Superman #44 came out this week and closed the opening arc of 'The Truth', catching this book up temporally with what has been happening in the other titles. I haven't been a fan of this overall arc as those who have read my prior reviews know. This has been something of a mess with inconsistent characterization all around.
I am a bit of two minds when it comes to this issue. I think that this has been Yang's best issue of the run and does a fine job of showing just what the fallout of this major reveal would be. This would be a game changer and while I think the stories in Action, Superman/Wonder Woman, and Batman/Superman have shown that, there is something about this issue that made it hit home. Maybe because we are still in the transition time when Clark is still trying to live as Clark. And we really see how this reveal effects just about everyone from friends, to villains, to the average person living in Metropolis.
That said, we are still stuck with some wonky characterization and further devolution of Superman into something that is moving further and further away from the character I have loved. It truly feels like we have been in a decade rut with Superman with just a few arcs here and there rising to greatness.
John Romita Jr is on art here and is ... well ... John Romita Jr. There are a couple of panels that I actually mulled over and thought were very good. But overall, I think his work is rushed and unpolished.
The issue starts with Clark walking home and being attacked by a new version of the Royal Flush Gang. They know he is Superman after all.
Alas, they are still the Royal Flush Gang (or some reasonable facsimile of them). Superman takes them out in short order.
During the squabble, '10' sees the writing on the wall and surrenders. But before being taken in she thrashes King for his behavior towards Ace.
She gives a line which will set the tone for the issue. Violence is the only way that people can protect their own. Without Superman's level of super-powers, it is the solution.
Now you would think that Clark Kent would shake his head disapprovingly. Or tell her that maybe if she wasn't in a supervillain gang, she wouldn't be in this predicament. Instead he sort of looks on, takes it in, and as we'll see, agrees with her.
Unfortunately, Clark has to keep running because he hears about a hostage situation at the Planet.
Safely away from the action, Lois is talking with her father, General Lane.
In a sequence I did like, Sam thinks that Lois has revealed Clark's truth as a way for Superman to be besmirched, hunted, captured. He is proud of her for what he thinks is a betrayal of sorts. And the General isn't too quick to run to Superman or his friends aid. He seems almost smugly satisfied to let things get messy for the man of steel.
Lois' expression of surprise is great here, one of the panels where I thought Romita succeeded. No one seems to understand that she revealed this secret for the right reasons ... to save her friend.
The Planet staff has been captured by Livewire, Killer Croc, Atomic Skull, Killer Frost, and Shockwave. Sort of a motley crew.
After some snarky banter with Livewire regarding Steve Lombard (again, a bit out of character for Clark), he proceeds to pound his way through the group. Even slightly depowered, this group can't hold back Clark.
Clark finds the rest of the staff being held at gunpoint by a crazed Planet employee.
This employee's wife died in a Titano attack on the city. Now the man thinks that his wife was singled out because he worked with Clark. This reveal is effecting even those remotely affiliated with Clark/Superman. It has caused this man to crack.
So while I might not like this direction, I have to say that this look at just how massive this reveal is, how it's ripples endlessly. We saw this more positively in Lee Lambert and the tents around Clark's apartment. Here we see a very personal negative response.
In that skirmish, Perry is shot.
There is a lot I don't like about The Truth. Perry's attitude is one of the things I like the least.
Could you ever imagine Perry slapping the glasses off of Clark?
If part of this arc is to show extreme reactions to this incredible revelation then Yang is bringing it. But this seems off.
And this is one of my overall problems with Superman comics these days. Clark isn't acting like Clark. Perry isn't acting like Perry. Lana isn't acting like Lana. People aren't recognizable.
I am not saying that characters need to be frozen, immutable. But they need to act in a way that makes sense for who they are.
With this ugly situation behind him, Clark broadcasts a movie from the rooftops. If anyone tries to hurt his friends, he will hurt them 1000 fold.
