Way back in the Supergirl Rebirth one-shot, a depowered Kara was fired into the sun to jumpstart her super abilities. (Just go with it). The craft used a “phantom drive” which when operated, accidentally tore a rift into the phantom zone. If you’ve seen the Lego Batman movie, the phantom zone is where they put all the badguys. (And if you haven’t seen it, you should, it’s delightful.) This rift released the Kryptonian criminal and man-bun haver, Lar-On, who is not just Kryptonian, but also a werewolf.
Now that the Argo City cyborg attack has ended, Kara resumes her job as an agent of the D.E.O. Her next mission: figure out how to cure Lar-On.
AHH-OOOO! Werewolves of Krypton!
We begin our story at the end of another. Kara has just finished vanquishing an enemy named the Wild Huntsman (and can we please see that story?) Dr. Veritas has been asked by the D.E.O. to help them contain monsters in her subterranean facility, and this one got away. There are some subtle allusions to Dr. Veritas and Cameron Chase having some personal history (add that to the list of things we want to see) as she explains the next problem to Kara.
Lar-On is in stasis, and they are not sure what causes his metamorphosis. It can’t logically be moonlight, as moonlight is only reflected sunlight, and this is a science werewolf, not a magical one, so naturally ANY reflected sunlight (even off the ground during the day) would change him too, right? RIGHT?? Anyways… they presume there is some psychological reason for his change, so rather than, we don’t know, wake him up and put him in therapy, they ask Supergirl to help.
Has Anyone Seen The Cell?
Much like the 2000 fantasy/horror film The Cell, Kara will journey inside the mind of Lar-On to figure out what is causing his lycanthropy. Using technology borrowed from an obscure Batman villain, Doctor Double X, Kara projects a pure energy version of herself into Lar-On’s mind to poke around and punch his bad memories or something probably.
From there it’s a journey through memory lane with Lar-On’s abusive father. The poor kid is basically told he’s worthless because he was born under a green comet. Evidently, Kryptonians are a very superstitious lot, and he was lucky they could even find a midwife on call that day. The house of On seems to be in a lower economic and social class than that of El. Lar-On’s dad is some kind of tradesman, and is resigned to the fact that Lar’s best hope is to follow in his footsteps. He scolds the boy for having loftier goals than that.
All of Lar’s dashed hopes and dreams have come to life inside his mind as wolves. They chase and bully Lar’s inner child, and attack Kara when she tries to help him. Kara’s having none of it, and punches the metaphorical wolves with some very literal fists. Once the wolves are beaten back, Kara and Lar retreat to his dad’s old observatory. Lar always dreamed of exploring space and seeing the moons up close, but dad wouldn’t let him dream big. The irony here is that by holding him down to protect him from failure, he was doing way more damage than good.
From here, Kara realizes that the wolves are all of Lar’s dead hopes, and his inner rage manifests as the transformation when he sees the moon he always wanted to reach. Kara takes him on a flight to see the twin moons better when she is snapped back to reality. Lar-On will need some therapy, but they should be able to cure him.
After that ordeal, Kara flies out to National City where a fallen chunk of Argo has been made into a memorial for those lost during the fight with Cyborg Zor-El. She flies up to the clouds for some alone time when she is surprised by a visitor who teases the upcoming crossover story.
A Weird One-shot
This story was kind of an odd one. From the Rebirth one-shot, it seemed like this comic was going to align comics Kara more closely with CW Kara, which we were all for. They brought in a revamped Cat Grant, and put Kara to work as an intern at Catco, so even as an aged-down version of Kara there is some synergy. There is also the fact that she lives with Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers, who are trying to be good parents to an alien girl who they barely know.
Seeing as how this issue was a one-off story bridging the gap between Kara’s fight with her cyberdad and the upcoming crossover, it was ripe for a more down-to-earth story about Kara and the Danverses, or Kara as a student, or Kara as an intern at Catco. We want to see some more about Kara’s fish-out-of-water life as a regular girl. The last storyline was steeped in themes about family and relationships. Even as Kara was punching cyborgs, she was also bonding with Eliza Danvers, and saying good-bye to her former life. It would have been a perfect time for a story featuring Kara at home.
What we got was an odd and hasty resolution to the Lar-On problem, which wasn’t even really a problem. We did get some more family related themes here, specifically dysfunctional ones, just not the ones we were looking for. Lar-On is a victim of emotional abuse, and his anger and fear of his father has made him into something of a monster. We feel like this would have worked better if it was expanded over the course of a few issues instead of rushed through in filling this gap.
Don’t Give Up
This story is telling us not to give up on our dreams. There is no such thing as destiny. Failure is a necessary part of success. Similarly, we are not ready to give up on Supergirl the comic just yet. The ending to the Cyborg Supermen arc was a little anticlimactic trying to tie up every loose end, and this month’s issue seemed like an odd way to fill the gap, but hopefully the creative team can right the ship. The upcoming crossover promises to be a lot of fun, and we have faith in the creative team.
Speaking of the creative team, this month’s issue had a new artist on pencils, and they did a fine job. Brian Ching’s art is unique and distinctive, and though we liked it, it was a little much to take over the course of a 6-issue arc. His art is really cool, but very stylized, and would work much better as fill-in or on covers. This month, Matias Bergara’s pencils aren’t as stylized as Ching’s, but not so far away from Ching as to be jarring. It’s different, but it fits. It helps having Michael Atiyeh continue on colors to keep it cohesive.
Some Final Thoughts
No one is saying that comics Supergirl needs to be just like CW Supergirl (though if Alex Danvers was in the comic that would be awesome). However, it stands to reason that someone who likes the show might be compelled to go in a shop and buy a comic. With that being the case, we are surprised that there isn’t a stronger push toward the Danvers family dynamic, or Kara’s adventures juggling superheroing and her internship.
The series started out with a bang having Kara effectively choosing her new life over holding on to her past, and it was great. But with this issue, we are starting to feel like Supergirl is a little bit directionless. Once the upcoming crossover is over, and Kara’s next arc begins we will reevaluate, but for now we remain cautiously optimistic. We want good things for our Supergirl, and we hope DC does too.
Supergirl # 7: “Mission: Mind”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Matias Bergara
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Steve Wands
All images courtesy of DC Comics