(This review does have spoilers. I mean, it’s a 1982 comic, I don’t think this would be a decent review without spoiling it!)
In honor of the last season of the CW’s Supergirl airing soon, and by request (Thanks @StevenHeynow on Twitter!) I had to read some older Supergirl comics- one of them being “The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl” No. 2!
Now, was I expecting anything from this other than outright silliness, given the era it's from (1982)? Nope! So, is that what I received? Yes and no!
Well, first things first- this is a line where she goes by the name Linda Danvers. Personally, I hate the name Linda. Supergirl will always be Kara and Kara Zor-El at that. However, the Danvers name I’m not 100% opposed to, but I have the CW Supergirl to thank for that (God, it sounded weird thanking them for something). Linda (ugh, ew) lives in Chicago, and her backstory is the same it’s been since her creation: “When her birthplace-- the surviving planetary chunk of Krypton-- was destroyed, the teenage Kara gained super-powers in Earth’s environment!”. Havoc has broken out all around and Supergirl is fighting some flying villain. I enjoy the fun language they use to make this as dramatic as possible: “All things considered, the residents of Chicago would prefer a killer blizzard any day!”.
The flying villain is named PSI. Nope, we never find out what this stands for or means in this issue! But oof, what little we DO know about her is -something-. First, she’s out for power. Obviously. What else did villains back in the day want? Second, she’s.. possessed. Okay cool- wait, she has 2 different personalities in her head, working together? Huh? Is this still a possession? Oh vey… Well, let’s put it this way, she’s not just one person. Third, she says she has “mutant-born abilities!!” Whattttt?? Marvel really let DC get away with this? They really just threw around words like “possession” and “mutant” back in the ’80s huh? I mean, she straight up says “we are Homo Superior Mutants”.... Magneto, is that you? Guess Marvel really just agreed with Supergirl when she said, “Hoo-boy! Another nut with a dream of a master race!”. There’s a LOT of weird stuff going on with this villain.
While PSI is definitely a great example of a weird 80’s villain, Supergirl is actually written as a solid hero here, which makes this fight much more enjoyable to read. She has some stereotypical 80’s hero moments, like when PSI puts her in a “psionic hold”, insisting that her Kryptonian might can’t even help her, but Supergirl still manages to break out with sheer willpower. It’s nice to see that she was treated much like Superman still is today- all-powerful, regardless of boundaries like physical might. It seems the writer thought “If this wouldn’t stop Superman, why would it stop Supergirl?” and honestly, more writers should think like that. The moment that really made all the difference for me, though, was when PSI called out Supergirl for still helping man, even when man does terrible things (similar to a theme from 2017’s Wonder Woman film) and Supergirl does something I rarely see- she doesn’t just say man deserves her or deserves help no matter what, she also actually admits that she’s not thrilled with them either. She actually admits her distaste for some of what man does. She admits her frustration with them and then finds logical ground immediately- just because she’s frustrated with them too doesn’t mean this “destroy everything” solution of PSI’s is a good idea.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This isn't a huge deal, people do this often. But this is HUGE for Supergirl. In modern comics, she’s written as this character who is always angry and can’t contain it. She’s written as someone whose Achilles heel is her own emotions. But here, in this small moment, they show that she has emotions and that they are not a weakness. They are a strength to her. She is capable of embracing both her “emotional side” and her “logical side” without outside help (for lack of better terms, my apologies). This is the Supergirl I know. These are the Supergirl moments I want!
(Plus, her badass follow-up of “We can argue philosophy from now until Doomsday! Me, I’d rather heat things up for you with a bit of my vision!” is SO pleasing for me to read. People that aren’t big Supergirl fans- Cmon, if Superman said it, you’d think it was badass too)
All that said, this fight scene is truly the only place this comic shines. The after-moments with Linda (again, ew) with her friends (I think??) are incredibly cringy with some very much not-aged-well “jokes” thrown right in front of all our salads. Furthermore, the ending with PSI going to this other dude, who apparently has been trying to control her, has the feeling of Mastermind trying to control Phoenix in the Phoenix Saga but way less cool. Not that Mastermind was cool, but at least Phoenix was. I gotta stay, that last page with him becoming this ugly monster called Decay is really something I could’ve lived without seeing. I’ll take Clayface any day over this dude!
Finally, that additional Lois Lane story in this? … yeah I could barely do more than skim it. It didn’t do anything for me, storywise, especially when so much of it surrounds men being directly sexist constantly to Lois AND to the teen star in the story. Big Yikes. No thanks.
The first half of this comic surprised me nicely with how much I enjoyed the fight scene, and how Supergirl was written as a hero, and the art is decent for the time period, but god that’s about all that holds this comic together. That said, I’ll take a well-written Supergirl (as a hero) when I can. I just wish I could get it without the racist/sexist jokes and terrible '80s banter. Gah. Also with Kara actually being Kara. P.S. - If you’re a Lois Lane fan, skip the extra story. Please.
2 out of 5 finger guns (negative infinity finger guns for the racist/sexist jokes, etc)
(because I'm bi)
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