warrior. These actions take a lot out of the I’Noxian’s technology and summon Cyborg Superman’s creator in the process.
Michael Alan Nelson has had a very strong record with the Supergirl series, using twists, character development as well as evil archetypes that pushed Kara beyond her comfort zone. He continues to use these techniques in this issue and delivers for the most part. Cyborg Superman still holds the spotlight in this issue and remains an eminent threat to the universe in the future.
Diogenes Neves and Marc Deering continue to draw Cyborg Superman in a haunting way. Although the past few issues missed the mark on Supergirl’s appearance, this issue makes up for it. Kara seems poised to take back freedom and stand firm as a protector of the galaxy. The artwork handled her emotions very well and embraced the idea of uncertainty, rage, and sorrow that runs through Supergirl’s mind.
The artwork should also be recognized for the versatility and the complexity of drawing multiple villains and heroes throughout not only the Supergirl series, but the New 52 as a whole. Bringing back characters from the first Supergirl arc as well as the last makes the issue feel grounded and in tune with its past. This displays a profound respect for all of the Supergirl subject matter and the history of Kara Zor-El
Though the arc started off very well, and with a great deal of promise, this issue had a number of questionable twists. Kara has recovered her kryptonite poisoning symptoms, Cyborg Superman completes his upload, and the ‘creator’ has arrived. There is too much happening in such a short amount of time that the comic exudes a rushed and overly busy experience. The arc would have been stronger if these twists were spaced out, and more importantly, developed with a wider sense of attention. One in particular is so bizarre that the reader may end up feeling more lost and confused than Kara herself.
The inclusion of Villains month may hamper the story even further as Cyborg Superman is included. It may give us some insight on his past and how he came to be, but if a particularly questionable twist proves true, it could set the Supergirl series back and hurt the franchise as a whole.
Unfortunately Supergirl #23 doesn’t live up to the hype it was able to generate through the past few issues. The scenes of Kara fighting off her demons were very well done, but the end was rushed and convoluted. However, the artwork has improved in nearly every aspect of its predecessor.