Not 'you will be stopped'. Not 'my friends and I are ever-vigilant and will capture you'.
I will hurt you 1000-fold.
It is so dark that even Luthor, watching the feed, smiles. He knows that suddenly Superman isn't the symbol he once was.
Oddly enough, the one character who has been portrayed well in this story is Lois, even though she got a lot of the internet hate regarding this arc.
She calls Clark out for this bloody justice he is threatening. 'That isn't how Superman is supposed to work.' At least somebody recognizes it!
Instead, Clark lashes out at her and blames her for this. There is no acknowledgment of the Quarmers draining him, of the dead body in Hordr's lair, of how she saved his life.
Clark decides that to wallow in anger and bitterness is the better path. He says what Ten said earlier. Over the top violence is how he will protect his own.
The issue ends with a 'big reveal'. Hordr Root is the son of someone with a history with Superman. His father has forsaken him. And Hordr will prove to his father that he can live up to the family name and remake the world
Let the guesses start!
I initially was thinking he is Vandal Savage's son. Savage would certainly not know of all his offspring. And remaking the world could be some time-travel story. Maybe that is how the undo this whole mess, change history?
Then I thought Hordr would be the perfect son of Hank Henshaw's Cyborg Superman. Loading himself into computers and masks, hating Superman, hating his father. Then I remembered that Zor-El is the current Cyborg Superman. If this arc changes that I will be happy!
And I thought that this was the sharpest written issue by Yang, moving along nicely with good transitions.
All of this said, I am sort of sick of this 'new' depowered angry Superman. I am sick of the bloodied knuckles, snap judgments, and alienation. I want my Superman to rise above things, to solve the problems in the best way. Not slowly descend morally to the point that Luthor is pleased.
My comic book store recently put out a glut of $1 books that required some degree of patience as I flipped through the jumbled collection. One of the things that I came across were nice crisp copies of all three parts of 'The Supergirl Saga', the formal introduction of the Matrix Supergirl to the post-Crisis DCU. The copies in my collection were somewhat dog-eared from the multiple readings. So I splurged the $3 to buy a more pristine set, putting the older original ones in the 'readable' pile, a longbox I have of beloved issues, out of bags and boards, and available for reading in almost any environment.
I haven't reviewed this story properly on the site, something which feels like an oversight that I should rectify at some point.
But until that day, I thought I would share one panel from Superman #21 which is a nice homage to Supergirl's first appearance.
In the issue, Superman feels he is being followed and so does some fancy flying to end up face to face with ... Supergirl?
Surprised, he says 'Great Guns! A flying woman in a variation of my costume! Is it ... some kind of illusion ..?'
Those words sound awful familiar
Looking back to the classic cover of Action Comics #252, we hear Superman say something very very similar. 'Great guns! A girl flying! It - uh - must be an illusion!'
Changing the 'girl' to 'woman' makes sense given the time and the character of Matrix.
But there can be know doubt that those words were chosen very carefully by Byrne. How often does Superman say 'great guns'? These sort of Easter Eggs are appreciated by this old time fan.
Writer/artist John Byrne always had a healthy respect for the source material and often would do nods to the past like this one. I have talked about how this Bizarro story was very similar to Bizarro's first appearance in the Superboy book. And over on Too Dangerous for a Girl, I talked about Byrne's reimagining of Lori Lemaris in the new universe. So this little nod to Supergirl was recognized and appreciated.
So should I review this story in the usual in depth Anj fashion?
This was a somewhat weird month to consider given the recent announcement of books being cancelled and some creative teams being changed around. This also is a book heavy month with annuals and such. So this might be a time for me to consider putting some holiday gift money I get towards comics.
ACTION COMICS #47 Written by GREG PAK and AARON KUDER Art and cover by AARON KUDER The ebony powers of the woman known as Wrath are unleashed on Superman. Will
the Man of Steel fall to the dark side?
