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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Power Girl: New Beginning

Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Pencils: Amanda Connor
Colours: Paul Mounts
Letters: John J. Hill
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
Power Girl is Superman's cousin from a parallel Earth.  Her real name is Kara Zor-L, her secret identity is Karen Starr.  This book is about her decision to build a new life and secret identity in New York, unfortunately her plans get thwarted by a giant albino gorilla with a human brain, a Lord of the Rings style fantasy reject and trio of party girls from the farthest reaches of space.

Does this sound a bit silly? Yes, it is a bit ridiculous, it takes some typical comic (and sci-fi) plots, mixes it up with slice of life stuff and produces a fun and engaging book to make you smile and let you while away an hour or so.

What's good about it?
It's a fun and interesting read because it's character driven - the dialogue and art both drive the story forward and each contribute to the nuances of book. When comics are created by multiple people they can have a production line feel to them - except that no one's working in harmony and no one cares about the finished product.  But in this case, we get the opposite effect.  Connor and Palmiotti are a husband and wife team, and Palmiotti and Gray have worked together many times before.  The dialogue and art synchronise wonderfully and everyone plays to each other's strengths.

This brings us neatly on to the next point. Power Girl has enormous breasts.  There's no getting away from this, as they have been established as an intrinsic part of her character and unlike a lot of other ladies in comics, her breasts remain big every time she's drawn.

Rather than ignoring this, Palmiotti and Connor have Power Girl dealing with the attention her chest brings her.  Karen responds to other characters staring at her chest and acknowledges the attention her assets bring her.  What also helps is that Karen is never threatened by these comments, she's confident about herself and her abilities and won't put up with anyone disrepecting her.  Lastly, Karen isn't just a pair of walking breasts - her figure is muscular, she has broadshoulders and a believable waist.  This combined with Connor's great facial expressions moves the art away from being exploitative and prevents Power Girl from becoming a blank canvas for mastubatory fantasy material.

Lastly, this book has a real zest for life.  It's joyous and happy, there's nothing angst ridden or miserable about it and it's an absolute pleasure to read.

What's bad about it?
This section gets harder to write every month! What can I say about this that hasn't been said before, in other, similar reviews?

The book does have a sexual edge to it - Connor draws sexy art, but she draws expressive sexy art.  The characters are three dimensional and there is more to them than their sexiness.  This is great in terms of not being exploitative, but doesn't make it entirely suitable for children.  There are various (subtle) references to sex - these aren't gratuitous or crass, but it does reflect the sensibilities of the book.

While not violent or dark in any way, it is probably meant more for people with mature sensibilities as it does deal with everyday adult life, running a business, troubles at work, moving house and albino gorillas wanting to put their brain in your body. Trust me, this will make more sense whan you read it!.  Although cartoony in style which may make it appeal to younger readers, I feel that people in the 20-something bracket (and above) would probably get the most out of this book.

What's the art like?
Connor does a fabulous job with expressions and Paul Mount's colours really do bring out the life and energy in her drawings.
Connor does wonderful action to action sequences of panels which give a lot of extra detail not specified by the dialogue or integral to the plot, but which do enrich the reading experience.
It's a playful, cartoony style, a little bit sexy, a little bit dramatic.
I could go on and on, shwoing you all the pictures she's ever drawn and I wouldn't feel satisfied. I love her art and want to show it off to everyone. Buy this book, marvel at the inside, then go buy everything else she's done (a handy check list for where to go next is below)! This book is well worth the money.

Other information
Price: £14.99
ISBN: 1848565607
The next collection is this series is Power Girl: Aliens and Apes. If you like these, you might want to try out Terra, a mini series by the same art team (also featuring Power Girl) or the eponymous Power Girl, an older title with pencils by Amanda Connor about Power Girl's search for identity.


  1. This is great stuff - tiny mistake: You've forgotten to add the colourist's name about halfway down.

    ..or is that some insider gag that I don't get?

  2. It's not a gag it's me being an unprofessional blogger and unable to proof read my work! Thanks for the heads up, it's now been corrected.

  3. Love the artwork in this title. It's stylized but still really detailed and clean.