Given the current state of the DCU I have decided to invest my energies in re-reading older stories that I enjoy. As part of this, I am planning to slowly replace my individual issues with trades, and am re-reading the books as they arrive in the post.
I did already own Power but I got the next volume, Candor, last week after reading Candor went back to Power.
Guess what? I really really enjoyed it. I remembered disliking this on my last read, so I was happy that I got a lot of out of it this time round.
A lot of criticism of this series was around Kara being bratty and angry, and not like the sweet, innocent pre-crisis version. Well, this change in character has never bothered me, partly because I hadn't read pre-crisis Kara when this series came out.
I have written before about how I empathised with Kara's anger (being a bit of a snot nosed meanie towards my family myself). Given what Kara has gone through it makes sense to me that she's pissed off, bitter and defensive.
But, really, she's not. She has moments of extraordinary sweeteness. She's chatty. She wants to make friends - she forms real bonds with the women on Paradise Island. She respects Wonder Woman. She's lonely and she wants friends. She's kind. She gets stroppy when she's sidelines or disrespected. She wants to stand on her own two feet and make her own decisions. She gets pissed off and starts hitting people when they start on her. In this trade she fights with Power Girl, Superboy and the Teen Titans. The key thing here, is that they attack first. She's gone to meet them, to make friends, and gets beat up, because of the other character's personal issues. She's got a temper so she hits them back.
The fight with the villains (Harley, Clayface and Ivy) are part of her hero training plan. That's her job. The fight with the Outsiders is a training exercise, and the Nightwing scenes int hat issue are cute. They show a soft, very sweet Kara, infatuated with a good looking Dick Grayson.
Her verbal arguments with Superman and Batman are understandable. She's not a child, she is nearly an adult, she can look after herself, both in fights and in everyday life. She should be allowed to make mistakes. They won't kill her. In fact, the biggest mistake she makes in this issue, going to fight Luthor alone, she solves. without violence.
The fight with the JLA is all dark Kara. I find this split personality thing very interesting, and I wonder if it had been done by different creators, would it have been more popular?
I enjoy Kara meeting the key teams in the DCU. For heaven's sake she's Superman's cousin! Her place is amongst the heavy hitters. She has no friends, apart from the Amazon's, but when she leaves paradise Island they stay there. She needs friends in other geographical places, unless she wants to stay with the Amazon's forever. She has been given the role of 'superhero', without much choice, so of course she will seek out other heroes, her peers.
I suppose I should mention the art. It has been roundly mocked (by myself as well) for portraying a super-torso. Kara has been given a very short skirt (and seemingly no knickers). Sometimes the art is a little lifeless, especially when you compare it to Michael Turner's art, which is in a very similar style to Churchill's. Nevertheless I like it, and there are a few panels and pages that I really enjoy.
So what else do I like? There are two things, mainly. One is that she is mentored by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. They are the trinity, it is their responsibility to tutor her. They are the most important heroes on Earth and the role models for new heroes. She deserves their attention.
But do you know what I really like? It's that she's more powerful than Superman.
She outflies him.
Les is spying on her with state of the art technology and Kara picks up on this. Superman and Batman don't.
Poison Ivy kisses Kara and the synthetic kryptonite Ivy is wearing in her lipstick has no effect. It got Superman though.
She holds her own against both Power Girl and Superboy, not through experience, but through strength. She takes control of Cassie's lasso (apologies for blurry picture).
She also escapes out of Raven's clock. No one does that.
She outsmarts Thunder (again, apologies for the blurry picture, I really need to get a scanner).
As dark Kara, she has enough willpower to use a Green Lantern ring, against it's owner.
She beats Carter with his own mace, she escapes Canary's cry, she outsmarts the Flash. She uses x-ray vision to locate an invisible Martian Manhunter. She takes down nearly the entire Justice League.
I would have loved to see this powerful Kara continued. But it wasn't really focused on again.
This trade showcases how powerful Kara Zor-El is. She is a force to be reckoned with. And she's smart with it.
And that's why I like it.