Friday, 30 September 2016
Power Girl, Volume 2: Aliens and Apes Review (Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti)
It’s the breast superhero DC have, the character who should probably be called Boob Window Girl after what everyone really remembers her for: Kara Zor-L aka Powah Girl!
Let’s just address the two big elephants in the room right now: her spectacular chesticles. Or really her entire look which screams porn star and/or female superhero parody: the EE cups and her killer bod combined with that revealing onesie that includes the iconic boob window and the barely-concealed crotch and bum. Yeah, she’s a walking talking wet dream. And so what? Let your SJW friend wring their hands as they log onto Tumblr to get righteously indignant over Power Girl’s look because it’s part of who she is; it doesn’t bother her, it doesn’t bother me, it probably doesn’t bother you, and this book, Aliens and Apes, is pretty damn good partly because of her outfit!
(For those oversensitive feminist types, this book actually does pass the Bechdel Test, that ridiculously arbitrary set of made up rules that are so important to the brainwashed left. AND there’s a male character trapped in a female body here too so there you go, there’s even a trans person in this one, how nice and trendy!)
Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti play into Kara’s look by having an alien spacehunk from a world where the ‘60s never ended try to woo her into repopulating his race with him. But how could he fall for her grace, intelligence and personality when they’ve only just met? Oh… And it’s that knowing sleazy tone that makes the story work especially as it gives the writers the chance to pull the rug out from under the reader at the moment where you think things could get really skeevy.
Later on Kara fights the Humanite (who I gather played a big role in the first volume too) who’s taken over her friend Terra’s body - superhero fighting ensues! Except with the added nuance of Kara trying to protect Terra’s body while figuring out how to get the Humanite out of her brain. That makes the fighting so much more interesting as it’s not just a slugfest, there’s a cerebral element (literally!) to it too.
Gray/Palmiotti also include some charming subplots in between the larger stories like Kara’s day to day routine (she’s trying her hand at a human secret identity, Karen Starr, who’s running a new startup), and a teen boy who blackmails her into making him seem cool to his friends by being his “date” to the comic shop on New Comic Book Day (Wednesday for the uninitiated).
The smaller scenes are really fun too like Kara spending a page watching her cat be a cat while figuring out a better name for him than “Stinky”, or figuring out how to eat a living alien appetiser. Little details like this that don’t need to be in the comic but show a lot of thought has gone into it that only added to the overall reading experience.
Yup, there are some campy Carry-On-type moments like when Kara rushes out of her flat in a tiny towel only for it to slip off and some strategically-placed grocery items being held by a neighbour carefully conceals her glory, and the “bathing suits” (or cellotape to you and me) she wears to the alien spa; but whatever - why not play to those readers too? She got the goods and her body’s rockin’, ain’t nothin’ wrong with a-window shoppin’! It’s offset by their infrequency and the sheer amount of work on Kara’s character anyway. Comics like this clearly shows that she’s far more than her looks.
Amanda Conner’s art is gorgeous, like it always is. She draws Kara beautifully especially as she’s an artist with a deep appreciation for the female form in its most exaggerated state and the facial and body expressions are among the most perfect you’ll see in any comic, superhero or otherwise. She likes to draw scantily-clad ladies and she does it well, more powah to you, girl!
The main storylines are a bit shallow at times but the subplots and smaller scenes, as well as Conner’s sublime art, combine to create a wholly satisfying superhero book. I’ve never read a Power Girl comic before but I’m definitely encouraged to seek out more off the back of this. In playfully addressing and working Power Girl’s look into the story, the creative team has made a uniquely entertaining superhero comic that proudly embraces what it is rather than reactively seek to change/apologise for it to suit ultra-liberal outrage tourists. Bravo!