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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Supergirl 1 - Supergirl begins, and so does Zatanna

Supergirl moves up from having the cover spot in Adventure Comics to finally getting her own book, which debuts with the Nov. 72 issue. Oddly, the cover chooses to feature a piece of machinery, with the heroine herself smushed into the side of the illustration.

Cary Bates, Art Saaf and Vince Colletta, who had been the creative team on her series in Adventure, open this issue by referring to Linda Danvers quitting her job at the tv station in San Francisco. She has been accepted as a graduate student, studying theatre, at Vandyre Univerity, 10 miles outside of the city.

So Linda packs up and moves, taking a room in a shared house. She heads to the theatre department, only to find that one of the students has been murdered. Another student is freaking out about the dead body, so Linda uses super massage to knock her unconscious. Kind of extreme.

Supergirl had spotted another woman running out of the theatre when she arrived. She determines that this is Wanda Five, who also happens to be her roommate, although they have not yet actually met.

Supergirl tracks the oddly named woman down, and learns that she has psychic powers. She had a vision of the murder, which is why she went to the scene. She foresees another death, once again of one of the theatre students. Supergirl arrives too late to stop the guy from dying of a heart attack. But she does piece together that the students who are being killed are all playing roles originated by one of the professors. Sure enough, he has cracked and doesn't believe any of these young guys are good enough to play his classic roles.

After solving the case Linda returns to the dorm, meeting a couple of other women who are sharing the house. One is black, and one is asian, but this nod to diversity will not mean that either one becomes an important character.

The issue also features a page of costumes for Supergirl, designed by readers. This had been a popular feature during her run in Adventure Comics.

Zatanna, who had had a back-up series in Adventure during Supergirl's run, follows her into this book. The opening story is by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman, with art by John Rosenberger and Dick Giordano. Zatanna is in a trance state, having opened a portal to another time period, when her boyfriend and manager, Jeff Sloane, comes over. Jeff winds up falling through the portal, and most of the story details his experiences there, where he is assumed to be a great magician.

Jeff stumbles through things until Zatanna emerges from her trance, realizes what has happened, and comes to rescue Jeff. It's a fun little piece, and the art carries the day.

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