Supergirl: Rebirth #1
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy and Michael Atiyeh
Lettering by Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics
Review by Richard Gray
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
“It’s Supergirl’s last hope…for a second chance,” remarks D.E.O. Agent Eliza Danvers, Kara Zor-El’s handler and foster mother on Earth. Yet if we’re being honest, an interrogation of Supergirl’s history is filled with second chances, reboots, and new continuities. It’s difficult to pick a definitive version outside of the extended media, which is perhaps what makes CW’s Supergirl series so successful — it captures the spirit of what the public remembers of the character. This new Supergirl: Rebirth issue takes a similar approach, capturing something that is both wholly familiar while giving itself a hatch to carve out an entirely new identity.
Steve Orlando takes his “Rebirth” duties quite literally in this debut issue, shooting Kara into the sun to restore her hitherto-lost powers. Mixed in with a prelude story of one of the criminals Kara’s father Zor-El quarantined to the Phantom Zone, Orlando wastes no time in bringing the action to bear with the latest in a series of lupine attackers that are wandering around the DCU. It’s actually a clever way of not only demonstrating Supergirl’s abilities to the uninitiated, but to give readers a flavor to this super-procedural formula as the D.E.O deal with the aftermath.
Putting the action up front also affords Orlando the chance to save much of the exposition until the final act of the issue. Indeed, the major drama is done with a good half-dozen pages to spare, time Orlando spends weaving some of the threads of Kara’s adoptive parents/handlers together, establishing her as a helper to the extraterrestrial cops in the D.E.O, and how her civilian life and Super-life will sit next to each other going forward. Orlando doesn’t delve too deeply into the character beneath the cape at this point, but we get enough of a sense of her moral upstandingness to recognize the trust they are placing in her in a world that just lost its main Superman.
The art team of Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy and Michael Atiyeh rarely get to sit still in this book, with even the opening Kryptonian-themed page a swirl of Atiyeh’s colors. The art works best when it is in rocket-speed motion, either hurtling towards the sun, or as Supergirl speeds out of it. Here we see her in full regalia for the first time in the issue, and it’s a no-messing-around classic version of the costume, albeit with a stylized “S” that’s more jagged in nature.
?By the end of this “Rebirth” introduction, Kara is given a new civilian identity and a setup that will certainly allow casual viewers of the TV show an easy point of egress into comics. It’s all a little rushed towards the end, but the goal appears to be to rapidly get new and old readers up to speed with the status quo. Yet it is not merely “CW’s Supergirl: The Comic,” as this already exists under a different name. Instead, this is something that captures the spirit of that show and the legacy that preceded it, which is about the best you can ask from a the first issue of a character that has had numerous firsts over the last six decades.