Monday, July 15, 2013

Supergirl #16

"Fast & Faster"

Mike Johnson Writer
Mahmud Asrar Artist
Dave McCaig Colorist
Rob Leigh Letterer
Wil Moss Editor

The cover is by Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig. It's an exciting enough image and it shows you exactly what's going on inside, but something just feels off. I think it's the mouths. Asrar is not a bad artist by any means, but I don't much care for his style. I can't help thinking that there are a couple of artists out there who could draw the exact same image in the exact same poses, and I'd enjoy it a lot more. I guess it's just a personal taste thing.

The story begins at some point in the past when H'el first crash-landed his spaceship in the Himalayas. He collapses on the snow and we see a bloody, backward Superman "S" on his chest. He's discovered by the big red-orange alien, who prepares to tell his master of H'el's arrival.

Now, in the Fortress of Solitude at the Arctic Circle, while Superman leads the Justice League in an attack on H'el in another part of the Fortress, the Flash breaks in to rescue Supergirl. He's finally vibrated through the Kryptonian wall, and doesn't feel like vibrating through anything else ever again. But just as soon as he can pick himself back up, he's attacked by Supergirl.

Supergirl doesn't necessarily want to fight the Flash, but she feels this is the only way to save her home planet. Flash quickly slides out of her grip and dodges a few blasts of her heat vision to tell her that Superman has given him two instructions: get Kara out of the Fortress and don't let her beat him to a pulp. Flash then knocks Supergirl down with a min-vortex and tries to tell her that H'el is using her, but Superman knows the truth. Like any good teenager, Kara demands to know how Superman could possibly know the truth, and she begins to attack Flash at super speed. She initially has a hard time keeping up with him, but then she realizes that Flash is avoiding hitting her — something she isn't above doing. Supergirl grabs the Flash's earpieces and tries to slam his head through her knee, but he vibrated at the last second to avoid a major injury.

Seeing they're past the point of talking, Flash grabs Supergirl and tries to vibrate her through the Fortress wall, but they instead end up in Superman's zoo, which happens to be filled with very large and dangerous creatures. They start running away and looking for a way out, but Flash gets caught by a couple of big bat-owl things. Supergirl saves him and they find their way back to the Fortress, only for Flash to be attacked by Krypto. Kara is excited to see the dog has survived, and starts to play with it, giving the Flash the chance to sneak into Superman's armory to find "the land resort."

Flash returns with a weapon designed to scramble Kryptonian biology. He knocks Supergirl down with a blast from it and explains that this weapon is powered by kinetic energy, making it the perfect weapon for him. Suddenly, the weapon is taken apart psychically by H'el, who then teleports the Scarlet Speedster to the Watchtower. He tells Supergirl the Star Chamber is almost finished and with her around, he'll never be alone again.

On the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy, an innocent ship stumbles upon the impossible, the Oracle — a massively monstrous and mysterious being.

The Good:

Flash vs. Supergirl. DC comics have been around for more than 75 years, and during that time, we've seen just about everything it feels like. One common idea is pitting hero against hero. As much as we like to see them team up, we really like to see them fight each other. There've been tons of hero-on-hero fights, but this issue gave me one I've never seen or thought of before. Flash has never really had a reason to fight Supergirl, but now that he has, I'm really glad it happened. The two heroes were evenly matched, and the fight itself was quite enjoyable. I'm also happy that both of them were able to save face after this. Most of the time, these hero fights end up twisting or changing a character's motivations, but no such act occurred here. Flash still acted like Flash, and Supergirl proved she still is a hero deep down, but caught in a dire situation. She's also a teenage girl, and certainly acted like one here.

The Bad:

I wasn't a big fan of the art, but it wasn't bad or off-putting by any means. So I really don't have any complaints about this issue, which is actually the Flash's biggest guest appearance since Captain Atom #3. Sadly, his role in the H'el on Earth story is basically over now. He'll make quick guest appearances throughout the end of the story, but he won't do anything significant, which is a shame.

Final score: 6 out of 10

Next time: Superboy Annual #1

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