Supergirl #2 has all the ingredients of an intriguing teen superhero comic: twisted family drama, killer robots, punching, and of course, adolescent awkwardness. Writer Steve Orlando, artist Brian Ching, and colorist Michael Atiyeh give Supergirl quite the hard time as various men in her life keep telling her what’s best for her from Cyborg Superman saying that he’s her dad Zor-El to her classmate, Ben Rubel, interrupting her and getting a spot as one of Cat Grant’s Young Innovators. In light of a male presidential candidate interrupting a female presidential candidate multiple times and still complaining about not having equal time, the events of Supergirl #2 are very relevant as Orlando simultaneously explores the tragedy of Krypton’s destruction and the cutthroat world of new media.
Speaking of media, Orlando and Ching’s take on Cat Grant is fantastic as they start to build her arc as a journalist who wants to go from reporting gossip for the Daily Planet to running an “open source” media empire. She is the most engaging character that Orlando has written this side of Midnighter and his original creation Virgil and gives Supergirl life lessons while Ching makes her throw choice side eye at Kara’s timidity as well Ben’s brashness to interrupt Kara and answer the question. Cat is also self-aware and understands that her ego and cult of personality could lead to fall of her nascent media empire, which is why she is getting the most talented people to research and check the news before she brings it into the world. Even though (for now) it’s missing the warm banter and friendship/love triangles of Catco in the Supergirl TV show, Orlando and Ching’s version of the organization in the comic is much more bleeding edge and intriguing. It will be interesting to see how the company as well as Kara’s civilian life fits into the storyline featuring Cyborg Superman and the return of Argo City.
For most of Supergirl #2, Kara speaks in her native Kryptonian to Cyborg Superman, who claims to be her father Zor-El, and towards the end of the issue, shows her memories that only Kara’s father would know. His story is a tragic sci-fi epic as he subjugates himself to Brainiac to save Argo City and his daughter, who meets in battle as a supervillain. However, Cyborg Superman remembers his life on Krypton when he sees the hope shining through Supergirl. The overly literal connection to the House of El is on the nose, but Atiyeh’s faded reds, blues, and yellows create the effect of long forgotten memories coming to the forefront of Kara’s brain and also make Cyborg Superman a more sympathetic figure. He cares about Kara even though his body possession and robot-obsessed ways are extremely creepy.
Three issues in, and Orlando and Ching should be praised for not resolving the conflict between Kara being a native of Krypton and a current resident of Earth as she struggles to fit in. Ching captures her loneliness in a quiet scene where she floats above her bed while her adopted mother, Eliza Danvers, calls out to her. This moment where she finds solace in her special abilities is a perfect transition for Cyborg Superman’s “flashback attack”. Supergirl has been treated like dirt over her peers so maybe a return to Argo City would make her feel better. (If the city wasn’t populated by the main family from Tom King and Gabriel Walta’s Vision.) However, just like she defeats Cyborg Superman with the power of her fists, she uses sarcasm to keep Ben Rubel on edge saying that he only got his position at Catco because of his super interruption abilities.
In Supergirl #2, Steve Orlando, Brian Ching, and Michael Atiyeh take the internal conflict between Earth and Krypton out of Supergirl’s head and into the light of day. Cyborg Superman may speak Kara’s language and give her the offer of a return to her home planet, but his Argo City is definitely not And Orlando doesn’t just focus on the upcoming battle, but deepens the characters of Cat Grant and Eliza Danvers as Kara begins to forge relationships. Ching’s loose, John Romita Jr-esque art style that adds energy to the brawl between Cyborg Superman and Supergirl, and Atiyeh’s nostalgic color palette make Supergirl #2 a comic with both a physical and emotional punch.
Story: Steve Orlando Art: Brian Ching Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review