Tag Archives: Fernando Dagnino

A Supergirl: Death and the Family Review – I Was A Teenage Supergirl

Supergirl: Death and the FamilyTITLE: Supergirl: Death and the Family
AUTHORS: Sterling Gates, Jake Black, Helen Slater
PENCILLERS:
Fernando Dagnino, Jamal Igle, Cliff Chiang. Cover by Renato Guedes.
COLLECTS:
Supergirl #48-50, Supergirl Annual #1
FORMAT:
Softcover
PUBLISHER:
DC Comics
PRICE:
$17.99
RELEASE DATE:
September 15, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The most notable thing about Supergirl: Death and the Family, is that it has Helen Slater’s name on it. Slater played the Girl of Steel in the 1984 Supergirl film. But don’t get too excited, folks. Her contribution here isn’t that notable.

The book is a little scattered in terms of it’s story. The Supergirl Annual portion kicks off with Kara trying to save two wayward Kryptonians who are stranded in a bank by the Science Police (who have been ordered to capture all Kryptonians in the wake of Codename Patriot). Kara has good intentions, but ultimately ends up making what seems to be a mistake. Then, we see the secret origin of the evil Superwoman, and her connection to Lois Lane.

Supergirl #48, Lana Lang, sicknessThe main plot thread revolves around Lana Lang’s mysteriously unidentifiable sickness, which Supergirl discovered in Friends and Fugitives. After a surprisingly well done story involving Silver Banshee and Inspector Henderson (Supergirl’s answer to Commissioner Gordon), we find out what is actually ailing our old friend Lana. And it’s…not what you’d expect. All I’m going to say is it involves insects.

Finally, we get a six-page story by Jake Black and Helen Slater, which focuses on the public’s perception of Supergirl. It features a talk show host chatting with Cat Grant, an “arts and entertainment” writer whose public distaste for Supergirl has been well documented. No offense to Slater, but my guess is Jake Black handled most of the actual writing. Black has worked on Smallville, and has a number of books for younger readers to his credit. Considering it’s only six pages long, it’s got a hefty message regarding the character. But it’s nothing overly memorable.

Supergirl #50, Helen SlaterThough Slater’s name may prompt fans to pick up the book, Sterling Gates is its real star. One thing he’s always done very well is definitively making Supergirl a teenager. Some writers tend to overlook that incredibly important element when they’re writing young hero characters (pick up any issue of Teen Titans from the past year or so and you’ll see what I mean). Kara is emotional and vulnerable, despite being able to bend steel with her bare hands. This comes off especially well in the Annual bank story. You may as well call Gates “Mr. Supergirl.”

As for the art, it’s consistently done well, but I feel prompted to praise Fernando Dagnino in particular, perhaps because he did the art on the bank story. But I can’t say anything bad about Jamal Igle or Cliff Chiang either.

In the end, though it lacks a distinct beginning-to-end plot, and the story with the most riding on it is actually kind of silly, in terms of characterization, I consider this to be good Supergirl material. In a sense, this book is like Helen Slater in Supergirl. Not incredibly memorable, and not going to win any awards. But it’s fun to look at.

No offense, Helen.

RATING: 6/10

Images 1 and 2 from comicboxcommentary.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/

Advertisements

A Mon-El, Vol. 2: Man of Valor Review – Time Slips Away

Superman: Mon El, Vol. 2 - Man of ValorTITLE: Superman: Mon El, Vol. 2 – Man of Valor
AUTHOR: James Robinson
PENCILLERS: Fernando Dagnino, Bernard Chang, Javier Pina. Cover by CAFU.
COLLECTS: Superman #693-697, Superman Annual #14, Superman: Secret Files 2009 #1, Adventure Comics #11
FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $24.99
RELEASE DATE: September 15, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This stuff with Mon El becoming the main character in Superman for about a year presented some really intriguing story opportunities. Unfortunately, the creators didn’t get quite enough time to flesh out some of the plot points, and make Mon El’s time in the spotlight mean as much as it could have.

Man of Valor picks up where Superman: Codename Patriot left off, with the terminally ill Mon El presumed dead. In actuality, he’s being held captive by General Sam Lane’s forces at Project 7743. In the issues that follow, Mon El does battle with Lane’s team, as well as the Parasite and Bizarro. Also, members of the Legion of Superheroes are on Earth, and they’re watching him very carefully…but why?

Superman #695, Mon El, BizarroAfter that, the book leaps forward past the events of Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton, where Mon El’s time in present day Earth comes to an end, and we find out whether or not he overcomes his illness. In addition, James Robinson looks at the history of Mon El’s home planet of Daxam, as well as the character’s origin story.

The whole thing is…okay. Unfortunately Robinson didn’t have a decent amount of time to play around with the fact that, because Earth’s atmosphere is ultimately poisonous to him, Mon El is protecting the people of Earth at the expense of his own life. There were some lovely moments surrounding that issue in the first Mon El book, but it’s barely touched here. He also begins a relationship with Billie Harper, who’s kinda/sorta related to The Guardian (long story). We never get an effective wrap up to that plot thread. It just hangs there at the end. These are all things Robinson could have addressed had he been given more time on the book.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the Legion of Superheroes’ involvement in the story. Granted, Mon El IS a character from their time period, and they do play a key role in the end of the book. I’ve just never been a Legion fan, what can I say? And when it’s revealed that people that we thought were ordinary civilians that just happened to interact with Mon El were actually Legionnaires the entire time, it tarnishes the story.

Mon El, Parasite, BizarroI will say that Mon’s battles with Bizarro and Parasite were pretty cool. And it’s tough to pick a favorite between Fernando Dagnino, Bernard Chang and Javier Pina. They all do pretty good work here.

As interesting as it was to see the Superman book function without its title character for a year, it ultimately wasn’t as good as it could have been. It’s still a career moment for the Mon El character, but it could have been a lot better. What’s more, to fully understand what happens at the end of this book you not only have to read Codename Patriot, but Last Stand of New Krypton as well. So overall, Man of Valor is more expensive than it’s worth.

RATING: 6/10

Images from comicvine.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/