Review: Power Girl #8
[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




Power Girl and Omen get drawn into the Brainiac/ Czarnian affair currently taking place in Action Comics.  Why isn’t Power Girl taken with the rest of the super-beings in Metropolis?


With Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira returning to the art chores on Power Girl #8 after the past two issues by Marguerite Sauvage, it’s clear that the Pansica/ Ferreira team (and Farjardo Jr.’s colors!) are a pretty darn good combination for Power Girl.  They handle the action well and give Power Girl a much more recognizable personality visually.  She gets that angry face that one expects. (And, they even do a good job communicating the emotions that are out of character for her!)  They draw her more confident than she’s written at times, and even manage to get a bit of attitude across as well.  Overall, their stuff looks good and despite the poor characterization of the lead character, the art invites the reader to like the book.  They are doing their damnedest to combat what Williams is doing with the character in the script.  It makes one wish the concept wasn’t so poorly conceived and executed from a writing standpoint.

There’s even a single moment, maybe three panels where Power Girl seems to almost be at odds with what’s going on with her characterization, the look on her face, something in her eye and the emotions passing beneath the surface may in fact betray something  larger at play…that somehow…the real Power Girl will emerge.  Perhaps, Williams is playing some long game (and playing it poorly) and Power Girl IS being directed…controlled…it appears it’s possible in the sequence on the bottom of page 9.  In the middle of that page, PG expresses that attitude…not of the co-dependent, insecure character Williams writes earlier in the same issue, but the attitude longtime fans EXPECT from the character, the attitude that talked back to the stalwarts of the JSA in her earliest appearances in order to be taken seriously.  It’s noticeable that when Power Girl is in combat or in action mode in this issue, she is more recognizable and enjoyable because of it.  Even if it’s just a glimpse it gives hope as does the fact that there’s another aspect that could be interpreted as a clue Power Girl is being manipulated.

The fact that we also get a “Psychic Jerk Jar” revealed in the apartment that PG shares with Omen leads credence to the idea someone may be controlling her…and it may be Omen, who’s been right under the readers’ nose from the very beginning of this new (and wretched) iteration of Power Girl.  Strangely, this version of Power Girl is beginning to feel more familiar as this off brand characterization is what’s expected and feels familiar.  


It’s very difficult to read a Power Girl who is insecure, lacks confidence in her abilities and is generally shy and dependent.  Williams gives us that as we learn she can’t roller skate…(when she loses balance wouldn’t she just levitate herself unconsciously since she can fly?).  She’s afraid to run into Lois who also happens to be at the park where she and Omen are skating because she has a column due.  


The dynamic between Power Girl and Superman in Power Girl #8 is still awkward…both in story and through Williams characterization of Power Girl.  Williams subtly shows us that PG’s feeling are hurt because SHE wasn’t also abducted with the rest of the super-beings of Metropolis.  She seems to need Superman’s reassurance when he finds her…(um…why wasn’t he abducted?)  And, it will never makes sense that she’s identifying with the main Earth’s Superman as family….  It’s these moments that take away from the positive steps noted above. 

It would be easier to take Power Girl’s struggles to make it in this version if she were attempting to do things on her own and for herself, but wedging her into the Super-family eliminates any sense of individuality which has been a hallmark of her character from her inception.  Williams has yet to show WHY Power Girl feels she needs to fit in with the Super-family, WHY she isn’t getting what she needs from her friends (AND surrogate family!) in the JSA, WHY she’s unable to make her way on her own.  There’s a story missing that needs to be told in order to make sense of all these “why’s.”



The real question that must be answered with Power Girl #8 is whether or not this version of Power Girl can be enjoyed on its own terms or even in spite of itself.  Lord knows I WANT to like a Power Girl solo series.  Williams has stated that she wanted to show the differences between Power Girl and Supergirl… and she’s doing that.  She may not understand either character in terms of established histories and characterizations, but she IS making them different.  Can Paige Stetler be enjoyed as a bit of a mess trying to navigate her way through a world Williams assures us she doesn’t understand whilst consumed with feelings of insecurity and redundancy?  I don’t know that a reader who has a history with Power Girl, a reader who understands the substance of her character and identifies with/ enjoys her established characterization can make the leap…it’s too … different.  The art from Pansica and Ferreira want to make you like it.  It’s effective in that way, but unless an audience embraces this iteration it feels hopelessly at odds with what people have always liked about Power Girl, and this issue gives the reader very little of that.  As a Power Girl fan for nearly the entirety of her existence, this issue continues to disappoint.  The art is able to raise this issue a bit, surprisingly.

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