So you are going to see something of a theme in many of the Superman solicits for this month. They all are about him getting darker and darker. We have seen Wrath both emit wrath and absorb power from the anger of people.
I like Kuder's art and this cover, a mix of deep blacks and burning oranges in colors looks good. But this should be a Halloween cover!
SUPERMAN #47 Written by GENE LUEN YANG Art and cover by HOWARD PORTER Variant covers by LEE BERMEJO What would happen if the powers of all of Superman’s foes were contained in one
villain? You’ll find out when you meet the Amalgam of Composite Superman
Foes—and this is one nightmare a semi-powered Man of Steel may not survive!
Join series writer Gene Luen Yang and guest artist Howard Porter for an
unforgettable new epic!
Composite Superman is a silly character.
The Amalgam of Composite Superman Foes? Sounds insane. Like an Amazo of Superman villains? Let's start rattling them off!
This won't be the cover (clearly JRJR) but it also has a sort of 'Little Match Girl' feel to it. Woe is me!
SUPERMAN ANNUAL #3 Written by GENE LUEN YANG Art by DAN JURGENS and BILL SIENKIEWICZ Cover by ARDIAN SYAF and VICENTE CIFUENTES “Man of Tomorrow. Man of Yesterday.” Superman and Vandal Savage have been on a
collision course for centuries. As Kal-El struggles to survive against this
barbarian’s attacking hordes, we reveal the events that led to Vandal Savage’s
creation—and his unexpected connection to Krypton. Immortals gather to put an
end to the Last Son of Krypton so Earth may live!
A line from Batman/Superman last week was a villain saying they had been waiting 2000 years for revenge. So could this be the story where Superman fights Savage in the past? Where that revenge is born?
I like to think of Annuals as the end of arcs, not middle chapters. Will I be that lucky?
BATMAN/SUPERMAN #27 Written by GREG PAK Art by ARDIAN SYAF and VICENTE CIFUENTES Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE To defeat Vandal Savage and his barbarian hordes, Superman must become more and
more brutal. And when he reaches the point of no return, it may be up to Red
Hood to take him down. Plus, Gordon makes a shocking discovery about Savage’s
So first Superman is getting dark in Action.
Now in this book, he is getting more and more brutal. So much that Red Hood is the hero of the book.
SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #24
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
It’s the team-up you never expected, as Superman and Parasite take on those
other energy suckers, the Pale Riders, to free Firestorm! Meanwhile, Wonder
Woman fights an unstoppable behemoth that can contain—and consume—her powers!
I do like the name Pale Riders as energy suckers!
And including some old school Firestorm is always welcomed.
Add Mahnke and Paquette art, I'm happy.
SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN ANNUAL #2 Written by KEITH CHAMPAGNE and PETER J. TOMASI Art by YANICK PAQUETTE, CHRISCROSS, MATTHEW CLARK and others Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE Forged in the fires of battle, their union is one the world fears and hates—and
some have tried to tear it asunder! Now witness the trials of the romance of
Kal and Diana, and how it all came to be. See the first kiss and last breath of
Superman and Wonder Woman in this epic tale that recounts the most dangerous
love story of all.
I am wondering if this Annual will be a retrospective of the relationship because it has ended.
The background faces seem to say that despite the 'Jim Lee'-esque kiss in the foreground.
The book still sells well. So I doubt it will go away even if the relationship ends.
SUPERMAN: LOIS AND CLARK #3 Written by DAN JURGENS Art by LEE WEEKS Cover by STEPHEN SEGOVIA Who—or what—is Blanque? What is being held in this Superman’s Fortress of
Solitude? And what is Intergang, and why is their discovery dangerous to Lois?
Whatever the answers, neither Clark nor Lois want their son to learn the
We haven't read any of this series. I don't now what Earth this couple is on, etc.
But a new villain? Intergang? Jurgens and Weeks? That cover by Segovia?
I am hopeful and happy!
