Welcome to The Girls of Steel Week here at the Fortress. For five days I want to celebrate the various characters that have been given the name Supergirl. Instead of ranking them one to five I am going to go in chronological order, so sit back and enjoy the various Maids of Might that have been around DC Comics for over fifty years!
The Girls of Steel Week Day Four: Cir-El
I didn’t like Cir-El.
Not even a little.
Let’s go back to 2003 for a paragraph or two. It’s the early part of the year and Superman got his very own 10 Cent Adventure just like Batman did and in that book we got our first glimpse of Cir-El, the new Supergirl and I was put off immediately. I didn’t like her. She was annoying and to add insult to injury that book came out a month or so before the last issue of Linda Danver’s series hit the stands. There is an old saying about not waiting and a body not being cold yet that springs to mind. Superman: The Ten Cent Adventure was supposed to be the opening salvo in a bold new era of Superman and while I enjoyed the book on some levels in the end I felt like something was being foisted on me quite against my will.
And that goes to the heart of why I have such an issue with Cir-El. When the Matrix version of Supergirl was introduced it was to little fanfare and became a sub-plot/mystery that ran for several months before we were given the lowdown on the character. When they brought her back after a two year absence in 1992 her role in the Superman books was minor at first and evolved into something bigger. When Linda Danvers was introduced there was some hype surrounding the first issue but Peter David took his time in establishing the character. We got to know her over several months and then they started playing with her place in the Superman mythos of the time.
In both cases DC didn’t shove either characters in our faces and yelled, “HERE’S THE NEW SUPERGIRL! ISN’T SHE AWESOME?” and that’s what it felt like with Cir-El.
I vividly remember thinking, many times in fact, “They canceled Peter David’s series for this? Are you @#$%ing kidding me?”
The fact that her first appearance began what I call my “Vietnam” era of Superman reading and collecting doesn’t help either. While I think that Joe Casey and Steven T. Seagle are both competent writers I was not a fan of their work on the Man of Steel. The stories were uneven, the art was either inconsistent or just not to my liking. I dig Scott McDaniel ‘s work when he’s drawing Nightwing or Batman, not when he is drawing Superman. I was just flat out hating the books and in the midst of all of that was this new Supergirl that had a stupid costume and a lousy back story.
The thing is I am beginning to wonder if it was really her fault. A character isn’t bad, what’s done with him or her is. Maybe if things were going a little better in the Superman titles and I was enjoying the monthly grind of collecting I would have liked her more. That’s not how it went though. Instead we got a year or so of this character and not much to show for it.
I feel bad for Cir-El.
I really do.
She never really had a chance between the quality of the stories she appeared in and readers like me not accepting her because of how she was introduced.
Maybe I’ll like her more on the second go round. I doubt it but there’s always a chance.
Well, that’s it for today. Sorry this one turned out kind of depressing but that’s the way things work out sometimes. Come back tomorrow for the last day of Girls of Steel Week where I talk about the current version of Kara Zor-El.
More to follow…