Supergirl: Being Super #2
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Joelle Jones and Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettering by Saida Temofonte
Published by DC Comics
‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10
Supergirl: Being Super #2 delves into Kara’s raw emotions as she loses a close friend, and just like the first issue, this installment beautifully establishes Kara’s human emotions as she discovers the hidden depths of her alien body, allowing this to be the perfect analogy of teenage life in this “super” coming-of-age story.
Capping off with a harrowing sequence featuring a deadly earthquake, Mariko Tamaki uses this issue of Supergirl: Being Super to explore the complicated human emotions of losing a friend. Wrestling with shock, Kara doesn’t know how to express her feelings, both to the people around her and to herself. The issue is paced perfectly as Kara keeps her emotions bottled up for most of the story until she starts listening to her late friend’s bad taste in music on her afternoon run. This small memory of her friend makes those bottled emotions explode. This is one example of how the whole issue does a great job at showing the very real process of mourning someone close to you.
As Tamaki follows Kara’s internal struggle, she doesn’t forget to explore Kara’s relationships with her friends and family during this hard time in her life. Tamaki continues to do a tremendous job at making Supergirl: Being Super feel like a real modern teenage narrative. For example, as Kara and her other best friend, Dolly, talk to each other about losing their friend, the two have only a few “in-person” conversations about their friend’s passing. The rest of their conversations are through text message, and because Dolly and Kara don’t know how to process their emotions they realize they are unintentionally avoiding each other. Tamaki uses these two modes of communication to allow Dolly and Kara to fully understand their friendship after it’s been severely changed.
Kara also has a very interesting dynamic with her parents in this issue. Kara’s mother is more open to discussing Kara’s feelings, telling her that bad and good things happen for a reason. Meanwhile, Kara’s father can only muster “I’m sorry about your friend” as they work in the barn together. Kara’s parents’ differing approaches on this subject is a similar approach they both take talking about Kara’s abilities. After seeing Kara’s destroyed running shoes, her mother is open to talking about Kara’s abilities a bit more directly. Meanwhile, Kara’s father stopped talking about her abilities years ago, even though she wants to talk to him desperately about her powers’ new changes.
Through Kara’s dialogue, Tamaki expresses the complicated emotions encountered during mourning, and Joelle Jones on pencils is the perfect collaborator to physically show these emotions. For example, when Kara realizes that she has lost her friend, Jones uses a splash page with heavy inks to portray this devastating loss - showcasing the physical and emotional chaos of the situation. As the issue continues, Jones expresses Kara’s emotions through body language, including a subtle scene which Kara wrapped around her blanket as she slouches further into her chair while watching the news report on the devastating earthquake.
Supergirl: Being Super tells an emotionally human and raw story about a teenage girl grappling with loss as she slowly discovers she’s an alien. She’s an alien to her body, her emotions, and to the only world she knows. This second issue delves into how Kara and the people around her react to loss. Some people bottle their feelings, others eat their emotions away, and in Kara’s case loss has unlocked memories hidden from her - connecting to an even larger mystery.