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 #7 Written by KEITH GIFFEN and J.M. DeMATTEIS Art and cover by HOWARD PORTER The world is overrun…and we lost?! For the past few months, they’ve slowly
taken over the U.P. space. Now they’re simply exterminating any and all threats
in their occupied territory. No one is safe. And we mean NO ONE!
So last issue's solicit was that someone was going to die.
Now no one is safe?
I keep looking at these solicits waiting for the 'Final Issue' blurb.
But once again we have no sight of Supergirl on the cover or mention of her in the solicit.
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #6 Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT Art by LAURA BRAGA, BILQUIS EVELY and others Cover by ANT LUCIA Having defected from Russia, Supergirl and Stargirl arrive on the Western
front. In Berlin, Batwoman has to learn that she can’t fight every battle,
while Zatanna consults her favorite rabbit, the former John Constantine.
Meanwhile, Harley and Ivy race across France, taking on every Nazi they
I have enjoyed the Bombshells comic immensely.
It was only a matter of time until Supergirl and Stargirl were going to defect. So happy to see them on the side of the American Way.
Can't wait to see the addition of Ivy.
And Selena on the cover! Wow!
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #7 Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT Art by MIRKA ANOLFO Cover by ANT LUCIA Presenting the Batgirls! While Batwoman is away in Europe, a group of young
women decide to pick up her mantle and protect the streets of Gotham City
themselves! New allies are recruited throughout the city as the girls uncover an orphanage
that’s imprisoning children and using them to help build deadly weapons to aid
the Nazis. Do these raw recruits have what it takes—or are they out of their
I love the idea of Batgirls. But no Stephanie??
Still ... can't wait for this issue!
SUPERGIRL VOL. 1: THE GIRL OF STEEL TP Written by JEPH LOEB, JOE KELLY, GREG RUCKA, JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI Art by IAN CHURCHILL, NORM RAPMUND, ED BENES, AMANDA CONNER and JIMMY PALMIOTTI Cover by MICHAEL TURNER In these stories from SUPERGIRL #0-10 and 12, Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin
from Krypton, adjusts to her life on Earth, crossing paths (and trading blows)
with the JSA, the Teen Titans and the Outsiders along the way. But while she’s
facing off against other heroes, her cousin’s nemesis Lex Luthor has uncovered
a truth that could change the Girl of Steel forever!
Let's see ...
She is angry. She dislikes Superman. She fights all the heroes. She abandons Candor. She wants to dance instead of being a hero. I don't know if the 'Kill Kal-El' theme starts in these issues but their roots are here.
So let's reprint these stories in anticipation of the positive looking show being a hit.
And let's not have a monthly comic despite all the press about the character.
This makes no sense to me.
Anyways, I will look to the optimism of an impending new year. Let's stay hopeful. Hopeful that Superman becomes Superman again. Hopeful that a Supergirl book comes out. Hopeful that good comics find their audiences and survive.
We have been waiting for information on a new Supergirl book since the last one was cancelled before its time. And finally ... finally ... we have a little.
Over on IGN Jim Lee was being interviewed about a number of topics including a new Hush collection, his work on Batman, and comics in general. And, surprisingly, the topic of Supergirl came up.
IGN: One last question. The Supergirl show is coming this
Fall, but there's no Supergirl comic book on the shelf. Are there any
plans to bring Supergirl back with her own solo series? Lee:
We'd be remiss if we did not use that as an opportunity. If you look at
all the shows, we've tried to do things that both tie in directly into
the core mythology of the show itself. But a lot of times you see the
best stories featuring, let’s say Green Arrow or The Flash, those are
the ones which see the greatest lift when a show becomes a hit. I think
you'll see an interesting mix of Supergirl content come out, some of
which will closely mirror what's going on in the show, but there's some
of the great stories that we publish that we will put out. I think it's exciting to see one of the key franchises lifted and showcased and we have really high hopes for it.
