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A Look Back At The Introduction of Linda Danvers: The Girl of Steel

March 23, 2010

I want to give a shout out to Frank, the blogger of this post on my blogs and his excellent blog(s) itself. Frank set up the great Blog Crossover that kicked off this blog a couple months back. He was a great leader and it was a shame that the crossover didn’t go as he planned it, although I enjoyed it a ton. In his post he expressed a desire for this blog to do more about Linda Danvers and I agree, especially since her story is unfortunately not collected in trades at the moment and people unfamiliar with the character really need to catch up, so here we go! Let’s take a look at Linda’s first appearance in Peter David and Gary Frank’s Supergirl (Volume 4) #1

Supergirl_001_00 

That cover, by the way, is pretty freaking amazing. It’s incredible iconic. It really shows that this is a superhero who is also a teenaged girl. Anyways we first see Linda at quite the low point.

Supergirl_001_02

Right away David shows that this is a series that will move beyond simple Super heroics but will deal with much larger themes, theology and the nature of God being a very important one. This is something rarely dealt with outside of Vertigo Comics and is one of the strengths of the character of Linda Danvers – she is both a part of the Superman family but has her own unique stories to tell. If you feel like you missed something, you have, as the issue deals with how Linda got to this point as Linda does not remember. In fact, the reader discovers what happened just as Linda does. In the next scene we are introduced to Linda’s friend Mattie, who’s outfit is well…very nineties.

Supergirl_001_03

Supergirl_001_04

Gary Frank’s artwork has certainly changed a lot. I actually think for the worst with all the creepy grins he draws on characters and referencing of Christopher Reeve! Ick! So how did Linda heal so quickly and why are her eyes blue? Linda flashbacks to a meeting with Buzz in a bar, a character who would become a reoccurring thorn in Linda’s side for the rest of the series. Interestingly enough, it seems that Frank uses Buzz’s creepy grin for all characters he draws in today’s comics.

 Supergirl_001_05

 

Supergirl_001_07The first hint of how she has changed comes in the form of what she tells her friend Mattie.

I was Empty…and I needed to learn

This is extremely important clue and to truly understand what she is talking about you can read ahead in this issue, but I will just say that it has to do with the nature of the character of Supergirl prior to this issue. You see Supergirl was a protoplasmic being from another dimension who first appeared in Superman (Volume 2) #16. This being was known as the Matrix and took on the look of Supergirl to emulate Superman. The pink stuff in the shower…was protoplasm. I think you can put two and two together. The Matrix was lacking humanity and that is why she felt empty. She found it in Linda Danvers.

Supergirl_001_11

Minds she says? Another clue. You see when Linda disappeared, Linda’s parents contacted the Matrix for help and Fred Danvers doesn’t make Supergirl feel all that welcome.

Supergirl_001_16

Despite Linda’s looking up to Supergirl for doing the right thing, Linda was quite the troublemaker we learn and had a strained relationship with her parents. Once again we see Peter David expressing the theme of God that will be very important to this book. After Linda runs into a reporter named Cutter, he fills her in on what has been going on in the town of Leesburg (Linda’s home town) as it has apparently been subject to a murderous cult and Linda was one of those kidnapped.  This triggers some memories for her.

Supergirl_001_17Look how beautiful and iconic that costume was….it makes you sad to look at Supergirl today in her ridiculous outfit. This costume was respectable, iconic, and I liked the tall stoic nature of Supergirl at the time. She flys away swearing to protect Linda and you believe her. Unfortunately, she almost arrives too late.

Supergirl_001_20

But Supergirl longing for a taste of being human does the unthinkable….

Supergirl_001_21Supergirl_001_22

What a great way to end the first issue of the book! Linda and Supergirl are now one being and we are left with just enough questions as answers. This was a great issue. It showed that Linda is both as heroic as any member of the Superman family should be, sacrificing one’s self for the good of others, but at the same time this Supergirl is bringing something new to the table and a unique story to tell. I miss you Linda Danvers! Now if only Kara Zor-El would express awareness of your existence today!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank permalink
    March 23, 2010 10:26 pm

    The return! Yay!

    Man, I forgot how violent this book was. What I really loved about the series at the time was that, where Superman was always a sci-fi super-hero, he never worked in supernatural/religious stories, which gave Supergirl her niche to be more than her cousin + boobs. Also, this book was well-written & drawn, while the Superman titles were not.

    Bar none, the ’90s outfit was the best. That could have stood the test of time. Everything since is a return to the ’70s “awful fad of five months ago” outfits.

    I agree that Gary Frank’s work was a lot better before he went all-in on crosshatching. Before Kin, he reminded me of a more versatile and cinematic Alan Davis. Now he makes me think of Dave Finch. I like Dave Finch alright, but it’s definitely trading down.

    I haven’t cracked my copy of the trade paperback in a while, but wasn’t it inferred that Linda herself was involved in the ritual killings. Barring that, who was the woman helping & romancing Buzz? That never came of anything!

    “Linda’s friend Mattie, who’s outfit is well…very nineties.”

    I must have missed that part of the ’90s. I got stuck with women in flannel and/or extra-baggy denim.

    • March 24, 2010 9:21 pm

      Well I was just in elementary school in the ’90s but that definitely looks like something from vintage 90210 or a teen movie from the ’90s.

      Mattie’s outfit that is, not Supergirl’s. That outfit was by far the best.

      • March 24, 2010 9:22 pm

        And as for Linda being involved in the murders…stay tuned!

Trackbacks

  1. A Linda Danvers Look Back: Final Night « The Continuity Blog
  2. A Linda Danvers Look Back: Final Night « The Anti-Didio League of America

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