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I went into Supergirl – Rebirth #1 about as much of a newbie as you can get. I haven’t really read the character in years, only briefly checked into her New 52 version via crossovers and team-ups, and haven’t watched the TV series. So I can’t say for sure if this issue accurately reflects an improvement on the character post-Rebirth, or if things are being altered to bring the character more in line with her TV counterpart. What I can say is that writer Steve Orlando provides a steady, solid launch for Supergirl, one that isn’t going to reinvent any wheels or blow any minds, but one that nicely sets up what I presume is a new status quo for the Girl of Steel.
The issue opens with Supergirl at a Department of Extra-Normal Operations Ghost Site, about to begin a mission that will restore her powers, which have presumably been on the blink. Meanwhile, a threat that is Kyptonian in nature strikes the base, endangering the DEO agents, which include Supergirl’s foster parents Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers. From there, Orlando establishes the world in which Supergirl will be living for the new series, effectively setting up her supporting cast and her relationship with each character.
Supergirl – Rebirth #1 is a perfectly fine little comic, and as a prologue to a new series, it works well. I didn’t end the issue hungry to find out what happens next, however, and in fact the whole thing felt pretty incidental. The final page sets up some kind of mystery, one that may pay off, but the whole thing is so mysterious and ill-defined at this stage that other than posing an obvious threat from a likely source, it doesn’t really generate much specific excitement.
One thing the issue does do is be extremely new reader friendly, which is much better than the alternative. I think the dispensable feel of the issue is once again the result of the arguably misguided decision to preface all those new series with a Rebirth one-shot. The one-shots are designed to be new reader friendly in most cases, but can’t detract from the story’s proper launch in the actual #1. And so most of them wind up feeling dispensable or slight. Supergirl – Rebirth #1 has a touch of that, unfortunately, but at least it provides a good glimpse at a series that will have a classic super-hero feel.
The art by Emanuela Lupacchino is terrific though. Richly detailed, with a ton of energy and dynamism, the issue really moves along and packs a punch. There’s some killer splash pages that look absolutely great, and Lupacchino is skilled enough to take three separate female characters with wild long hair and keep them distinctive and unique. You wouldn’t believe how often in comics it can be hard to tell people apart when an artist isn’t as skilled at expression and body language. It’s a really nice looking book.
All in all, this is a solid, perfectly enjoyable issue. I can see that the direction the book is about to go in will be enjoyable and feature a classic Supergirl vibe, which is no little thing. That’s why I can give Supergirl – Rebirth #1 a 7/10.