I’ve recently come to appreciate the new comic series Power Girl, published by DC (duh), which concerns said heroine’s exploits on Earth-1 in New York City. This book began last year under the incredibly talented pencil of Amanda Conner, and the typewriting skills of Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti. All three have carried the series through its first year, but unfortunately, all three left after the first year. Now, it’s being held aloft by the art of Sam Basri and the storyline of Judd Winick. It’s clearly not the same comic. Amanda Conner’s art is virtually without peer, and she’s absolutely perfect for the characterization of Power Girl: kind of brash, punch-first-ask-questions-later, but genuinely concerned about her friends and juggling being a superhero and a businesswoman. The comic had a bouncy, playful spirit without feeling the need to connect itself to the overlying DC Universe continuity. Grey & Palmiotti kept the stories largely self-contained, episodic affairs that anybody could read and enjoy.
And Conner’s art…my gosh, it’s beautiful and iconic. She’s got a retro feel to her, and brings that to every character she draws. Her expression work is incredible, and between her lines and the writers’ script, Power Girl has the “right kind” of sex appeal that I’ve commented on before. I guess you could call it “Pin-Up.” Power Girl’s ample proportions are always apparent, but never distracting. It’s refreshing, and lets you admire the rest of Conner’s art. By the way, the Internet informs me that she worked on Vampirilla for awhile. I must find those particular issues!
Anyway, the winning trio has moved on, apparently sparked by Conner herself, who found a monthly book too taxing (I don’t blame her). Grey & Palmiotti have suggested that without Conner’s artwork, the book just wouldn’t be the same, and have departed with her. I agree—the book is completely different now, even just one episode in.
Winick is basically starting from scratch, and this first issue of the second year of Power Girl even details the Kryptonian’s backstory (more or less). He also makes it very clear that this storyline will be heavily leveraged on prior knowledge of the DC Universe’s convoluted backstory. This is not something I’m familiar with. For Power Girl, I came for Conner’s art and stayed for the lightweight story. Now that both are gone, I’m feeling wary of tagging along any more. To be fair, the art is great. Unlike Conner, Barsi doesn’t seem to believe in blacklines, so the art and colors look more like paintings than Conner’s art. His characters are expressive, sure, but Power Girl’s personality seems harder than she was before. Very few jokes are cracked. Sure, the stakes are higher, but I guess that’s part of the problem. I’m also having a difficult time understanding what the heck is going on, since I’m not familiar with all that Infinite Crisis stuff that’s influenced the DC Universe.
Still, I’m willing to give it a chance. I’m less interested in PeeGee’s superheroine story at this point and more invested in her double-life as the head of Starr Industries, which seems like an angle Winick is going to develop more than Grey & Palmiotti did. Still, the absence of the original team is very apparent, and it remains to be seen how well the book will do without them. I’ll stick around for a few more issues, but the book is going to have to get real good real fast for me to keep on caring.