The Adventures of Supergirl #1
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Bengal
Published by DC Comics
Review by Oscar Maltby
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
DC Comics expands Kara's small screen universe with The Adventures of Supergirl #1, the opening chapter of a digital-first series based on the well-received CBS show. Sterling Gates and Bengal offer up a fast-paced first chapter of blue skies and big smiles that successfully stuffs the spirit of the hour-long show into a slice of quality comic book.
Sterling Gates' script is punchy in the most direct sense of the word. This is an action-packed introductory issue that refreshes us with the most important beats of the show while pitting Kara against a larger-than-life villain, making the best of the unlimited visual budget of the medium.
Gates distills the essentials into DC's compact digital-first format, dedicating a mere two pages to Kara's journey from Krypton to National City. Hank Henshaw features as the omnipresent voice in Kara's ear, keeping her on a tight leash for the Department of Extranormal Operations. Although Hank's character took a decidedly extraterrestrial turn in the show late last year, his appearance here is purely human. The dynamic between the DEO and Kara is a welcome antidote to the traditional omnipotence of the Super-family, a reminder of Kara's relative inexperience whilst showing how conscious she is of the grave responsibility that comes with being so powerful.
Superman D-lister and late-'80s Starman regular Rampage is the villain of the issue, a musclebound orange brute. There's very little in the way of characterization for Rampage here, acting purely as a blunt object to bludgeon Supergirl. As a simple and immediate threat, though, it works, although hopefully future chapters will illuminate some of the backstory behind this new incarnation of an obscure charact
Artist Bengal illustrates Gates' script in a bold, cartoony style that matches the tone of the show without necessarily trying to ape its exact visual look. Supergirl's costume here lacks some of the finer detailing of its on-screen counterpart, but shares its design. Although Gates' script is entrenched firmly within the on-screen world of the Supergirl show, Bengal doesn't attempt to mimic the likenesses of its actors and actresses. Bengal's animated style brings life and energy to Gates' script. Kara's huge eyes burn with blue energy and sparkle with happiness, while Rampage's are hidden behind a squint of permanent rage.
Bengal colors his own work, dominating the page with thematically appropriate red, white and blue that highlights the book's already bright and energetic tone. Rampage blasts across the page as an explosion of bright orange, a fitting hue for such an immediate threat.
Like most of DC's digital-first series, The Adventures of Supergirl #1 is a well-executed microcosm of the property it's based on. With fun artwork and a fast-paced script, CBS' Supergirl has survived the jump to comic books intact, even if Bengal doesn't attempt to match the likenesses of the show's cast. For just a cent shy of a dollar, The Adventures of Supergirl #1 is a worthy lunch-break diversion.