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Power Girl #1

powergirlWriters: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti

Artist: Amanda Conner

Colorist: Paul Mounts

DC, $2.99

Oh, look! A review for a comic over a week old. Shame on me!

Power Girl is one of those characters that readers tend to find problematic. If it isn’t her convoluted back story then it’s her amply endowed breasts which have become more ample and endowed over the years, especially depending on the artist. And there are probably readers who have it out for her on both counts. Oh, and let’s not forget the tit-window controversy! Why some gay men love the tit window version of her costume is beyond me. I can take it or leave it.

So what do you do if you’re given the character to write in her first solo outing since a four part mini series dated way back in 1988? You do what Gray and Palmiotti do. Give the knotted up history a brief acknowledgement consisting of one page and some interior monologue and then hit the ground running along with artist Amanda Connor.

The writers’ premise is to give PG (sorry, “Pee-Gee” just grates on me for some reason) a fresh start and the iconic immigrant trappings of the Statue of Liberty and New York City are the thematic backdrop for this refugee from another world and mangled continuity. Just ignore the fact that she’s been on this earth for however many years, and I’m willing to do that because I’ve enjoyed many of this writing teams’ past stories and I just like the character.

Power Girl is flying around Manhattan and the action gets rolling when scads of robots with a semi retro flair, and nicely drawn by Connor, drop out of a threatening mass of whirling clouds to threaten New York residents. They’re just the most visible threat as PG’s superhearing picks up screams and gun shots from across the five bouroughs.It’s “rock-’em, sock-’em” time but the robotic horde is holding its own because our spitfire heroine is simultaneously assailed by a psychic attack. Turns out the Ultra Humanite (sporting the shaggy white gorilla body) is behind all the nefarious deeds. He has grandiose plans for both Manhattan and Power Girl, and oh no! she’s trapped and put in an impossible position!

There’s more to the story than punching robots and a power mad human brain wearing a gorilla body. In her non-cape wearing life, Karen’s been busy buying back her Starrware company and finding the right people to transform it into a cutting edge nanotech powerhouse. A company takes people and Karen’s newest recruit is brilliant and awkward Dexter Nichols, who can’t stop himself from stealing a look at his new employer’s breasts. Without so much as a turn of her head, Karen gently points Desxter’s eyes toward her face. This scene is one of two that addresses PG’s breasts. The other deals with a pompous, arrogant researcher that she’s interviewing for her company, and Karen’s collection of snow globes which is pulled off fairly cleveryly I think by Conner’s skill. Truth be told though I hope the team doesn’t resort to using her breasts as a frequent device. If they do, I’d think at some point it would be true for PG to get angry after so many good-naturedly defused incidents. Rounding out the supporting cast for now is the youngish assistant Simon and the mile-a-minute-talking Marie Lieb who seems to be a consultant of some kind.

As for continuity, I certainly hope that Gray and Palmiotti avoid getting trapped in past details and possible future confabulations because I honestly think to go that route would prove to be weightier than her two-dimensional breasts. If I want to flagellate myself with continuity I’ll pull out previous relevant PG storylines followed up with some Claremont pieces till I rend my garments and gnash my teeth. Just take the parts of her past that make sense and build on them. For instance, re-establishing her Karen Starr identity and buying back her former company Starrware. She can’t just lounge around JSA headquarters all the time without being driven crazy by Maxine and her pet monkey, can she? Well, Karen may not be left alone by animals as there’s a cantankerous looking cat slinking around her unpacked office as at least a nod to the one she had back in the JLI/JLE days.

As for the art, I think Amanda Conner is both a good artist and a savvy choice. She’s good with facial expressions and characterization. Connor’s action scenes and layouts have a bit of an “old school” feel to me, perhaps in part because her style falls more into the cartoonist camp. That’s a positive attribute in my opinion because it helps to establish a fun dynamic as well as keep Karen’s breasts from upstaging her in her own series as a photo realistic style would almost guarantee. “The Melons of Mass Distraction guest-starring Power Girl!” Maybe on some other earth or in the minds of some straight fan boys.

It’s a good start to new series for a character afflicted with confusing continuity. Give it a shot if you haven’t already. I give it four stars.

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