Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SUPERGIRL #12 & TERRA #1 - 4

Story: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray | Pencils: Amanda Conner
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti | Colors: Rod Reis | Lettering: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Jeanine Schaefer | Editor: Eddie Berganza

My Thoughts: Somehow the complete works of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have become a major part of this blog, as clicking either gentleman's name in the "labels" at the bottom of this post will pull up seven mini-series written by the pair, and we've got more to come, starting with these early appearances of the new Terra.

First up, SUPERGIRL 12 is apparently this Terra's very first appearance, but I'm not sure I would've known that if the cover hadn't said so. She's given little fanfare. We begin the story with Supergirl -- Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin -- suffering some personal crisis and blowing off steam by dancing at a nightclub. She comes across Terra fighting something called the Empathosaur -- an empathic dinosaur -- and Terra talks her into helping the fight. The girls defeat the Empathosaur and Terra lectures Supergirl about using her powers for good before disappearing.

There's a bit more to the story, featuring Supergirl ultimately coming to the decision that maybe it is okay for her to be selfish once in a while -- but that's it as far as Terra goes. Her first appearance teaches us that she has earth-based powers, thinks very highly of Superman, and wants to make a difference in the world. And that's about it. We'll have to wait for her limited series, two years later, to learn anything else about her.

Story: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Pencils: Amanda Conner | Inks: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Paul Mounts| Letters: Travis Lanham & Swands
Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Terra Created By Marv Wolfman & George Perez

...Wow, those two years passed pretty quickly. Time flies sometimes!

On one hand, I can see why this series was omitted from the POWER GIRL trade paperback -- PG shows up in only two issues as a supporting character. But I still feel it would've been a better fit than the JSA CLASSIFIED story, given that it's written by Palmiotti and Gray, and that Conner's artwork is much more polished and pleasing than in CLASSIFIED.

TERRA follows the young heroine as she continues to fight various threats around the world, including Superman's enemy the Silver Banshee, a huge monster called Gorsedd, a being named Deadcoil, and a diamond-skinned madman known only as Faulkner. Faulkner is a new character here, given an origin -- he is transformed by a mystical pool beneath the Earth's surface -- and left imprisoned as the story concludes. It'll be interesting to see if he pops up in the upcoming POWER GIRL issues.

In addition to fighting these enemies, Terra meets Power Girl and her Justice Society teammate, Dr. Mid-Nite, and travels to the country of Markovia to visit with Geo-Force, the brother of the original Terra, late of the Teen Titans, and request his blessing to use her name. We learn that this new Terra is named Atlee and comes from a hidden underground civilization, sent to the surface to protect her peoples' interests and keep them safe.

Power Girl's inclusion in the story is clearly meant as set-up for her ongoing series. It would begin less than six months after TERRA's conclusion, so it was likely already in development at this point. PG explains the concept of a secret identity to Terra and adds that her own such alter ego has fallen into disuse and she wants to dust it off soon.

By the story's conclusion, Palmiotti and Gray turn Terra into a sidekick of sorts for Power Girl, though the way in which they do so is unbelievably ham-handed. After meeting PG briefly in issue 2, Terra seeks her out at the conclusion of the fourth installment and essentially says, "Hey, wanna be friends?" Power Girl agrees, and that's that.

And unfortunately there's some sub-standard writing throughout the series, too. Terra, who spoke in a sort of stilted speech pattern in the SUPERGIRL story, suddenly has a firm grasp on slang and sarcasm. Plus, the writers carry on the tradition established in JSA CLASSIFIED by Geoff Johns, introducing both Power Girl and Dr. Mid-Nite without using either of their names in the first issue in which they feature. Maybe I'm just an artifact of a different comic book era, but this seems unbelievably sloppy to me.

But there's good to be found as well in TERRA's pages. The artwork by Conner, as noted above, is absolutely gorgeous, and Terra's character design is equal parts cool and cute. And the story is a fun, fast-moving adventure, never lingering too long in one place and giving Terra plenty to do. "Decompression" is not a problem here. Plus the continuity nods to the original Terra (and apparently the second one which I was unaware of) are appreciated.

And of course, the final pages of the last issue turn out to be a secret prelude to this creative team's POWER GIRL series, which we'll get into next time.

P.S.: Legendary inker Tom Palmer has a son, Tom Palmer Jr., who is/was a comic book editor?? I had no idea!


  1. Are you also going to tackle Powergirl's s issue guest appearance in Harley Quin 11-13 ?
    Palmiotti and Connor are the writers, so thematically it should fit.

    Sadly Connor only does the covers, Chad Hardin provides interior art.

    1. Maybe someday, but not anytime soon. This month is just for the first twelve issues of her solo series, plus the JSA CLASSIFIED and TERRA stuff. All pre-New 52.