A young Kryptonian’s journey through space hits a snag as she finds herself captured by a megalomaniacal space nazi in Supergirl #26. Writer Marc Andreyko continues Supergirl’s ongoing space adventure with artist Kevin Maguire. Colors are handled by FCO Plasencia and Chris Sotomayor. Supergirl’s journey through deep space finds her captured by Harry Hokum--American-born self-proclaimed emperor of the Vega System. The man of great resources and advanced technology takes some interest in having captured Supergirl. She is placed in a vast prison that she just might be able to escape from. Operating on super power from a single solar blast, Kara Zor-El has less than two hours to escape before her powers run out. Andreyko keeps the action coming in a fast-paced 18 pages. Pulpy sci-fi incarceration drama has a long and distinguished tradition in pop fiction. Andreyko does little to add much of any originality to a well-worn action trope. The story moves so quickly, though that it scarcely seems to matter. Supergirl comes across as a badass heroine dealing with a villainous space emperor. From beginning to end, the issue delivers an enjoyable space adventure. The placement of the time limit on Supergirl’s powers might be a little misplaced, though. It’s already about halfway into the issue before Kara mentions in a caption that she’s got a couple of hours left before she’s weak again. The critical nature of that time limit really should be a bigger factor to ratchet-up the tension, but Andreyko is delivering a LOT of other plot points in the issue and we don’t get as much time to feel the tension, which is a bit of a weak point in an otherwise fun issue. It’s a pleasure to see the distinctive art of Maguire return to Supergirl, if only for one issue. (Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira handle next issue.) The distinctive drama and emotional delivery of Kara’s struggle is dynamically brought to another space adventure. Under Maguire, the long-lived villainy of Harry Hokum has a face that looks like across between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. There’s a childish egotism reflected in his face that’s countered by the steely determination etched into Kara’s charismatic visage. Maguire has a very powerful sense of kinetic movement in the action scenes that explodes across the page. Maguire’s work will be missed in future issues. FCO Plasencia and Chris Sotomayor help bring Maguire’s work into the third dimension with vivid highlights. They’ve made an interesting choice with respect to Hokum. There’s really no reason why there should be a bright and garish green around the edges of a confrontation between Kara and Harry, but it somehow it works. The background tends to be green around Harry, which gives lends his appearance a sickly, reptilian aura that underscores his villainy. The spacefaring super heroine is looking good in her 26th issue. Andreyko may be keeping the pulpy space fantasy milieu rolling for now. The tour of the cosmic end of the DC Universe continues to show promise. Supergirl has been paired with interesting allies and contrasted against equally interesting enemies. If DC can pair Andreyko with a steady artist who can accomplish the dynamic balance of Maguire and she’ll continue to be appealing for a long, long time.

Supergirl #26 came out this week and feels like something of a tipping point for me and my patience with this new direction. You know what that's like, right? When you are reading a comic and you just think 'what am I reading?' Or more importantly 'why am I reading this?' Or even worse 'who chose this direction for this book to go in?' I keep going back to the last issue of the Steve Orlando/Jody Houser run. A young Supergirl trying to figure out teenage life and super-heroing. A Kara Danvers who is feeling awkward at school and maybe having romantic feelings for the first time. A Supergirl who is stepping out from her cousin's shadow as a young hero. An optimistic young woman learning on the job, embracing Earth as home, and appropriately headstrong. That all worked. Now we have an edgy, vengeance-fueled Kara, alone in space, spitting on enemies, toting a Liefeld-ian gun, and being casually threatened with rape. This doesn't even feel like a Supergirl book. She is a part of an Omega Men story. Replace her with Maxima or Donna Troy or Starfire and there is no major change to the plot. This doesn't work. Now I know. I don't 'own' Supergirl. I have a version of Supergirl I like and that history seems to think is the default. I don't think I like this story or this Kara right now. I have sort of gone along with this direction for now seeing maybe some glimpses of things which could work. But this issue seemed to tip me towards the 'not working' side of the scale. And perhaps the biggest shame is that the art on the book is so gorgeous. Kevin Maguire's stuff is beautiful. As always, his expressive work is top notch. The covers by Yanick Paquette and Artgerm are eye-catching. It is just such a mismatch with the material. On to the book.