Review: Power Girl #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Leah Williams
Art: David Baldeon
Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters: Becca Carey
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Streaky the Super-Cat gets a mission of his own! Streaky must save some missing pets in the neighborhood.
A super-pet focused story can be a fun change of pace for a title. This reviewer fondly recalls the Krytpo centered issue, Superman #712 by Kurt Busiek a few years back. Power Girl #5 isn’t quite a moving issue like that, but more a fun diversion. As far as that goes, Power Girl #5 is a decent issue. The art fits the story, and isn’t over the top or overly cutesy. Baldeon does a good job of communicating through the animal faces, especially Streaky. There are no thought balloons for streaky so the art has to do all the heavy lifting. The streaky part of the story which takes up most of the issue isn’t bad. It’s not perfect as we’ll see below, but the issue would’ve been more satisfying if the final pages hadn’t tried to set up what comes next.
The one thing that stands out immediately in the Streaky sequences is the use of gobbledy-gook for human language as heard by Streaky. Instead of jumbled letters that don’t make sounds, or blah’s or hashes like Woodstock in Peanuts, Williams has nonsense words that can be pronounced. This is distracting because it makes it appear that if read they will reveal words that are just a little off. A quick try showed that there was nothing there. It would’ve been more effective to just make it obvious instead of wasting the readers time to to try to get something out of nothing.
One of the problems with using Streaky is that there have been multiple incarnations of Streaky over the years. This Streaky has powers, a cape and the lighting streak down his side. A quick recap of Streaky’s history would’ve added more to this story. Williams probably doesn’t know anything more than what’s on the Wikipedia page for Streaky, so it’s not surprising. That’s been her approach to Power Girl, so one shouldn’t expect something more to connect the reader with more context.
The Power Girl/ Omen/ Supergirl bit at the end sets up the next storyline for Power Girl, but it also brings down the overall enjoyment of Power Girl #5. It would’ve been easy to simply keep the issue about Streaky and give readers a true break from this iteration of Power Girl. Unfortunately, this section just serves as a reminder how bad this series is and how poorly it’s been conceived from the outset. Williams lack of understanding of Power Girl is exacerbated as she seems to have flipped the experience levels between PG and Supergirl. It utterly fails at being a Power Girl comic in making PG the less experienced, less confident, less independent character. This all comes through in the exchange when Supergirl comes to ask PG to team up. Ugh.
It’s hard to tell if Williams attempt to give PG friends and a little mini super-team of her Supergirl and Omen is laudable or misguided. It’s reminiscent of Batgirls which was a wonderful series, but not getting the character’s personalities corrent dooms what she’s trying to do. A Supergirls team up book was pitched a long time ago by Peter David, called Blonde Justice which would’ve featured the Linda Davnvers Supergirl becoming Superwoman, the Silver Age Kara Zor-El Supergirl and Power Girl. There’s just barely the suggestion of the idea here in Power Girl. That Peter David idea genuinely sounds like fun. Power Girl would’ve been characterized correctly and the differences in personalities would’ve worked. Williams writes PG too much like a young Supergirl should be and there’s no genuine friction. It’s all about the ridiculous imposter syndrome which has never been part of Power Girl’s character so it not only feels misplaced, but FORCED, leaving Power Girl to not even feel like Power Girl.
If you just read the Streaky section of Power Girl #5, the issue is a decently fun diversion. There’s noting remarkable about it, but it’s not terrible. It’s an innocuous little tale to put a couple smiles on your face. Overall, the issue suffers from the ending…realizing there’s no escape from this version of Power Girl. This series is not for fans of Power Girl, that’s obvious. It’s not quite clear who it’s for. Maybe there’s an audience for it…I’d love to know if it has found an audience that likes this Power Girl.