08th Jun2018

‘Supergirl: Being Super’ Graphic Novel Review

by Phil Wheat

Written by Mariko Tamaki | Art by Joelle Jones | Format: Paperback, 208pp | Published by DC Comics

supergirl-be-super-cover

I’ll be honest as a comic reader I tend to stick to Marvel’s output. That’s not to say I’m not a DC fan, it’s more that my desire to read the companies output has waned over the years thanks to a myriad of reboots and restarts for a number of books I used to enjoy. Back during the Infinite Crisis/52 era I was an ardent DC Comics fan: I couldn’t get enough of  books like aforementioned titles, along with The Flash and Booster Gold but those books were, unfairly, swiftly cancelled to make way for Final Crisis and the eventual “The New 52″ reboot… Since then it would seem that DC and I have parted ways.

Until recently.

And that’s all thanks to TV, where DC and The CW network have done a LOT of good when it comes to generating interest in the DC universe in this Marvel “mark,”shows like Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow are now a mainstay of my TV watching. Less so is Supergirl, whose series I haven’t seen since season one… However I do like the character immensely (and ADORE the 80s iteration of the character in the Supergirl movie, as played by Helen Slater) and – thankfully – this latest Supergirl graphic novel, Supergirl: Being Super, is a fantastic jumping on point for readers new and lapsed alike.

Supergirl: Being Super takes Supergirl’s story back to a new beginning of sorts, telling a coming-of-age story of Kara Danvers as her “lives” as Kara AND Supergirl become impacted by a series of earth-shaking events in her hometown, Midvale, leaving her with with the choice of blending in with the crowd, or being different… Her journey to [eventually] being super, as per this books title.

The first thing that strikes you about this story is just how human it is. Yes it is a sueprhero origin story, with Kara’s arrival on Earth and discovery of who she is told in both flashbacks and dreams, but at the same time its the story of a teenage girl and her friends – reminding me very much of Buffy the Vampire Slayer which, like this book, walked a fine line between traditional teen drama and a heroes journey tale.And Mariko Tamaki gets both aspect of the script perfect. Literally perfect.

Tamaki’s script is accompanied by some superb artwork from Joelle Jones, whose character art brings this books diverse cast to life brilliantly; really bringing the highs and lows of teenage angst to life on the page. In this book Kara is put through the emotional ringer and Joelle Jones captures that as perfectly as Tamaki’s story – and it’s not only Kara who’s given a new lease of life in this book, her two best friends Dolly Granger and Jennifer Bard and fantastic additions to the Supergirl mythos and are as well-rounded and believeable as Supergirl herself, really bringing out the humanity of this tale and this superhero.

An ideal jumping on point for fans of Supergirl new and old, Supergirl: Being Super does the concept of “teen superhero” more justice than Smallville ever did on TV and I’m excited to see more of this Supergirl’s adventures in the future.

***** 5/5

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