Supergirl #16 Surprisingly Not Terrible

I have done nothing but bad mouth Supergirl lately and was all geared up to take down Supergirl #16 when something unexpected happened. It turned out to be a fairly decent issue.

As you may or may not know, Supergirl is constantly haunted by her sordid past with memories of killing people on Krypton at the command of her evil father, Zor-El. She remembers him impaling her on Sunstone Crystals and even commanding her to kill her mother. At the end of days for Krypton, Kara was put in a spaceship and given one last order: kill Superman. Ever since then, she’s been very confused and unable to fit in. Each and every absolute garbage issue of Supergirl has focused on her inability to make friends, get a boyfriend, be a hero or keep a secret identity… this has gone on for a year and a half.

In this issue Kara finally discovers her true origin and why she was sent to kill Superman. It turns out that Jor-El (Superman’s father) brought about the destruction of Krypton by sending criminals to the Phantom Zone. Zor-El, Jor-El’s brother, was never happy with the moral implications of seeing criminals banished to an everlasting life in an “empty, endless place where time stands still”. But soon after this punishment is approved by the Kryptonian Council, peaceful Krypton starts deteriorating.
Soon Zor-El discovers that Jor-El has brought doom upon them by unleashing Phantoms from the Phantom Zone on their world. These Phantoms are the original inhabitants of the Phantom Zone and are unhappy that their world has been overrun with criminal scum. Therefore they vow to destroy the House of El and in particular, the “Jailer” (Jor-El) and his family (Superman).
The Phantoms are able to inhabit the bodies of other sentient beings and turn them evil. This happens to Kara’s mother whom she must “save” by killing her.
Throughout all of this, Zor-El was the only one capable of seeing the Phantoms. Consequently, his brother and the Kryptonian Council refused to believe in the Phantoms and thought of him as a killer. Kara was made fun of and went through hard times, thus leading her to form distorted memories of her father and her past.
Kara finally discovers that her mission to kill her cousin Superman will save the human race, because the Phantoms are headed to Earth to kill Superman. Thus, if she can’t stop them, or kill him, Earth will suffer the same fate of Krypton.

This is a pretty decent story as it turns everything you know about Krypton on it’s ear. We see that both Zor-El and Jor-El were completely obsessed with their work, that Zor-El was the reason for Sunstone, and Jor-El is the reason for a exploding Krypton.

For once an issue of Supergirl did not focus on Kara wandering the skies attempting to be normal, and the dialogue wasn’t too horrible either.
In fact, I’m rather curious to see where this is going being that all of the criminals from the Phantom Zone have just escaped in pages of Superman #846 and are being led by Zod in a war against Earth.
Meanwhile the second part of Camelot Falls will be starting up soon in the main Superman title. This is a story about Superman bringing about the destruction of life on Earth as we know it.

That’s three separate stories involving Superman bringing about Earth’s fall, either directly (in Camelot Falls) or indirectly (in Supergirl and Action Comics).
I sense a crossover, especially being that the main story-lines in Superman and Action Comics have been delayed… perhaps giving each title a chance to get on the same path?

Whatever happens in each of the “Super” titles, one thing is certain. Mark Sable should have been brought in much earlier on this. He is the co-writer on Supergirl #16. According to the comic’s credits, he is responsible for the plot.
Unfortunately his efforts to bring Supergirl back on track might be too late. 16 issues is a really long time to wait for an explanation for Kara’s origin, especially when each issue before it attempted to string us along to this point by giving us boring, unimaginative stories involving the fight of the week.
Although it’s really disappointing that all of this wasn’t revealed much earlier, and it’s possible that the whole thing was a hoax of some sort, or Kara hallucinating (I wouldn’t be surprised if we discover that none of the above never really happened), this comic was much more interesting than it’s predecessors.

2 responses to “Supergirl #16 Surprisingly Not Terrible”

  1. Wow, thats not that bad

    I actually like the whole thing about there being life in the phantom zone (not negative zone)

  2. Wow… thanks for the catch… my tags even said phantom zone, and yet i call it the negative zone all over the article… I’m fixing this now. Thanks again!

    I agree that it could lead to something cool.

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