Story: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils: Amanda Connor
Colourist: Paul Mounts
Inks: Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics
What's it about?
This trade collects Supergirl issue #12, featuring this Terra's first appearance, and the four issue Terra miniseries released in 2008/2009. This collection serves as an introduction to the latest character to the Terra name.
This is the third character to be named Terra, all have powers over rock and earth. As an introductory volume, we learn more about who this Terra is, where she comes from and what her relationship to the previous Terra's is. She comes up against a power hungry bad guy who has been turned to diamond by a mysterious pool located near the middle of the earth, fights all manner of monsters from beneath the earth's crust such as lava creatures, and makes friends with certain surface dwelling superheroes. It's basically a get to know you volume.
What's good about it?
It's a really fun and action packed series. We get to see Terra in all sorts of different situations which showcase her powers and her backstory. She comes from an underground civilisation which is superbly imagined by the artists. It's cheeky, very expressive, funny and a refreshing alternative to a lot of comics out there.
As an introduction to this new character it is excellent. It lets us get to know her and by the end of the book we have a thorough understanding of her personality. It builds up her relationship with another superheroine, Power Girl, and sets the stage for many adventures to come.
Amanda Connor's pencils are a delight. She draws her characters with different builds, faces and body types. That is, you can tell the characters apart by more than their hairstyle. She draws quite simply, it's not an overcomplicated art style, yet with a few lines she depicts a wide range of expressions and moods. Connor includes a lot of detail and background in her comic scenes, it is never simply just the two main characters standing and talking. There is usually something happening in the background or foreground, and as such she builds up a complex picture of the world her subjects live in. She is a very talented artist.
There are a number of other DC characters in this book, yet they are introduced and dealt with in such a way it is unlikely to confuse the new reader. The are two key things you need to know before you read:
Power Girl is an alternate universe's Supergirl, but older, more confident and much more assertive than any Supergirl you've seen before.
GeoForce is brother to a previous Terra, named Tara Markov.
That's it. No prior knowledge is needed and where the story delves into or references DC history the information is presented in such a way that it all makes sense.
What's bad about it?
Some of the language is a bit Buffy the Vampire Slayer esque and may annoy some potential readers.
As much as Amanda Connor is a delight, she does draw cheesecake and she does make her Terra and Power Girl sexy. Some people have complained that this is another example of objectification of women in comics, and as such this may alienate some readers. However, I think it's worth bearing in mind that although the women may be sexy they have distinct facial expressions and their personalities are portrayed in the art. They are not simply plastic templates and they do not resemble blow up dolls, as such I think the cheesecake style can be forgiven.
It is worth mentioning that Power Girl's costume has a boob window and has had one for a very long time. It is in canon for her to have very large breasts, and this has been a subject for debate amongst comic book fans for a very long time. Like Amanda Connor's art style, individual readers will have to make up their own mind as to whether this bothers them or not.
What's the art like?
Here's a scan featuring both Terra, being carried, and Power Girl, doing the carrying. I think it is a great example of the colouring in this book:
And here is one showing how Connor puts detail into her artwork:
The softcover trade is due to be released 15th December 2009.