Review: Power Girl #4
[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
Omen saves the day as Power Girl fights Superman while she’s under the control of her Symbioship. Paige just can’t catch a break from Leah Williams.
Williams has some good ideas in Power Girl #4, they just don’t play out well. I mean if you’re a Power Girl fan, you’d expect her to be the hero…but, not under Leah Williams. That said, it’s nice to see Superman acknowledge Power Girl’s intelligence and problem solving skills as he admits he was wrong about the “virus” and PG was right. Additionally, the whole idea of the Symbioship trying to control Power Girl is interesting, and a pretty intriguing concept that’s unique to her and her story. It’s hard to tell if this is supposed to be the end of this arc and the Symbioship is going to cause more trouble next issue or just somewhere down the line. Normally, this would not be a problem, but the idea of the Symbioship being the cause of Power Girl’s terrible characterization in this series needs to be concluded IMMEDIATELY if it is to in fact be revealed as such.
It would make PERFECT sense with how Williams has written Power Girl if the ship was making her dependent on others so she could be prepped to be dependent on the ship instead. That’s the story I feel is somewhere twisted up inside this take on Power Girl. It’s a great out for the poor characterization and bizarre set up of the supporting cast. It’s obvious…so…pfft.
While I’ve not mentioned it in previous Power Girl reviews because I’ve been distracted by the awful scripts, Power Girl #3 brought up some concerns with her physical depiction. For whatever reason, PG just isn’t drawn like PG. In this run, Pansica is drawing her slim, fairly flat chested and apparently quite young. By contrast, the covers by Gary Frank capture a more accurate Power Girl energy. She’s bulkier- in a good way- and musters the sneer and confident facial expressions which are iconic to her character. While they aren’t on every cover together, it’s apparent that Power Girl isn’t depicted that way on the inside either in the art or the script. The interiors just present a Supergirl with short hair and none of the defining characteristics that set the two apart visually.
The name Power Girl has always suggested aspects of the character’s personality- strength, confidence, COMPETENCE…and yet, this series has been hard pressed to demonstrate any of that. With last issue and Power Girl #4, we finally got a little competence from PG, yet it’s overrun when Omen has to save Power Girl. That’s right…Power Girl can’t even save herself in her own comic. It makes it seem like Omen’s sole existence is to be here to be the hero that Williams doesn’t want Power Girl to be. Williams has already seeded this run with examples of Power Girl’s incompetence, so it’s not THAT surprising, it just continues to be disappointing. It continues to demonstrate that Williams is completely lost when it comes to understanding anything of substance about Power Girl’s character. Maybe Williams should just rename her Pitiful Girl, that would fit the stories and characterization in her scripts.
There’s some internal logic that doesn’t make sense either that just elicits more head scratching. In previous issues, we’ve seen Power Girl depicted as new to Earth and what’s it’s like to live among humans. In Power Girl #4, the Symbioship recounts following her career on Earth…that right, her CAREER, referencing changes and the YEARS she and the ship have been on Earth. YEARS, the ship says it “grows old.” And yet, Power Girl doesn’t know what it means to live as a human? She’s just learning to “human” (see last issue). This is completely aside from understanding the character. This is a complete lack of understanding what the writer herself has already written about the character IN this series- just LAST ISSUE! Is editorial completely asleep? Drunk? Stoned? Does anyone actually care? Whoever greenlit this series should be fired.
If Leah Williams had an editor that was competent and given some direction, this storyline could be salvaged into something VERY apropos for Power Girl. As it stands it’s the equivalent of amateur hour. Pansica’s depiction of PG may be off, but the storytelling is solid and there’s a look to the book that is enjoyable. Of course it would be more enjoyable if one were illiterate. Can this just be cancelled and relaunched with a competent writer and editor who actually know and care about the character? It’s disgusting, you wouldn’t see this happen with Batman or Superman…er um, yeah, that did happen with Superman- BENDIS! I guess it’s the curse of being related to the Man of Steel. I’m going to try not to vomit.