Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Supergirl Volume 3 Sanctuary Review

Time to check out the third volume of the Supergirl series! This collection is mainly just made up of tie in issues so the main plot doesn’t move all that much, but what is the main plot? Debatably it’s just about Supergirl getting used to life on Earth. In which case, you can make a decent argument that this all helps to further that aim a little. At the very least, she can learn more about Earth’s superheroes through this debacle.

Supergirl heads underwater to discover that her ship has made it to Earth in one piece. It only responds to her commands so it’s a fairly safe headquarters. Unfortunately, a villain has broken in and his physical abilities are almost on par with Supergirl’s. How will she be able to take this guy out and reclaim her base? It’s a fun one shot story and the ship plays a big role in Supergirl’s series after this. The villain was one of the first ones to appear in the series as well so it was a pivotal issue and was handled well.

After that, the H’el arc started. Naturally, a lot of it is covered in the Superman series as well as the Superboy title so we only see bits and pieces here, which makes for an intriguing read. Unfortunately, Supergirl looks bad in these stories as H’el plays on her emotions quite easily. Supergirl never really questions the fact that he is randomly teleporting everywhere and messing with the headquarters that she found as well as the Fortress of Solitude. He seemed to be rather evil from the start and I feel like Supergirl should have realized this. Of course, this may not have happened if Superman had tried to get along with her a little more, but things are still really rocky between them so that was out of the picture.

While the H’el arc was all over the place and made him look seriously overpowered, it also gave us some of the best fights in the volume. First, Supergirl challenged the Flash. Given that the Flash was holding back against her, he did very well and was actually defeating her. Supergirl was actually trying to destroy him so that shows just how skilled the Flash is. He’s always been an underrated fighter and at his best, he could easily take on any DC fighter including Superman. While my money’s on the Man of Steel, it’s a fight that I’ve always enjoyed no matter who ends up as the victor. I wouldn’t even need to worry about plot hax here.

The second fight was Supergirl vs Wonder Woman. I may have called a little more plot hax here as I feel that Supergirl is definitely stronger than Wonder Woman, but in the New 52, Wonder Woman is very impressive so I don’t mind her claiming victory here. She certainly does have more experience than Supergirl and it was a close fight although I feel like Supergirl would have done better than she was given credit for. These were two power packed battles and they were definitely a lot of fun to watch. Supergirl didn’t get to fight Superman, but they already had a scuffle a while back I suppose.

Finally, there was another comic, which starts to get us back to the main plot. Power Girl arrives to help Supergirl fight a major powerhouse. They manage to escape, but then Supergirl’s headquarters turns against the two heroines because it believes that one of them must be a clone. It was a very entertaining comic because the ship has a nice sense of humor. It burns the Supergirls logically with its witty comebacks. The ship never gives up or backs down and I loved its dialogue. I dare say that it instantly became more likable than Jarvis or Batman’s computers. (Although they never really talk….) It may have been a little rude considering that it works for Supergirl, but that’s just the way that these things go right? I like for A.I. programs to have a little personality!

That being said, I didn’t care for the fact that Supergirl and Powergirl had to retreat from the new villain. Someone sent him to test their strength so he’ll probably be back, but there’s no way that he could stop those two. I feel like Supergirl is criminally underpowered in this series. The villains should be as weak as play dough when compared to her incredible feats of power. Whoever this guy is, the author is clearly making him out to be stronger than he should. I’m all for new villains who are tough though so maybe he’ll be likable.

Still, it seems to be something that the writer just likes doing. Look at H’el. He is apparently strong enough to fight off Superman and Superboy at once. Plus, he can teleport and do all kinds of things. He effortlessly beat the Flash and his master plan nearly succeeded. I don’t care for the guy and his sob story wasn’t great, but he does make for a very imposing villain. Perhaps a little overpowered, but that beats being underpowered though. As long as Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Superman are able to give him a good fight, then I’ll be satisfied. If any of them ended up losing to him very quickly in the main series, then I would definitely be a little sad at that outcome.

In the end, I’d actually say that this was the best Supergirl volume because of all the cool guest stars. Even Batman had a cameo as he warns the heroes that it’s almost too late to stop H’el. The Flash and Wonder Woman were both portrayed well and Power Girl also made for a nice assist. Since Power Girl really is Supergirl from an alternate timeline, it’s cool to see them interact. I’m still waiting for Supergirl to really get to meet the other heroes though as she still seems to be so separate from them. She regards them from afar as if she’s never even seen them before. The sad truth is that Supergirl may not have seen them since she is so new to the superhero gig. Still, she can’t stay a newbie forever so that experience will come at some point.

The art is fairly streamlined although the character models can still get a little iffy at times. Particularly the faces. Maybe I’m just taking a harder look at the art now as I’ve been saying that more lately like with World War Hulk, but there are some panels that are clearly off. One of them was when Supergirl was talking to H’el as her pose made her look terrified for some odd reason. It’s just one example though. Naturally, the fight scenes are quite good though and I still like streamlined art a lot as it makes the action scenes that much better.

Overall, Supergirl continues to be one of DC’s better comic book titles. I enjoyed the addition of her Sanctuary, which will make for a very good supporting cast if it can be recovered. Let’s just say that the heroes had to use some rather drastic measures to stop him from destroying Supergirl. Now that H’el’s arc is over, the series can get back on track without worrying about tie-in issues although they were quite good this time. What I’m looking forward to the most is the return of the World Breakers from volume 1. That group had a lot of potential and they were awesome. Of course, being stronger than Supergirl doesn’t seem like much of a feat anymore, but they were still a fun group of new/powerful super villains. This series has always been very interesting and I do like Supergirl’s portrayal even if she is a little naive. Hopefully she won’t be falling for any more romance traps in future volumes. If you want to see some nice action and even some well written humor, this is a comic that you definitely want to check out!

Overall 8/10

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