By Andy Frisk
May 6, 2009 - 19:54
If Maxim Magazine ran a Hot 100 Female Superhero list, then Karen Starr aka Power Girl would definitely rank in the top 3 if not #1. Hey, its not her fault that she’s drawn as a blonde haired, blue eyed, six foot tall knock-out who’s defining physical characteristic was rumored to have its origin as a joke amongst DC’s artists as to who could exaggerate them the most before it became completely unrealistic, even for the already grossly unrealistic renderings of the female anatomy that already abound in nearly all comic books published.
Karen Starr is a sum, as a character, of more than just her physical attributes, and is a much more well-rounded character than what she looks like i.e. a butt-kicking beauty of a “knockoff” Supergirl. In fact, in her own reality she would have every right to the name Supergirl as she is the cousin of Earth 2’s Kal-El. Her self narrated short bio that takes place on the first few pages of this issue explains everything way more efficiently than I can here, but needless to say, she’s been a character with a bit of an identity crisis over the years that has finally been resolved, and she’s ready to soar again literally and figuratively.
Karen, as of issue #1, has reopened Starrware Labs in
He wants to transfer his mind into her body, thus making him into the ultimate baddie. Gender identity issues aside, it’s a pretty good plan on the Ultra-Humanite’s part, and subtly and thematically raises an interesting commentary. Throughout this article I’ve made some cheeky puns and references to Power Girl’s looks, an unfortunate by product of her characterization and no doubt, as mentioned, exaggerated in order to help sell this book and any other she graces the cover of. Her body is a major selling point, but in her first issue it’s her body that gets her into trouble and causes her new home the most problems. Ultra-Humanite wants it, and not in the slang sense of the word; he literally wants to possess it. Granted it’s not because of her body’s beautiful looks, but for its invulnerability etc, but it’s not a giant mental leap for us adult readers to assume that Ultra-Humanite is quite aware of how he can use her looks to manipulate, as well as to destroy. Also, the subtle metaphor of a smart ape-man like Ultra-Humanite wanting to possess a blonde beauty speaks for itself. Lets be honest here; Power Girl’s looks are going to sell lots of issues of Power Girl, making DC lots of money. Just think what a super villain could do with that kind of power coupled with her superpowers. I’m just glad that it looks like Gray and Palmiotti are going to give us solid stories, with some subtle commentary, thank God, about the struggles that Karen, as her self and as her superhero alter ego, is going to have to face as she rebuilds her secret identity and superhero one, and not just a dumb blonde of a book, which Karen herself definitely isn’t.
Issue #2 preview image
Amanda Conner’s art is a great compliment to Gray and Palmiotti’s script. Her style is slightly cartoonish but sci-fi enough and detailed enough to create pretty interesting and detailed robot monsters for Power Girl to beat on. She also is capable of communicating the humorous aspects of this book, which look like they’re here, also thank God, to stay. Her grasp of facial expression, anatomy (yes, including Power Girl’s exaggerated, but by Conner, realistically rendered beauty) and cool sci-fi tech are perfect for this book’s direction.
Overall, Power Girl #1 is a well written, well drawn, and fun take on, in my opinion, DC’s hottest female character-maybe next to Wonder Woman-and interesting one as well. It’s definitely worth checking out, and NOT just for the eye-candy.
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Rating: 8.5 /10