Just to clear things up right away this is not a review of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. That review will be posted here soon. This is a review of the featurette that appeared on the two-disc special edition titled Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton.
(Before I dig into this review I need to ask a question of my audience. Did this feature also appear on the Smallville: Season 7 DVD set? I don’t own that season yet and haven’t seen the special features. It almost feels like it could have been on that set considering the people they interviewed. In case it was keep in mind this is the first time I have seen this feature and let me know if it they just took that feature and put it on this DVD set. Thanks.)
Let’s just cut to the chase.
I didn’t like this featurette.
That’s odd too because usually I love these things. I am a special features kind of guy. Featurettes, commentaries, long documentaries, all of that. I like seeing them on the DVDs I purchase because I feel that more often than not they add something to the movie. Sometimes they’re boring and sometimes I feel like they could have put more effort into them but I dig having them.
Warner Premiere has been pretty good about giving us a lot of bang for our buck when it comes to the last handful of Direct-To-DVD releases. They have been adding episodes of the various Timmverse animated series, which could be seen as just trying to plug the box sets of those series but I think it is a great idea because it does potentially expose a new audience to Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Superman: The Animated Series, and so on. The mini-documentaries have been hit and miss in my opinion and speaking purely from bias here they have yet to beat the awesome that was the documentary on Superman: Doomsday that chronicled how the creators came up with that story. Sometimes they have been pure propaganda, like the DC: The New World feature on the Justice League: Crisis on Two Worlds set. Sometimes they have been just unsatisfying like the Robin: The Story of Dick Grayson feature on the Batman: Under The Hood set but to be fair in the case of the Robin feature it was just too short and I am sure there are all kinds of financial considerations that go into deciding how long these features run.
Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton was…annoying. That’s the best way to describe it. I found 90% of the feature annoying beginning with seeing Dan DiDio and Matt Idleson being interviewed. In the case of DiDio I usually have issues with his presence on these featurettes because I see him as the personification of why I walked away from DC as a fictional universe. Is that fair? Probably not, but it is what it is. As for Matt Idleson…well I won’t get into that right now but let’s leave it at I just don’t care for the guy for two very specific reasons. So a portion of my problems with this feature center on seeing those two being interviewed even though they had every right to be there.
Then again is anyone surprised that I had issues with Dan DiDio?
The problems continued with the huge gaps in the history of Supergirl. If this was the first time I had ever seen anything on the history of Supergirl I would have gotten the sense that Supergirl was created, Superman allowed her to reveal herself, there was a movie made about her that didn’t do all that well but bless those involved with the film and then she died only to be brought back in 2004 in a new and modern form. This skips over the fact that she had her own series, that the character struggled to find an identity and, oh yeah, the fact that there were two Supergirls in the comics between 1985 and 2004 even though they were not Superman’s cousin. I can almost understand leaving out the Matrix/Linda Danvers incarnation and Cir-El because that might have distracted from the Supergirl they were talking about, but a sentence or two at least mentioning them wouldn’t have taken up too much time nor would have going into some of the specifics of the Silver/Bronze Age Supergirl.
So that annoyed me but not as much as seeing the various editors and writers defending the choices they made with Supergirl after they brought her back in 2004. I had a serious problem with the characterization they went with after Kara gained her own series. The first five issues were fine. I rather liked those but once she was on Earth and Infinite Crisis was out of the way Joe Kelly and the other powers that be decided the best thing to do with Kara was to treat her like the Lindsey Lohan/Brittney Spears/Paris Hilton of the super-hero set. I can appreciate them wanting to separate her from the Silver/Bronze Age Kara Zor-El, but I think they went too far, especially with how long she kept the, “I resent my cousin,” chip on her shoulder. Joe Kelly asserts that she is going to be a different kind of role model. A less squeaky clean and more like a real teenage girl and I just didn’t like that. Did I want a mindlessly heroic and cheerful Supergirl? Not at all. I wanted conflict and I wanted angst and I wanted to see how they would explore Supergirl’s circumstances in a modern world. I just didn’t want to see her sitting in a night club smoking and the like.
Then there were the comments about the choice to make her costume so skimpy. I had issues with that costume from the beginning. It’s too short and inappropriate for a teenage girl. There is something really creepy about a group of creators, mostly men in their thirties and forties putting a teenage girl in an overly sexualized outfit. Dan DiDio’s defense is that then men are idealized too with their big muscles and six packs and such and I would agree with that the moment all the men starting going around shirtless and sporting packages that would give the UPS guy a hernia.
I was uncomfortable with that costume and to see them defend it boggled my mind. “Have you seen what the young girls are wearing these days?” That’s a great defense. Everyone else is doing it so why not us? I just don’t buy it. Gail Simone was the closest to stating the real reason they wanted that costume. She said something to the effect that while she was not defending the costume comics are a visual medium and you need something that pops off the page. I would have added the fact that mainstream comics are aimed mainly at men from ages 12-34 and they would want to see a scantily dressed Supergirl. Apparenly this puts me in the minority because I am in that age bracket and never wanted to see that in a mainstream DC book. In any case the whole costume discussion just bugged the crap out of me.
On a more positive note I was intrigued by the coverage of Kara on Smallville mainly because I haven’t seen any of the episodes from that season yet. At first I was put off by their take and I am still annoyed that Kara has all of her abilities before Clark does (along with the supposedly funny girls mature faster than boys comment) but at the same time I can appreciate where they are coming from. That is Smallville‘s thing. Everyone gets to have either a costume or their full powers before Clark. It’s just how things work out on that show. There seemed to be a lot more to that version of Kara than I previously thought so now I am looking forward to watching those episodes even though I know there are things that are going to frustrate me.
And it was cool to see Helen Slater, who is still…very attractive.
So that’s pretty much it. I didn’t really care for this feature. I watched it twice just in case there was something I may have overlooked but after both viewings I felt the same way. Annoyed, mostly but also frustrated. I am sure there are people that have watched this feature and thought it was awesome and that’s fine. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade. These are just my thoughts so take them for what they are worth.
Tomorrow: From Crisis to Crisis, with special guest Scott Gardner!
More to follow…