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Power Girl: A New Beginning


Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; Art and Cover by Amanda Conner

Mar 30, 2010 DC Comics Bookmark and Share

The main reason it took me a long time to get around to reading Power Girl is because the covers looked quite silly. Sure, they had those Silver Age-esque colors popping out at you, and uh, Power Girl’s two main assets, but Amanda Conner portrayed our heroine in a vampy, sort of cartoonish manner. Don’t get me wrong, I love fun, self-aware titles (i.e. Booster Gold), but this just rubbed me the wrong way. Negative first impressions aside, the graphic novel collection Power Girl: A New Beginning is not too shabby. It collects the first six issues of the series and it’s a fairly fun and sometimes exasperating read.

Any review of a Kara Zor-L (alter ego: Karen Starr) story undoubtedly points out her biggest body feature or features. For the overly sensitive (and feminists), it’s a bone of contention, for others it’s what keeps them picking up each new issue. Longtime scribe partners Justin Gray (Jonah Hex, 21 Down) and Jimmy Palmiotti (Deadpool, Jonah Hex, Hawkman, Superboy) address it in hilarious and tactful ways. In issue one, Starr reopens her tech corporation, Starrware Labs. When she interviews Xander Bevlin for a job she sublty reminds him to look at her eyes and when the main villain Ultra-Humanite is introduced in issue two, he has a few jokes aimed squarely at her breasts.

In fact, several comic book review sites have discussed the gender implications of Power Girl’s “boob window” costume. Kelly Thompson of Comic Book Resources wrote one of the more even-handed columns concerning the topic. It’s an intriguing discussion that’s well worth your time.

Most of this humorous book revolves around a hulking, albino gorilla taking Manhattan hostage via his organ-controlled spaceship. Power Girl also encounters three alien sisters on the lam in the boring story that spans issues five and six. The JSA and Terra show up for somewhat cool cameos here and there. There’s even an immortal villainess named Zoraida (issue #4) that looks like she was ripped straight out of the pages of a Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. (Sigh…) Out of all the self-indulgence, issue three stands above the heap by keeping the action quickly paced and the cheesy dialogue to a minimum.

So, yes, the writing is obviously light-hearted, but sadly the through-lines feel like aftherthoughts. There’s also way too much exposition crammed into those captions and talk bubbles. Power Girl seemingly has to mull over every punch and kick as she’s taking them. It’s a shame, because the writing starts off quite refreshing, but by the time the secondary story comes in issue five and six Gray and Palmiotti are running on fumes. Conner’s bold linework and on-point facial drawing are the two main reasons to stick around until the end of this beginning. She really should be given better writers or a higher profiled hero to pencil. (www.dcomics.com)

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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