Graphic Novel Review: Power Girl: A New Beginning

Power Girl: A New Beginning

Written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Amanda Conner
Colors by Paul Mounts
Letters by John J. Hill
Cover by Amana Conner

$17.99 / 160 Pages / Color / Paperback

DC Comics

 

Listen. I need you to get over the boobs.

I know it's a hangup that a lot of readers have. I've read the comment threads for these single issues, seen the mix of raves from readers and jeers from those unwilling to give the book a try. There's been this backlash against exploitative, misogynist comics–and rightly so–but I'm concerned that some may be missing out on great, fun, substantive comics simply because of perceived cup size. Or quart size as the case may be. PeeGee has a downright remarkable Ripley's Believe it or Not category rack and there's no denying it. But like many racks, there's a heart pulsing just behind it. Several feet back, perhaps, but it's there. You have to remember that the cartoonishly enhanced pornstars aren't the only class of women with sizable chests. And Power Girl is anything but vapid. If your issue is that she dares to flaunt her figure, I'll remind you that Queen Victoria's been six feet under for well over a century. Shame and pride just don't work that way. 

I hate to start off on the defensive, but Power Girl is a truly special book that deserves way bigger numbers than it gets. When you see a name like Amanda Conner on the masthead, that signals Event Comics. Water cooler great. We know a lot of tremendous pencillers in this industry, but few can really cartoon so well. Again, I don't mean in that in the Saturday morning expressive style sense. I mean that in the Eisner sense. The difference between illustration and visual storytelling. Paired with scripts from Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, bona fide masters of the single issue, and you've got a consistently entertaining series month in and month out. Like an installment of Jonah Hex, these single issues satisfy as opposed to tease. If I sound hyperbolic, that's only because that particular kind of experience is so rare. We pay a lot for comics, and they don't always deliver in their periodic dosage. Power Girl just does. 

With the team leaving the book this year, I wanted to make sure and highlight this first collection. It stands out as one of those trades that's been hotly anticipated because a lot of readers missed the bus. We've been suggesting that people just start picking up current issues, to look for back issues, or to grab the collected editions as they're released, depending on your reading preferences. Just so long as you pick it up some way, somehow. Well, here's your chance. 

In this opening span of six issues, readers get the advertised New Beginning for a character whose crisis origin makes for a little confusion. People know Power Girl from the Justice Society, but with that team's bloated membership literally calling for beach chairs to be unfolded around the war room, it wasn't always easy to get a grasp on her persona. Beyond physique, how was she any different from Supergirl? In terms of personality was she more of a Wonder Woman or a Black Canary? What's the deal with the alternate earth? Gray and Palmiotti offer a quick and lucid introduction to the character in the first two pages of that premiere issue. And by offering both a robot invasion and secret identity plot in that same issue, they establish the tough, playful, down to earth nature of Power Girl and her alter ego Karen Starr. PeeGee's decided to focus on both her solo career as a superhero and her real world ambitions. Karen Starr is sort of a Tony Stark lite, something of a futurist without all the pretense. She wants to solve the world's problems by enabling the best thinkers of the day. This involves hiring some bright young minds and dealing with some innovative, if arrogant fringe scientists. She also spends her down time with her pal Terra, who's got a lot to learn about both crime fighting and the casual trip to the multiplex. 

That robot invasion I mentioned earlier is actually a plot by the series' first big bad, the nefarious Ultra-Humanite. In his attempts to ransom the island of Manhattan for the body of Power Girl as a new vessel for his superior intellect, we get a glimpse of his twisted origin story. In flashbacks, we're introduced to his former partner Satanna, a villain who'll play a big role in later issues. The second major plot involves a trio of gorgeous alien fugitives who want to claim the earth as their new party planet. Big, retro science fiction concepts, right?

These adventures are total romps and they're refreshing alternatives to the higher profile books at DC these days. Much as I enjoyed the heady character drama in Blackest Night and speculating about the consequences of former heroes returning from the dead to find a new place in the modern world, Power Girl felt like an escape. The book is downright funny, with screwball sight gags, madcap action, and a light, effervescent tone that feels like a vacation from the more sinister goings-on in books of the same universe.  I especially love Power Girl's interaction with Terra. They share a sort of Clark and Jimmy dynamic, but it actually grows to be something a little more complex, especially in Terra's efforts to be a hero. Oh, and look for a fun cameo from the cast of Big Bang Theory in the scene pictured. 

I'm really pretty sad that the creative team will be leaving the book and that, by the looks of things, the new direction of the book might jettison some of the comedy and relationships seen in the first baker's dozen issues. Hopefully, though, the spirit of this first batch of issues will remain in the public knowledge of the character and stand as an example for future writers. PeeGee is more than her anatomy and more than her power set. She has a vibrant persona and voice now, all thanks to Gray, Palmiotti and Conner. The character's been around since the bicentennial, but for the first time we really know who she is and how fun it might be to watch a monster movie marathon at her apartment. This is definitive Power Girl, and while her figure is part of it, it isn't even half of it.  

