By Koppy McFad
July 5, 2008 - 00:54
Supergirl tries to save a young boy dying of cancer, even if it means using the blood of a superhuman but Superman steps in to keep her from making a horrible mistake even as the boy's condition worsens.
This book tackles the age-old comic-fan question, "if SUPERHERO X is so great, why can't he cure cancer? (or AIDS, or hemophilia, etc.)" Of course, such an approach risks turning the comic book into a "disease-of-the-week" TV movie which comes off as banal rather than dramatic.
The creative team thankfully, does not resort to miracle solutions to solve the problem. If anything, they make Supergirl's situation more controversial as both the parents and Superman raise objections to her "cure." The Supergirl character is still naive but her sincerity comes through the printed page. When she stands up to Superman and the parents and tries to explain herself, her arguments do seem a bit simplistic but they are also very moving, that the reader can't help but be convinced.
The art is also very understated. It does not resort to frequent extreme close-ups that highlight the tears running down the mother's face. Supergirl is still depicted as very attractive but doesn't come off as costumed jailbait as in so many previous issues. The flashback scenes of Supergirl being sent into space look very good as well.
The writer however does not give too much of the backstory to help new readers find out what is going on. Why does this one boy, of so many other terminally-ill patients, merit all this attention from Supergirl? There is also little information on this metahuman guy that Supergirl has dragged out to save the boy. Is this suppose to be Resurrection Man? If so, how come Superman doesn't recognise him. And if he isn't the old superhero, then why aren't we told more about him?
Just the same, this book is special. It tackles issues that are rarely tackled in mainstream comics-- and does the job well. The less mature readers out there may complain about the lack of action and the 'cliffhanger' ending. And maybe this kind of story can't really be done too often in comic books which rely so much on spectacle. But this issue is a nice change of pace.
Rating: 8 /10