Comic: "Supergirl v.3 #10"
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Cary Bates
Artist: Saaf & Colleta
Reviewer: Max Burbank
Plot: Supergirl saves Prez from two assassination attempts, but the attempts are a hoax, designed to lure Supergirl in! How the villain, who doesn’t even rate a name beyond ‘The Master Criminal’ knew specifically Supergirl would be drawn in, as opposed to the secret service or any of the dozens of other Superheroes out there is left a mystery, but he’s already got a witch with a Supergirl voodoo doll at the ready. He combines her magic with an anti aircraft gun looking thingy called a ‘surgical laser probe’ (OW!) to command Supergirl to… KILL PREZ! OK, Spoiler alert, she doesn’t. Resisting the witches spell, she supersedes Prez to the fortress of solitude and chucks a dummy Prez into the East River. How did a Kryptonian, a race well known for their susceptibility to magic, resist the Witches spell? As the final dialogue box explains “Only magic is mighty enough to affect Supergirl-but RIGHT is MIGHTIER!” There’s a back up story where a mad scientists clones a brother for Supergirl just to MAKE HIIM EVIL, but it’s hardly worth mentioning.
Review: Have I mentioned how much I love the dollar box at my local comic shop, HARRISONS OF SALEM MASSACHUSETTS, STOP IN IF YOU VISIT OUR TOWN! (I got nothing for that plug, I just like the place. How can you not like a shop that has a life-sized statue of the Hulk?) I had this issue as a child, never forgot it, and got it back for a measly buck. Sure it’s not in ‘mint’ condition, but I’m a reader not a speculator, and an issue like this is to be cherished.
First of all, in a totally out of continuity move, it’s got Prez Rickard, America’s first teen president in his only appearance as the President on Earth 1 (Pre-crisis, all crises, it’s only 1974.) No other writer went with this idea, and Bates only did it this once. Also it featured my all time favorite Supergirl costume variation. I guess when you’re the Maid of Might and able to punch anyone so hard their skeleton pops out, you don’t worry about flying around in obscenely short shortie shorts and peter pan slippers with a long sleeve blouse. It also features the distinctive “S” as an adorable logo-type patch over the right boob.
This issue is a fine example of comic as morality tale so popular from this period. The characters and plot are just devices to enact a set of watered down hippie virtues. You can’t tell from my plot sketch above, but all that is just a skeleton to hang the kind of benign preaching no one can argue with. Prez was going to save us all through love, after all, and he was intended all along to be a Jesus figure, martyrdom and all.
My favorite moment comes about a third of the way in. Supergirl has just saved Prez from assassination attempt #1, when a cute as a button African American tot approaches them with this bit of dialogue.
“This is my Daddy’s watch, Prez! It stopped when he died in Vietnam! No one could fix it! But my Mama says you can fix any clock! Can you make it run again? Can you?”
Prez takes a look at it, says ‘No’ and then secret service men wrestle the kid to the ground.
I’m kidding of course. Prez fixes the watch as Supergirl looks on with what I can only describe as chaste lust.
I know it sounds saccharine, and yes it makes me laugh, but in historical context it’s a hell of a moment. Bates also treats Joe Simon’s creation with respect. (Simon created both Captain America and Prez, he was the sort of guy you don’t see so much of nowadays, an ultra patriotic lefty.) In his own series, Prez’s love of watches and watch making is a pivotal thematic device. Hmmmm. Anyone think Alan Moore was making a reference?
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
How could a woman who is in every way the superior of most men on earth do so much to harm women's lib?
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