Supergirl: Being Super

illus. by Joëlle Jones & Kelly Fitzpatrick. 208p. DC Comics. Jun. 2018. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401268947. POP
Gr 8 Up—Kara Danvers can't remember anything before she crash-landed on Earth eight years ago. As the teenager struggles to piece together her past, she begins to inexplicably and intermittently lose her powers, leaving her with more questions than answers. When an equally unexplainable earthquake hits Midvale, Kara's life forever changes as she loses someone close to her and starts to uncover dark secrets lurking in town. This four-chapter title works best for readers with little prior knowledge of or investment in the Superman mythos. Existing fans will find that Kara's origin bears a striking resemblance to Superman's, calling into question the time line of each character's arrival on Earth and Superman's awareness of Kara. This character-driven tale deemphasizes existing canon and explores Kara's identity without delving into her more famous cousin's baggage. In this regard, it excels; most of the story's focus is on characterization, even if Tamaki pulls this off by containing most of the action to a frantically paced final chapter. The characters are expressive and authentically flawed. Though some of the secondary characters are from underrepresented communities, the cast is mostly thin, white, and heterosexual. The creative and varied use of panel sizes, shapes, and layouts, as well as dynamic camera angles and character positioning, keeps the story moving even when focusing on internal dialogue. The work brings an elegance to the cool, muted graphics through the artistic use of silhouettes.
VERDICT This beautifully depicted origin story is a recommended addition to libraries hoping to pull more teens into the fandom.

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