Review: Supergirl: Being Super #2
Even though it begins with a disaster movie level cataclysm and concludes with nods to Kara’s Kryptonian roots, Supergirl: Being Super #2 continues to focus on her emotions and relationships and not crime fighting. In this case, the big emotion is grief, and most of Mariko Tamaki‘s plot is centered around Kara, her friend Dolly, her parents, and the town of Midvale’s reaction to the passing of Kara’s best friend Jen. There are a lot of hugs, sentiments, and eating. Joelle Jones’ range as an artist is a perfect fit for this story using different kinds of facial expressions and touches between characters as Kara goes through her days without Jen.
And where pencil, ink, and words don’t suffice, there is Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors. Up to this point, the palette of Supergirl: Being Super has been bright and bucolic like its small town setting or Kara and her friends’ track uniforms. But when Jen falls to her death, a black pall engulfs the page, and it returns later in the issue when Kara wonders about her real origins and the cape that she was wrapped in when her parents found her. However, these and the presence of a yellow/green color that disrupts Kara’s abilities (Kryptonite, perhaps.) are reserved for the most dramatic moments of the comic. Fitzpatrick goes for muted greys when Jen’s sister is speaking at her funeral, or Kara and her dad are sitting in the barn. It’s just plain sad.
Tamaki and Jones show that there’s no one set way of dealing with grief in Supergirl: Being Super #2. Kara does a whole host of things to come to terms with Jen’s death from eating a lot of cereal, texting silly jokes about her with Dolly, running super fast, and a dark guilt about her powers glitching out so she couldn’t catch Jen. The scene where Kara is running in the field reminded me of when my grandfather passed away seven years ago, and I just shot baskets to do something active and focus on something else for a while. You can feel her pain in Fitzpatrick’s yellows and Jones’ sonic boom speed lines as Kara realizes she is never going to anything fun or interesting with Jen ever again and collapses with one tear down her face. She has hit her emotional breaking point, and her powers are a reflection of that.
Kara’s mom is a superhero in her own right. She immediately hugs and consoles Kara when she is sitting in the ambulance after Jen’s body falls in the rift and even does the little things like send her a “check-in” text to pick more of the cereal she likes on her run. She gives Kara some great advice and words about how she will survive and endure, and that this experience will make her a stronger, better person. This is one of the most heart-wrenching moments of an issue filled with them as Joelle Jones draws Kara just collapsing on her mom’s shoulder. Her dad is less touchy-feely but reads Kara’s body language while she’s sitting on the couch and offers to sit with her out in the barn. This leads to a flashback that shows their closeness that even if he is a man of few words, he has helped her understand the nature of her powers and the responsibility that goes with them. But Kara can tell that he’s scared too, and the being behind her power loss, the earthquake, and this issue’s trippy ending are quite frightening as Tamaki and Jones keeps their true nature wreathed in vaguely Kryptonian shadow.
The friendship between Kara and Dolly is flat out amazing, and they really help each other out in this tough time. Tamaki and Jones capture the bond between them in a pair of panels where they walk away from each other after stuffing their faces with burgers and shakes at the local diner. Kara and Dolly take one and then embrace in a big, damn hug as the emotions pour out in Dolly’s dialogue. They’re really there for each other with silly jokes and stories about Jen once doing a liquid diet that turned her poop green or just being real about how they feel about losing her either over text or in person. On a more artistic note, I really enjoyed that Jones framed the diner scene from the POV of Kara and Dolly’s food instead of their faces to show how they’re focusing on tasting goodness instead of feelings for just a moment.
Mariko Tamaki, Joelle Jones, and Kelly Fitzpatrick turn in an authentic, heartbreaking tale of grief, loss, and friendship in Supergirl: Being Super #2 that is honestly one of the saddest comics I’ve ever read.
Story: Mariko Tamaki Art: Joelle Jones Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review