Now it isn't much. But at least we know that DC is thinking about the character and wants to take advantage of the opportunity the show is providing. I think it is interesting that Lee talks about trying to tie the concept of the book with the tone of the show. He even brings up Arrow and Flash. But then he talks about publishing stories that don't mesh at all (hence the New 52 reprint and the resolicit of the Loeb trade).
So are they waiting for the show? Are they waiting to see the response of the show? Are they waiting for the right creators to show up? Wait until the mess of DCYou settles down to decide if this is going to be 'meat and potatoes' or 'Burnside mash'?
I have to say that I find it frustrating that despite the incredible buzz of the show, despite the consistent failure of the darker interpretations of Kara, DC still feels the need to try to shove a bitter take on Supergirl to the readers. Why not revisit the Gates/Igle stuff? Cosmic Adventures? Why not release a Showcase book of the Daring New series? Why not do a show-related digital book with the same upbeat hope of the show? Why not embrace the Supergirl who wants to do good and inspire, who strive to be like Superman?
Anyways, at least Supergirl is on the minds of the higher ups at the company. Now we just need the right book!
A couple of weeks ago, the news was released that DC was cancelling five titles and changing the creative team of another. Included in that list was Justice League United, a book headlined by Jeff Parker and bringing a classic 'team-up' feel to a DC book. Also in that list were recent DCYou offerings Doomed and Omega Men. (I am pretty sure I called Doomed and Omega Men being short lived titles when I lamented the cancelleation of Supergirl.)
In what is becoming so common that it isn't news anymore, Marvel dominated the market. But looking at the numbers, it might explain, at least a little, some of DC's decisions. Still, I worry about the quick axe for some of these more experimental titles. There was little time for buzz to build.
Looking at the Superman books, all seemed to get a modest bump in sales last month. I wonder how much of that might have been secondary to Bombshell variants. Those covers all sold out at my local store. Still, Superman #43 was the issue where we saw Lois' reveal Clark's identity. I wonder if that brought some new readers or some new orders from comic stores.
Superman sold just under 50000 units, a number I don't think it has reached in a long time.
And Action Comics, my favorite of the bunch, sold just under 42000, a bump from the usual mid-30s I have seen the book languish in for a while. This is orders, not sales, so I have to think the Bombshell stuff has to factor in here.
I was a big fan of the Justice League United concept from the beginning. While I worried about idea that Supergirl was a 'bull-headed loner', Jeff Lemire won me over with the inclusion of Silver Age characters as well as bringing back a true Legion of Super-Heroes.
Lemire left and Jeff Parker took over and had the brilliant idea of combining a core team of heroes with rotating guests. I mean, this is probably the only place a new DC reader (do those exist) would meet Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, and the Doom Patrol.
A mere three issues into the new direction, DC pulled the plug. Surprisingly, the book was still selling over 24000. This reminds me of the cancellation of Supergirl. Here was a book that was selling solidly if not prolifically. And yet, the plug was pulled.
The only place we can get a Supergirl these days is in Justice League 3001.
And given the cancellations and murmurs of a rebranding close after the DCYou rebranding, I am worried.
JL3001 sold just under 19000.
That is a scary number.
Knowing DC, they'll blame Supergirl for the sales.
I am not a comic business person. I don't have inside knowledge of the economics. But I am confused by the apparent lack of direction of DC right now. It feels rudderless.
Justice League 3001 has been something of a revelation for me. I was not expecting to like this book figuring it was going to be the same old dark, dingy dystopia that I has plagued DC the last decade. Instead, I have found it to be a sort of love letter to DC Universes past. Sure, the main characters are caricatures of the 'real' heroes, flawed genetic copies of the original. But we also are getting a brilliant and spurned Lois. Members of the 'Bwa-ha-ha' League even though that universe is gone. We have a pure Silver/Bronze Age Supergirl showing up like a ray of light. And we have the usual sort of irreverence that I see in the best of Giffen/DeMatteis collaborations. In many ways, it reminds me of the recent Giffen Doom Patrol book. In that book, Giffen simply acknowledged all the versions of the Patrol as 'real'. We saw Rita, Crazy Jane, a Negative Man who remembered all his incarnations. Brilliant.
