Review: Power Girl Uncovered #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brittany Holzherr
Art: Meghan Hetrick (narrative sequence) and Various
Letters: Darran Robinson
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
So, there are some unauthorized photos of Power Girl going around, and she feels the need to address it. This is the “story” in which we get various reprinted covers of Power Girl from various series from her entire history.
Power Girl may in fact be the most obvious choice for an issue reprinting covers. In a sense, Power Girl Uncovered #1 is like a “pin-up” book, but it can also evoke memories and feelings depending on the readers history with Power Girl. If one can take the covers completely out of context it can be enjoyable, as well. Some of the images are more iconic for the character, and those are the best.
Despite the cover showing Power Girl in her disappointing current costume, Pablo Villalobos captures the attitude so long associated with the character. This attitude is not present in the wretched series currently being published but as a Power Girl image, it’s quite wonderful. The variant covers are also good. It’s a shame they aren’t included in the book itself.
The first cover that really stands out is the first cover…Otto Schmidt’s variant for the recent Power Girl #1. This cover depicts PG in (nearly?) all her costumes, including some that haven’t been seen since the ’90’s. It would make a cool poster. It’s a chance for the reader to compare and contrast her different looks. The cover of Showcase #97, Power Girl’s first solo story ever is up next. It’s great to see DC reach so far back, though it does server as a reminder how distance the current series is from the substance of the character.
The next few covers remind the reader of Power Girl’s long history in the DC Universe, something the monthly book can’t adequately account for. There’s a Justice League Europe cover, a JSA cover as well as one from Infinite Crisis that recapitulates Power Girl’s origins on the original Earth-Two.
Some of the strongest covers come from Amanda Conner who is strongly associated with the character. Conner has two covers included. Many of the covers feature PG in her classic costume or at least a version of it. These are the most iconic and really work for the idea of a “pin-up” book. They tend to capture the attitude and personality readers have loved about the character that is sorely missing in the current series.
There are some covers that feature Power Girl in her current costume. The one’s that stand out are those than depict the confident, capable and brash woman underneath. Jeff Spokes, Ariel Diaz, the Dodson’s, Dani, Fran Cho, Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, Ryan Sook, and Warren Louw all accomplish this. Adam Hughes and Alex Ross have perhaps the two most iconic images selected for inclusion.
There’s a brief narrative sequence that runs through Power Girl Uncovered #1 that is most unwelcome. It fits perfectly with the characterization of Power Girl in the current series and it is a reminder of how bad it is. This includes and appearance by the purposeless Omen. It’s written by the series’ editor, Brittany Holzherr. This adds nothing to the presentation of the covers, and if anything it detracts. It’s just a reminder of how poorly Power Girl is being depicted, currently. It’s even harder to take here when there are so many great images of the character that reinforce the feeling that the current iteration is someone else entirely. Holzherr tries to start things out with the classic “eyes up here and not on the boob widow” joke, but it’s not nearly enough as the rest of the dialogue is difficult to consume as Holzherr demonstrates she has just as poor a grasp on the character as regular series writer, Leah Williams.
Some of the images that don’t work are the ones that are overly stylized or simply in a style that is incongruent with the character. Covers by Leirix, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Babs Tarr and Saowee fail to capture the inner substance of the character. Ironically, they fit much better with the current take on Power Girl. If this is notable for any reason, it confirms that when the substance of the character is captured, the current costume looks better. Meghan Hetrick doesn’t do PG any favors on the narrative bits.
It’s unfortunate that Gary Frank, the cover artist on the current series is only represented with the nearly throwaway cover to issue #5 when his cover to issue #2 would’ve been more representative of the character, despite the cover to #5 being more representative of the current series.
It may seem like it would be difficult for DC to screw up what is essentially a pin-up book for Power Girl, unfortunately DC manages to do just that with Editor Brittany Holzherr spearheading the effort. It all boils down to this current incarnation being so terrible. Even with a book that could’ve just been the covers with some innocuous narration, we have to be reminded of all the missteps that’ve been made by Leah Williams and overseen by Brittany Holzherr. If you don’t read the pages with “story,” Power Girl Uncovered #1 is actually a better experience.