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Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #5 [Review]

Graduation Day, Part 1

Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Artist: Eric Jones
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Joey Mason
Asst. Editor: Simona Martore
Editors: Jann Jones & Elisabeth V. Gearlein
Cover: Eric Jones
Publisher: Johnny DC/DC Comics

Like most mini-series do, this one is coming to a close. In earlier issues, we’ve been introduced to a rich supporting cast of fun characters–Lena and Belinda, teachers and students, even Streaky the super-cat…as well as (of course) Superman, Lex Luthor, and even Supergirl’s parents. These characters being part of things help to define and add character to Supergirl herself, and her interactions with these characters are what makes this book work.

Having this foundation laid, this issue is billed as Graduation Day, Part 1…lending feeling to this “series finale” (though I’d hope that “season finale” will be a more appropriate term before long!). Taking elements built through the first few issues, we see payoff for a number of characters: Belinda dealing with being a duplicate of Supergirl; Lena realizing who her roommate is, Supergirl encountering her future self, even Streaky returning to play his own (rather amusing) role.

The art is perfectly consistent with earlier issues, maintaining the style and tone I’ve come to expect of this book, and havin the visual style of a contemporary cartoon series.

The story itself draws nicely on elements put in place with earlier issues, moving things to a bit of a resolution this issue. By issue’s end, a lot of the tension and conflict built up so far is dealt with, even as a new threat (that I feel I could have seen coming, but didn’t) is introduced that has loads of grat potential for the final issue.

If you’ve not been reading this series…get the collected volume when it comes out. For longtime fans of the Superman books or just those familiar with the Superman “lore,” this is a fun book for adults, and quite suitable for the younger crowd. Along with Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam, these Johnny DC books are providing much more fun in comics for me today than most other comics from the big publishers.

Highly recommended!

Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9.5/10

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Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #4 [Review]

Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Artist: Eric Jones
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Coloring: Joey Mason
Editor: Jann Jones
Cover: Eric Jones
Publisher: Johnny DC/DC Comics

This series just keeps getting better and better.

We begin this issue with an ominous scene of a student running from some clawed beast in the dark of the school’s halls, and then flip back to earlier in the day. We see that Kara is trying to solve her vulnerability-to-Kryptonite problem so that she could be of better use to her older cousin (visualized by a glimpse of her imaginary Moon Supergirl persona). Snapped back to other things she has to deal with, she inadvertantly exposes a cat to the Kryptonite she’s been working on. After Kara, Lena, and Belinda find themselves in a mostly empty school and begin to investigate, they come across a cat that seems to have Supergirl’s powers–and who they discover to have access to an underground lab where other students are being held. Amidst their tussel with the cat, Lena discovers Kara’s dual identity which puts a bit of a strain on their relationship.

This is my favorite issue yet. We wouldn’t be to this point if we didn’t have the earlier issues, as they introduced us to characters and concepts that play roles in this issue’s story. But this issue was just so thoroughly enjoyable that I’m quite sad to realize there are only two issues left. If ever a mini-series should be updgraded to an ongoing, this is one of ’em!

The art is strongly consistent with earlier issues–the primary characters are completely recognizeable, and the style of other smaller/newer characters fit in seamlessly with the established characters. The style puts me (as usual) very much in mind of contemporary animated series one might find on the Cartoon Network, while maintaining the feel of the intended media–this is a comic book, after all, and not a cartoon. The depiction of the cat is particularly amusing.

The story–as said–builds on what’s already been established. Though this is slated to be only a 6-issue mini-series, we have all the trappings of an ongoing series. Characters are changing and developing as we go along, with still loads of potential for continued growth beyond a mere two more issues. The story in this issue is at once self-contained and yet continues to develop over-arching themes.

All in all, this is one of the most enjoyable comics I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended!

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #3 [Review]

Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Artist: Eric Jones
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Coloring: Joey Mason
Editor: Jann Jones
Cover: Eric Jones
Publisher: Johnny DC/DC Comics

This issue opens in the 8th-grade lunchroom as Linda and Lena are eating–“banished” from fellow students. Belinda moves in and pretends to be friends, actually stirring up trouble. Linda spots danger and zips into action as Supergirl, saving the city–but gets blindsided by a second asteroid. When she wakes, she finds that all her fellow students are now pretty super, and needs to adjust to this strange new status quo.

The art in the issue is quite good–sure, it’s not Perez or Ross–but it really gives this book its own visual and tone. Moreso than many other comics, that unique tone is necessary for the story to work; and here, it does. I’m put in mind of any of a number of animated series on tv, while this does not directly adapt any existing series. The familiarity sells it, while the uniqueness makes it work.

The writing is consistent with earlier issues, and pulls one in–providing at once a story that one can pick up and read without having read the first two issues…but if you’ve read those, you’ll start seeing where things have been set up to have continuing impact on the larger story.

I recall being lukewarm on the first issue, more interested with the second issue, and at this issue, I’m sold. We have an engaging title character, silver-age elements made to seem perfectly contemporary, and a story with stuff adults can enjoy without the issue being aimed for adults. Ridiculous as some of the “drama” is, I can’t imagine it being anything but realistic, particularly for the age-range this book’s aimed at.

Recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #2 [Review]

Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Artist: Eric Jones
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Joey Mason
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Jann Jones
Cover: Eric Jones
Publisher: Johnny DC/DC Comics

This issue follows Supergirl (Linda Lee) as she deals with the introduction of a new rival who makes life quite frustrating for the young Girl of Steel.

The art is nice and consistent with a stylized cartooney appearance that really fits the story perfectly. This looks like it could be a storyboard for a rather entertaining cartoon complete with some of the classic visual trappings and exaggerations I’d expect out of a cartoon.

The story itself–with the introduction/origin/initial status quo set up for Supergirl out of the way last issue–is able to function very well as a slice of life/done-in-one adventure-in-the-8th-grade for the character, while introducing a couple characters that will likely be part of the recurring cast.

I liked this issue quite a bit–I liked it more than the previous issue, and that’s a trend I certainly enjoy with comics. There are some nice nods to mainstream DC continuity that older fans can get, while those same elements build on the character as found in these pages. A main point in this story is this anti-/opposite Supergirl character; something that is pulled off and makes much more sense as done here than it did in the main Supergirl book several years back.

If you’re looking for something to give to a younger comic fan–or someone you’re looking to turn into a comic fan–this is a great place to start.

As only the 2nd issue, if you haven’t already grabbed the first, it’d also be well worth picking up both in one go.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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