Review: Power Girl #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Leah Williams
Art: Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira
Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters: Becca Carey
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
It’s Dr. Paige Stetler’s introduction as an employee of Steelworks. Things go awry as an alien thief crashes to steal some items from the event.
It’s great that DC has given Power Girl a new solo series, and there’s a pretty cool looking main cover by Gary Frank on Power Girl #1. The interior art by Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira is pretty darn good, too. The art style definitely fits better than Margueritte Sauvage’s which graced the recent Power Girl Special and the back ups in Action Comics at the beginning of the year. It’s more grounded, though Sauvage’s was appropriate for the mindscape sequences in those stories.
Before we get into the real problems with Power Girl #1, there’s nothing outstanding about the villain conflict in this issue. An alien thief story can go either way, depending on the characters and how the alien connects to the hero. That connection is tenuous at best as the Kryptonian connection is made despite Power Girl being from a different Krypton. It’s still not a bad thing, but it’s not really compelling. It just seems like a moment for her to announce that she’s not from the same Krypton as the rest of the Super-family. Her new ability to “astral-punch” is unnecessary, but it’s the character work in this comic that is indefensible.
The biggest problem with Power Girl #1 is the same problem that was in Power Girl Special #1- Leah Williams doesn’t understand the personality or history of the character. This makes her characterization of Power Girl wrong. Right behind it is the feeling that this is a separate Power Girl from the one appearing currently in Justice Society of America.
It’s not a surprise that Williams continues to pair Power Girl with Omen. That’s been the set up from the beginning of the backups in Action Comics. However, the need to pair her with such an unlikely character points to the lack of understanding of Power Girl’s history. Power Girl fans don’t care about Omen, and she’s certainly not PG’s bestie. Also, in this same vein is this subplot with the Super-family of the main Earth. Kara has never desired to be part of the Super-family of the main Earth or even felt any significant kinship with them so trying to force her into it makes zero sense. Power Girl is a JSA character. That is her family. Her memories of Earth-Two tie her to those characters, not the iterations that exist on the main earth be it Earth-One, Prime Earth or Earth-0. Furthermore, it conflicts directly with what we’ve seen Justice Society of America that is being published concurrently and features Power Girl in this new terrible costume. That series as well as The New Golden Age #1 have shown that Power Girl’s history with the JSA is intact. It’s been shown that those stories with Power Girl from the ’70’s, ’80’s and such happened and are part of her history. Those are her people, that’s her family.
The title box for Power Girl #1 gives a brief synopsis of her history in the broadest terms, but with a few details that don’t match. It appears that Williams?, DC?, both? are trying to merge the history of the pre-Flashpoint Power Girl with the New 52 Power Girl. It’s hard to tell if editorial is as confused and as ignorant as Williams or if editorial is just asleep. The title box gives her Kryptonian name as Kara Zor-L (original Earth-Two Kryptonian name), but gives her story as the New 52 Power Girl who worked with that Earth’s Superman and is then that Earth’s sole survivor. HER Kryptonian name was Kara ZOR-EL! This can’t be the original Earth-Two Power Girl, because Power Girl did NOT work a lot with Superman, she worked with the JSA and purposely distanced herself from Superman to be her own person an not rely on the fact that Superman was her cousin. Additionally, this synopsis doesn’t even reference her time with the JSA, it just tries to place her with the Prime Earth Super-family despite the fact that she’s appearing with the JSA in that title! This may seem redundant if you checked out the review of Power Girl Special #1 and accompanying editorial, but this erroneous characterization and historical inaccuracy of Kara’s character will hold this series back. Like Brian Michael Bendis’s atrocious Superman run, when you start on the wrong foot you can’t go forward effectively. If the premise is false, there’s no way to move forward.
Beyond that, Williams writes her as sort of mousy and unsure of herself at her introduction party. She’s done this sort of thing before…she was a software developer and head of her own company. Has Williams chosen to ignore that as well? Her reliance on Superman to help her flies in the face of the way she’s been portrayed for her entire existence until Williams began writing her. She’s supposed to be strong, resourceful, independent and brash. It’s disgusting. Way to completely alter what people like about Kara’s character! Even the New 52 version maintained her personality!
This new identity of Paige gets a surname…Stetler. No idea where that came from, but she’s still Karen Starr in the JSA book. It’s almost like there’s a fight going on with competing takes on the character. It makes no sense that DC would publish two separate characterizations of the same character. Get it together DC! Make sense of this! Get…rid of THIS!
If you’re a fan of Power Girl, I suggest you don’t buy this or read it, it’ll just make you upset. If you like this…then you must be new to the character. If you’re a fan of Power Girl, vote with your wallet, complain vociferously, let DC know you want the real Power Girl who has a nearly 50 year history. Let them know you don’t want Paige Stetler. DC let Jeremy Adams undo all the damage to Wally West that Tom King did to him in Heroes in Crisis, so it’s possible to get the real Power Girl back. Furthermore, DC also rolled back Superman’s identity reveal perpetrated by Bendis. There’s still more to fix from that run, but Jon Kent may be doomed to being an adult forever. The cover is nice and Pansica’s art is good, but this comic is not worth buying or reading. Go to Justice Society of America for your Power Girl and hope they get her back into classic duds, soon. Please DC, don’t let Leah Williams ruin this character anymore. I don’t even think this is Power Girl. Paige Stetler- wanted for identity theft.