The Honest Tease?

Imagine an ironic love machine. In private, I tease you. I mean all the off color things I say about you. And, depending upon the kind of person you are, you love every word, not because they are complimentary (often times they aren’t and when they are- completely double edged and ambiguous) but because I couldn’t have made these contentious remarks at all if I wasn’t completely and utterly fascinated by you. And ‘fascination,’ you might come to realize, is a far purer ante-cedent to affection than simple ‘approval’ or ‘agreement.’

Superman/Batman: Supergirl


I often think of SM/BM (lol) Vol. 2 as “the last time I enjoyed Jeph Loeb’s writing.” But it is more than that; it is perhaps the most bold, beautiful and triumphant move in DC’s campaign to return to Silver Age greatness. This is no gratuitous super-hero comic resurrection. Michael Turner and Jeph Loeb’s Kara Zor-El merits return; Turner’s rendering of Superman’s cousin is breathtaking in both her angelic and diabolic incarnations and Jeph Loeb seems at the height of his powers of characterization in making Kara at once innocent and mysterious, likeable and imperfect, mythic and relatable. There is something realistic and compelling about this “girl who fell to earth.” It’s this element of emotional earnestness that counterbalances the story’s fan-boy showmanship; Supergirl’s training on Paradise Island being interrupted by the invasion of an army of Doomsday clones sent by Darkseid whose involvement prompts Batman and Superman to team up with Big Barda who allows Batman to use Mr. Miracle’s New Genesis technology in their rescue mission on Apokolips.

You have to give credit to Turner and Loeb; their ‘Super-girl’ becomes DCs “it girl” for the next two or three years until attention turns back to Power Girl and Donna Troy during INFINITE CRISIS. But in every sense of the word, the two creators over play their hand. Turner’s pencils which start out grand, detailed and sensuous (if predictably Image-esque) fall victim to their own ambition and significantly deteriorate towards the middle of the storyline. The hard distinct lines that give Superman his emotional gravitas and Kara Zor-El her fresh faced (read: slightly pedophilic) sex-appeal in the first 22 pages of the book start to blur and fade in the middle 20 pages leaving Kara’s emotional state less viscerally sympathetic and the Amazons’ physical presence less awe-inspiring than perhaps they could have been. Similiarly, Jeph Loeb’s characterization of Kara goes awry immediately after “Superman/Batman.” In her own series, Loeb evacuates Kara of any of the subtlety, vulnerability and simple beauty that makes the Superman/Batman Kara such an evocative character. In “Supergirl: Power,” Loeb has the heroine spend four issues beating her way through the DC universe with hardly any pretense at all. Myth and parsimonious complexity quickly give way to gratuitous violence and sensationalism. But perhaps this is just one more reason why “Superman/Batman: Supergirl” is such a gem – its charm is singular and, both within Kara’s personal continuity and Loeb’s work as of late, fleeting. Not to be missed.Quote-right


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