“Good-Looking Corpse: Finale”
After a long, excellent, character-defining run by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle, this is the first of what would end up being two shorter story arcs by other creators to finish out the pre-Flashpoint series of Supergirl. The actual genesis of this five issues is shrouded in a bit of mystery – intially it was announced to be written by Nick Spencer, and he is indeed credited along with James Peaty on the first issue. The events surrounding his rapid departure are unknown – at least to me. But at the time this caused all kinds of consternation in the Supergirl fan-community, because her titles just seem to have been cursed through the years. As it turned out, however, after a bit of an uncertain start, doubtless connected to the sudden shift in authorship, Peaty has produced a pretty good story and a worthy continuation of Gates' accomplishment. It reads like the same teenage hero maturing as a hero. That is in fact the major satisfying development in this issue, seeing Kara as an effective leader of a group of her peers, the younger generation of “legacy” heroes – Damian Wayne Robin, Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, and Miss Martian. Kara gains confidence and matures as a leader by acting as a leader.
I'm not as taken with the art of Bernard Chang on this arc, however. I generally have liked his style in the past, but somehow here the finished product seems unfinished. Also annoying to me was the nagging question of why Supergirl suddenly here has the uncharacteristically short hair. In fact, per the preview art for the next issue after this, her hair undergoes a noticeable growth! It's a little thing in itself, no more than an annoyance, but bothered me nonetheless.
Incidentally, the present cover is by Mahmud Asrar, the artist on-deck for the post-Flashpoint Supergirl #1. It's good. It almost looks like a "finished" example of Chang's style inside. He even takes care to match the hair-length to Chang's. A little "fuller," less "Manga-esque," however. Reassuring … although I still hate the new costume that's been previewed. It's a shame that story-wise it sounds like the character-development of the past couple of years, continued through this issue, will be lost in favor of the angry brat reminiscent of the earlier years of this present series. Who's bright idea was that?