One of the greatest strengths of DC’s digital-first comic line is its ability to condense everything about its subject—whether that’s the goofy charm of Batman ‘66 or the nebulous ideals of what it is to be Wonder Woman—into the short, sharp constraints of a weekly release. In that regard, the first chapter of The Adventures of Supergirl is a rousing success.
Minor spoilers ahead for Adventures of Supergirl chapter one by Sterling Gates, Bengal, and Saida Temofonte.
The first chapter of Adventures, out this week, picks up right in the midst of the action, with Kara going to toe-to-toe with the old Superman villain Rampage. It’s indicative of the rapid fire pace that DC’s digital weeklies have just by the nature of their form, but it’s also really what you want from this series—there’s little downtime, it’s Kara doing what she does best, and having fun doing it. Even when the book gets down to the almost-mandatory “Previously on Supergirl!” recap, it manages to condense the show’s own pilot into a handful of pages before getting back to the fighting.
But even with that speedy pacing, Gates still packs in the personality of the Kara we know and love from the series into the short space he has. She’s instantly recognizable, but with little nuggets of backstory woven in (apparently Kara was bullied at school, and rather proficient at the hilariously named video game Street Kombat 6) that informs who she is as a hero today. From the very first page until the cliffhanger at the end, this feels like it could be an episode straight out of the show’s currently-ongoing first season, even with the focus on the action rather than the goings on in Kara’s alter-ego life at CatCo.
The one area that Adventures actually breaks away from the show, and for good reason, is in its art style for the main characters. More often than not a comic based around licensed appearances can fall apart with a dodgy rendering of a familiar face, but Bengal adopts a much more comic-y style. This Kara is the platinum blonde Kara of the comics, rather than Melissa Benoist, and the brief appearances of Henshaw and Kara’s adoptive sister Alex are loose approximations rather than dedicated attempts to capture David Harewood and Chyler Leigh. It never draws you out of the book with a wince at a bad likeness.
Bengal’s coloring and art style is loose and bright—refreshingly, almost searingly so, even brighter than the show itself can be—and it gives the series a distinct style of its own, rather than trying to too closely resemble the TV show’s aesthetic. It doesn’t really need to, as where it shines is how it nails the tone of the show, rather than how it looks.
Even in this earliest of showings, Adventures of Supergirl is a lot like the show it’s based on—breezy and fun superheroics, with a focus on a character that’s not got much love in the comics since her ongoing series was canceled last year. There’s a lot to like here, especially if you enjoy the show—but hopefully the promise spins out not just into more Adventures, but an ongoing Supergirl series in the main DC continuity, too.
Header Image Credit: Adventures of Supergirl #1 cover by Cat Staggs.