I never read DC comics when I was a kid so most of my DC knowledge back then came from cartoons like the Super Friends, TV shows like Batman, and movies like Superman. I’m not sure when I first became aware of Superman’s cousin Supergirl but my first significant exposure to her was likely the 1984 Supergirl movie starring Helen Slater. I loved Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies when I was young (still do) and I really liked the Supergirl spin-off too. The movie was pretty cheesy but Slater played Supergirl very earnestly and forever endeared the character to me.
I started collecting comic books seriously in 1986. Despite being a Marvel kid I may have considered collecting a Supergirl comic book at the time; I was a big fan of sidekicks as you may recall from my recent Robin review. However, DC had brutally killed off the character a year earlier in their epic multiverse-spanning mini-series “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. I didn’t read the actual series until I was a grown up but I remember the cover of Crisis issue 7 quite vividly from my childhood. It featured Superman crying and holding the limp battered body of Supergirl in his arms while the rest of the DC heroes looked on solemnly. It was a pretty emotional scene.
DC killed her for the same reason they killed a bunch of other characters in the Crisis mini-series; to clean house. The DC Universe had been on-going for decades and it had filled up with plot holes and contradictions. DC wanted to wipe the slate clean by saying all of these contradicting stories took places in alternate universes and those universe were coming to an end. They picked and chose what they wanted to keep and streamlined everything. One big problem that had grown over the years was the watering down of Superman. He was originally billed as “the Last Son of Krypton” but by the mid-80s there were dozens of other Kryptonians running around, including a dog, a horse, and a monkey. DC wanted to make Superman feel special again so there was a mandate to wipe-out all of the other Kryptonians. Despite Supergirl’s popularity she had to go.
Supergirl was absent from the DC Universe for many years. Characters similar to Supergirl popped up from time to time, some even used the name Supergirl, but none of them were Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El, the original Supergirl. It wasn’t until 19 years after her death that DC reintroduced the original Supergirl back into the DC Universe. Kara crash-landed on Earth and back into continuity in the pages of Superman & Batman in 2004. I was collecting that title at the time so I got in on the ground floor for her return. After her introduction in that title she graduated to her own solo-series which I collected for a time as well.
When DC rebooted their entire universe in 2011 after their “Crisis”-like event “Flashpoint” Supergirl had to crash-land on Earth all over again. I picked up the first issue of her New 52 series and it felt a little like I was reading a story I’d already read a half-dozen times before but the art held my interest. I continue to collect Supergirl’s New 52 book and while some of the storytelling has been pretty bad the art has been consistent so I keep coming back each month. I haven’t read the latest story arc yet (because I wait for the collected editions) but she has recently joined the Red Lanterns which has all kinds of potential for good storytelling.
I’ve wanted a Supergirl figure for a long time and while there have been plenty to choose from over the years none of them have been satisfactory in my opinion. They’ve either been too bland or too stylized, like the ones based on the Justice League animated series or those based on Michael Turner’s art.
When I first saw pictures of this figure, based on Supergirl’s appearance in the New 52 Universe, I thought it was amazing. I pre-ordered it from BigBadToyStore but I was sure the final product would not be as nice as the promotional images.
I’m happy to say that I was wrong. This figure arrived in the mail a while back and it is fantastic. It perfectly represents Kara in her current costume and I’m a big fan of this costume. I prefer it to the skirted ones she’s worn in the past. I really like the look of the long kneeless boots even though they make no sense and are completely impractical. The red and gold paint on the boots and costume has a metallic sheen while the blue, and the red on the cape, have a matte finish. The body is well proportioned and the articulation is well hidden. She also happens to be very well articulated for a DC Direct figure with joints at her ankles, knees, hips, shoulders (x2), elbows, wrists, and neck.
The best thing about this figure has to be the head sculpt. Action figures of pretty girls have to be pretty and that seems to be a hard thing to pull off sometimes. The sculptors have done a great job here of making Kara pretty and believable. The sculpt is assisted by the lovely paint job. She doesn’t have bright red lips or gaudy eye make-up; the paint job is very subtle. The hair sculpt, and the shade of blonde plastic used, are both very realistic and contemporary looking.
I acquired this figure at the same time as my Red Robin figure and I love them both. They’ve become 2 of my favourite DC figures. I don’t always like the New52 comics but DC Direct is knocking it out of the park these days with their New 52 inspired figures. 10 out of 10.