Justice League 3001 #4 came out last week and pumped the brakes on the title a bit. This is a flashback story of this League's Flash, a story which we are told took place between the end of JL3000 and the beginning of JL3001. While a mere 4 issues in might be an odd place to put a 'rest' issue, the story builds on the universe that is being built here. Giffen and DeMatteis are fleshing out the threats in this universe while giving us a closer look at Teri as she grows in her role as the super-speedster of the team.
Art is by Scott Kolins rather than usual title artist Howard Porter. I'm not the biggest fan of Kolins' work and with Porter moving to Superman I wonder if Kolins is on board as the title's artist now. I was hoping to see more of Porter's Supergirl.
The issue starts with the Flash heading off on a solo mission, answering a distress signal on a remote ice planet ironically called Nirvana. This was set up by Batman, feeling that the Flash needed to get some real life experience. There is no distress signal, just the Flash having to use her powers to survive.
When Ariel reminds Batman that plenty of Robins died in similar situation, Bruce denies it.
Of course, Ariel is really the evil Lois Lane. And I love how she knows more about Batman than even Batman knows. She remembers all the Robins who were endangered. Nice.
Meanwhile, the Flash is running all over the world and ends up running across the Mirror Master.
Once more we start to see just how deep Lois' machinations go. She has been approaching all super-villains to join her Injustice League. If she is amassing an army, she is a bigger threat than ever. She is doing more than sending the League on near-suicide missions. Of course, the League doesn't know that Lois Lane is alive, let alone she is in Ariel.
This Mirror Master didn't want to join and so went to this place to lay low.
He also says he is the actual Mirror Master, the one who fought Barry Allen. Boy, a lot of people have survived 1000 years! But he gives a great riff on the famous Lloyd Bensten speech. "I knew Barry Allen.He was my arch-enemy. And lady, you are no Barry Allen." Fantastic.
An avalanche ends up burying the two in the building and the Mirror Master as to remind the Flash that she can dig them out at super-speed.
I thought this panel was also fascinating. In JL3000, Teri was the smartest person in the room. She was a brilliant scientist. As the Flash, she has acted more like a hyperactive teen. Even she recognizes that since the DNA merge, she isn't as smart. Is that because Barry was not as smart? Was that because her mind is racing?
Another interesting point to ponder about this bag.
Once freed from the snow, the two have to battle weird piranha/polar bear life forms. And the Mirror Master eventually acknowledges that he is happy the Flash came by. He was starting to feel isolated, being alone on this ice ball. He has been too worried that 'the others' would find him. Again, we are reminded that this villain army, this Injustice League is out there.
But it around this time that Teri realizes that there was no distress signal, there was no mission. This was Batman testing her. And it is only dumb luck that she stumbled across the Mirror Master. And she is not happy. She almost throws a tantrum.
Throughout this issue, we have been seeing the subtle changes we have seen in Teri. The sort rapid fire speech pattern, the desire to go on this mission, the realization she isn't as smart as she was, her throwing a tantrum when she learns of Batman's deception. Now she admits she was attracted to the Mirror Master.
It all sounds so adolescent. And I think it is brilliant.
Anyways, this was a Flash-centric story and we learn much more about Teri here. This also helps fill in some information for any readers who jumped on board for 3001 and didn't read 3000.
CBS's Supergirl series debuts October 26, and DC Comics is rushing to get a Supergirl comic book on stands to take advantage of the extra attention and potential for increased popularity. The publisher has rush-solicited DC Essentials: Supergirl #1, a reprint of the "New 52" Supergirl #1from 2011, for publication on October 21. Priced at just $1.00, retailers have until September 28 to place orders.
