Supergirl #23 // Review
A tenacious heroine continues to tumble through the bewildering complexities of intergalactic justice as a Kryptonian deals with phantoms from the distant past in Supergirl #23. Marc Andreyko continues into part three of “The Killers of Krypton” story with artist Kevin Maguire. Color is rendered by FCO Plascencia and Chris Sotomayor.
Deep in the sentient Green Lantern planet Mogo, Supergirl confronts the hologram of a long-deceased Guardian of the Universe who has been wracked with guilt over his role in the destruction of the planet Krypton. Unable to deliver the full story, the hologram hands Supergirl a crystal and sends her off on a quest to retrieve the rest of the crystals he’s hidden all over the galaxy. Evidently, it is only when she has collected them all will she discover the full truth about the tragedy of her home planet. Before she has a chance to do so, however, she will have to escape an army of angry Green Lanterns who have understandably gotten the wrong idea about her breaking into their library to steal classified information. If Supergirl is to embark on her quest, she must escape the planet with the aid of her powers, her dog and strange aid from the planet Mogo itself.
The story continues to flash through the drama of and dramatic adventure with brisk pacing that allows just the right amount of space between the panels for intrigue to continue to develop. This is actually kind of a huge accomplishment. The DC Universe is a very, very big place; all too often, a writer will carelessly rush through the seemingly-infinite funhouse of a universe that’s been around for the better part of a century without giving the story enough weight to establish any substance beyond the background. Andreyko plays with the wonder of a space opera with careful attention to the characterization that makes it all so interesting. He’s focusing on the story in the foreground without getting lost in decades of backstory. It’s there if you’re looking for it, but Andreyko lets the moment live on the page. Once again, he’s doing so with the aid of an art team with a beautiful grasp of his storytelling style.
As with previous chapters in the story, Kevin Maguire gives the action of the story plenty of sweeping movements and powerful impact throughout the issue. Much of that action flows quite gracefully out of the drama between Supergirl and the hologram at the beginning of the issue. Maguire is handling the drama of that in a compelling way. It’s amazing how well he’s able to make even long conversation between two characters seem interesting. The entire first third of the issue has Supergirl floating around in white light talking to a hologram. The intensity of that conversation is more compelling than most action scenes come across in contemporary comics. Maguire is just that good. And there IS action. Lots of it. She’s trying to escape from an army of Green Lanterns, so it’s going to be pretty explosive visually. Maguire handles the action quite well, but again--it’s the drama that really makes his art some of the best in mainstream comics today. So much of the drama is captured in a subtle range of emotions drawn across Supergirl’s face. It’s brilliantly expressive stuff. Though the bulk of the drama is present in head-and-shoulder close-ups on Supergirl, Maguire also tackles the challenge of rendering an array of different moods into the face of her super dog, Krypto. FCO Plascencia and Chris Sotomayor do impressive things with the color this issue. There’s a sumptuous range of greens and blacks on and in Mogo that contrast well with the range of reds bordered by black in Supergirl’s costume.
The story Andreyko and Maguire are delivering here has great potential. With Supergirl now on a quest across the universe, she could be on a journey all over the place. This could be a really refreshing tour through the cosmic end of the DC Universe that might touch on everything from the most popular stuff to the most obscure, as well as a very emotionally engaging journey into the alien end of the universe with Maguire’s art.