Review: Supergirl #64

Supergirl comes face-to-face with the new Dubbilex before the next creative team comes on board.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Last month, I praised James Peaty's Supergirl story as one of the best stories to feature Superman's famous cousin since her reintroduction to the DCU nearly eight years ago.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite as high on the finale.

When we last saw Supergirl, Kara had briefly outsmarted the villain who had captured and mind controlled Blue Beetle, Miss Martian and Robin. But when Supergirl finally came up against the big bad, he easily overpowered her and revealed himself to be a clone of Dubbilex.

The original Dubbilex was a Jack Kirby creation and an ally to Superman, Jimmy Olsen and Superboy. And he was also killed off in the buildup to the New Krypton storyline. Bringing him back through a much younger (and definitely villainous) clone is actually not a bad idea. The preceding chapters of this storyline demonstrated that the new Dubbilex had some Kryptonian DNA (and powers) and he had already stolen some vital Justice League secrets from the minds of Robin and Blue Beetle. So, it actually looked like this Dubbilex could be a legitimate threat in the future.

At least that was until this issue, when the new Dubbilex is neutralized by around page 9 and the rest of the issue mostly features Kara and Miss Martian explaining how clever they were about tricking him… to the point that there's actually a double-page spread built around them showing Dubbilex a flashback where Miss Martian communicated to Supergirl that she wasn't being controlled!

And therein lies the biggest weakness of this issue. It's ultimately Miss Martian who defeats Dubbilex and not Supergirl herself. Sure, Supergirl gets to punch out an already depowered Dubbilex, but it really undercuts her character when a guest star basically does her job for her. This wouldn't be a problem in a team book, but one of the main points of this story was Supergirl's attempt to prove to herself that she can step up to Superman's "league."  Against a foe as powerful as Dubbilex was previously portrayed, this would have been a good step towards letting the readers see her at that level as well.

Instead we get a Supergirl who is largely okay with the status quo. It's a frustrating backstep from what could have been a defining moment for her character.

The Lois Lane B-story is also dropped almost entirely and Lois herself doesn't really do anything. In this issue, Lois is basically even more of a second banana than she usually is in the Superman books. For what should have been a thrilling finale, this is an awfully talky issue loaded with exposition. I expect that from an early chapter in a story, but not the conclusion!

On the plus side, Bernard Chang still brought his A-game to the artwork. It's not quite as strong as his pages in the last issue, but Chang should definitely get some bigger assignments after this.

Next month, Kelly Sue Deconnick takes over the book and I believe that she will be the first female writer to handle Supergirl's current series. Whether Deconnick can make Supergirl stand out from the crowd has yet to be seen, but the character has a lot of untapped potential. And someone needs to realize that and act on it or else I believe that this series is eventually going to stop ahead of its time.