I am thrilled that the character is getting such promotion and publicity right now. And while I think the New 52 Supergirl had its ups and downs, there is no doubt this is a dynamic first issue with beautiful art by Mahmud Asrar.
But there certainly is a lot to nit pick about this decision.
One, this is a rushed announcement and solicit, almost as if DC didn't recognize the show premiere as an opportunity. And you might think that an ongoing book, a show prequel issue, a digital series ... that anything might be the right promotion.
Also, the tone of the initial New 52 run ... the alien Kara, with no friends, who remains distant to Superman and doesn't want to be a hero ... is about as far away from what we have seen of the show. There is a disconnect tonally here.
But rather than write another 1000 words, wailing and gnashing my teeth, complaining at DC's blighted efforts with the character, I will instead give a short list of other comics that I think could also be considered 'Essential Supergirl' and might fit in a bit more with the efforts of linking the comic to the show. In chronological order and with links if I have reviewed the issue here:
Action Comics #285 (Jerry Siegel/Jim Mooney) - This is a pretty big issue in Supergirl lore where Superman finally reveals her existence to the world. No longer will she be the secret weapon. She had done her job, training to use her powers, and doing her own secret heroics. Now was the time for her to be recognized as the second Kryptonian hero of the world. You see how earnest she is in her desire to help. And we see her save the world on her own. If you want an essential from the Silver Age, this is it.
Superman #376/Daring New Adventures #1 (Paul Kupperberg/Carmine Infantino) - An extra-sized issue as it includes to Daring preview from Superman. The preview story is Supergirl talking to her cousin, discussing her desire to go back to school, to be her own person, to become the hero she should be. The first issue shows her work/social life as well as nice action against Psi. This is 'girl power' at its finest. This is a young hero ready to step into the light and help people. And she is a young woman dealing with life and love as well. This feels like the show.
Supergirl #5 (Peter David/Gary Frank) - Matrix had just linked with Linda Danvers, a mortal girl with dark inclinations. And this amalgam was still trying to figure out what it was. Was she alive? Did she have a soul? Was she good? She met an odd sort of reflection in the suddenly sentient Chemo. There are hard philopsphical questions asked. This was a young woman trying to define herself as a hero. And it is a stand alone issue in an otherwise long form book. Matrix might not be Kara. But writer Peter David injected pure Supergirl-ness into this book.
Supergirl #34 (Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle) - This was the beginning of the Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle run, and it also was a shift in direction for the character. After nearly 3 years of anger, bitterness, high school massacres, vanishing skirts, and panty shots, Gates and Igle rehabilitated the character. She needed to redefine who she was. She might not be perfect. But she wanted to do good, be a hero, and strive to be better. She was growing, maturing. And part of that was adopting the Linda Lang identity. If there is one run (or one issue) that the show seems to have imprinted on, it is this one. I mean Linda in the show looks just like Linda Lang.
Superman/Batman #62 (Mike Johnson and Michael Green/Rafael Albuquerque) - Something of a left field pick but it has a Bat-family member which might lead more people to read it. Green and Johnson wrote the New 52 Kara but this one is much more classic in approach as the retell an early adventure she had with Robin. And in this story you see the gamut of Supergirl's emotions, all displayed as she strives to bring good to the world and save people. It is a brilliant microcosm of the character and how she thinks and what she tries to do. And it is beautifully rendered.
Supergirl #33 (TonyBedard/ Emanuela Lupacchino and Jeff Johnson) - It might seem odd to pick the last issue of a multititle arc (Red Daughter) as the Essential. But the issue again highlights the parts of Supergirl's character that I love. The fierce need to fight for justice. That love of Earth, her home. And she finally rids herself of all the negativeness of the earlier issues, set up perfectly in the form of a Red Lantern ring.
So those would be my essentials. Those would have been my choices for DC. And, of those, I would have picked the Gates/Igle Supergirl #34 would far and away have been my choice to market the character in conjunction with the show.