Supergirl: Being Super #1
Written By: Markio Tamaki
Art By: Joelle Jones
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettering By: Saida Temofonte
Published By: DC Comics
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
By Legends of Tomorrow Podcast’s Kat Calamia
Supergirl: Being Super is an out of continuity story, following Kara Danvers through the uncharted territories of alien puberty. Markio Tamaki writes a modern teen Supergirl story that fans desperately needed, a real coming-of-age story that allows Supergirl to have her own origin story without being stuck in the long casting shadow of Superman.
This introduction of Kara doesn’t start with a young girl escaping an exploding planet to help the last son of Krypton. Instead, Supergirl’s origins actually starts with Kara trying to navigate her own life. Kara doesn’t have any memory of Krypton. She’s a normal teen who wants to take a good year book photo, hang out with her friends, but on occasion has to deal with alien zits.
One of Supergirl: Being Super’s biggest strength is how Tamaki shapes Kara’s voice. Tamaki transports you into Kara’s teenage world right from the first page. The language feels like you’re truly getting a view of the world through a teenager’s perspective. Tamaki uses teen speech patterns without it feeling like an adult is mocking how young people speak, which happens a bit too often with teen stories.
This issue uses Kara’s alien biology to exaggerate how “alien” all teens feel. Just like any teen, Kara feels confused about her body and self-identity as she compares herself to her best friends who seem to have it all figured out. This becomes even more prominent as Kara starts to become sick as she gains more abilities. At this point, Kara doesn’t know she’s an alien from another planet. She just feels like a freak because she’s different from her other friends. Tamaki uses Kara’s point-of-view to show that all teens feel like freaks because there’s no such thing as the perfect teen.
Joelle Jones pencils is a great collaborator in bringing this realistic coming-of-age story together. Supergirl: Being Super focuses on Kara, but also puts a spotlight on Kara’s friends, Dolly and Jen. These girls have very different styles and personalities showcased with the girls’ differing sense of style. Jones putting an emphasis on making the girls’ style look different gives us a realistic, modern take on women in high school. These friends aren’t faces in the crowd. They have distinct personalities.
And just like the story, Jones artwork showcases Kara’s struggle with her “alien” body. The best example is with the beautiful splash page of Kara lifting up a tractor truck with one hand as she texts her friends with the other. This is a great image of Kara balancing two sides of herself, the alien side and the normal teen.
Supergirl: Being Super #1 is a modern take on the character that fans will appreciate. The comic strips away Supergirl’s connection with Superman and Krypton to show why Kara is an important character as an individual. In this modern coming-of-age story, Kara is not just an alien from another planet, but instead is a symbol of how “alien” all teens feel.