[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artists: Brian Ching & Michael Atiyeh
While a de-powered Supergirl and Batgirl desperately try to escape the unforgiving Phantom Zone, they come across a potential ally that needs their help. Meanwhile, a new threat forms to take on our Girl of Steel in part 2 of Escape from the Phantom Zone.
Being in the Phantom Zone isn’t all its cracked up to be, and definitely don’t listen to those travel brochures that tell you it’s the next big thing. Orlando gives us a pretty good description in the first few pages of what the zone is like, and Ching’s imagery really re-enforces that feeling. We also get to meet Xa-Du, who’s a sort of “Kingpin” of the zone. Cheesy dialogue aside, he’s actually pretty impressive with what he’s trying to accomplish. I’d buy that he’s a villain.
The idea of PSI coming to the zone to “be fixed” is pretty plausible as well, and even though I didn’t read Batgirl Annual #1, where Supergirl and Batgirl rescue PSI, I appreciated that Orlando writes it in a way that I didn’t have to. I wasn’t lost in this issue because I didn’t read it.
As mentioned in the summary, Supergirl had no powers in the zone, so it was pretty much up to Batgirl to save the day. Although I love both characters, and enjoyed their chemistry together, this issue clearly defined the differences between both characters. Batgirl was the idea person and orchestrated their escape, while Supergirl, as always, was a symbol for compassion, and relentless with trying to save PSI. That’s what makes their teamwork and the characters so much fun to read about.
I really enjoyed Ben’s character as well. I never really thought much of him in the other issues, but his reasoning to become a hero in this issue was pretty admirable, not to mention jumping a guard twice his size was pretty bad ass.
Although Ching’s artwork was good at times, I still can’t wrap my head around the majority of it. Most of the faces looked boxed or triangle formed, which distract from the story a bit.
I mentioned this before in other issues, and the same stands true again. Orlando doesn’t seem to have good flow to his dialogue. It makes reading his issues even longer as I need to re-read pages to make sure I got it all.
Very fun issue to read, and the introduction to a pretty interesting villain in Xa-Du. Batgirl and Supergirl are great together in this issue, and I can’t wait to see how the Maiden of Might gets out of this one!