Pick up Power Girl: A New Beginning from Amazon


 


Paul Montgomery is a writer trapped in the body of an albino gorilla . Find him on Twitter or contact him at paul@ifanboy.com. 

Comments

  1. I picked up the last couple of issues because of all the positive attention this book has received.  They have been fun.  I plan on picking up this trade.  I hope Power Girl is able to stay relevant in the near future rather than drifting back into the background.  I’d love to see a Wonder Woman book written with this kind of intelligence and humor.

    Quart size. Good one. 

  2. I absolutely loved this book. One of the best things I’ve read in a while.

  3. And I guarantee you the second trade is even better.

  4. I loved this trade. It was light and fun. Amanda Conner is great and I will be on the look out for whatever her next project may be. I never understood what the big deal about her body shape was. Doesn’t anyone know that girl, who has to remind people to look at her eyes instead of her breasts? 

  5. I’m loving the single issues from #7 on and preordered this trade from DCBS a while ago. If these first six issues is anything like the last few, this trade is a winner.

    Well argued, Paul, and I look forward to reading this when it comes to me. Which should actually be sometime today! Yay! 

  6. Haven’t picked up the trade yet, but I have all of the issues and its a great read and absolutely brilliant art-wise.

  7. I read this collection last week and thought it was magnificent.  It’s so bright and breezy, yet there’s plenty of character work and sub plot to really make you feel immersed.  The art is absolutely perfect, filled with emotion. I never really took a lot of notice of Conner in the past, but the storytelling here is exceptional.  I’m glad you picked up on the sisterly relationship with Terra as I thought it was a highlight.  Can’t wait for vol 2.

  8. i was able to get a few damaged issues for free and i was hooked. I never thought i’d read a "girl character" comic, but the trade is pretty sweet. I’m not all the way through yet, but its one of those light yet serious enough kinda books that remind me why i love comics.

    With all the drama of real life, i don’t always want to deal with super serious events like Blackest Night. Sometimes i want to read comics and have fun doing it so thanks for making this book. 

    its too bad the team is leaving, but i’ll be on the lookout for their next project!

    I don’t mind the boobs. Male characters have been giving men image and body issues (adonis complex anybody) since their creation. Deal with it.  

  9. Read this run in issues and doubled up by buying the trade. Can anyone recommend Palmiotti/Gray/Conner’s run on the Terra miniseries trade? 

  10. I’m not getting over the boobs. They designed the character to be boob-centric. Not my fault.

  11. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @JumoingJupiter – Your fault? Well, no. Your loss? Definitely. 

  12. hmmm, let me don my nerd battle helmet.

    There.

    No it’s not my loss. In fact I gain the chunk of dough I would have spent on this but didn’t because DC is stubbornly sticking to a retarded character design. It is the publisher’s loss.

    But they more than make up for it selling these (probably decent) books to people who’ll "get past" the insane design.

    I know I’m not winning this geek fight but I know what I mean and I get to say retarded boob window. Which is a plus.

    Anyway, I appreciate your very intelligent review of the actual content of the book and I’m not going to take that away from you or from the fans or from the book. But c’mon! The character has a fucking  tiittie window! I can’t take that seriously. I just can’t. DC really should just adjust the character design so that PG would be taken more seriously. I’m not asking for the moon. I’m asking for the character to not look stupid. It’s a visual medium. It’s the superhero genre. The look of the character has a huge impact on if and how I’ll read a story. If the character’s look will negatively color my perception of the stories. Change the friggin’ look! Unless DC is *ahem* embracing PG’s boobs. Which is a decision they take and must have to accept the repercussions of that. If one of the character’s central deifining qualities is her cup size you will never ever ever going to get over that. It’s attaching a ball and chain to the character’s foot. No amount of positive reviews will fix that.

    Until Supergirl grows up and quits wearing a cheerleader outfit, she will always carry around a connotation of white jailbait ass. Same for PG, unitil the fix her design she’ll always the superhero with a retarded boob window.

    Sorry I pissed on your party. If we ever meet, you’ll see I’m actually a really nice guy. 😛

  13. @jumpingJupiter: Again, your loss.

  14. @Conor: See, I know what you’re saying but you’re making it sound like I’m the one who is being a douchebag here a little but. And I kind of resent that. I don’t think it’s unreasonable of me to not buy a book because I think the character is stupid looking. And I did express my opinion fairly intelligently. At least I tried.

    "It’s a visual medium. It’s the superhero genre. The look of the character has a huge impact on if and how I’ll read a story."

    Anywa, I know it’s annoying when you’re a fan of something and you’re trying to be enthusiastic and some dude comes around and says "yeah but boob window". I know, I’m an Iron Man fan and you can barely find an Iron Man that doesn’t disintegrate into CW.

    So, I stuck my head out trying to explain my opinion, you said: "your loss". So whatever, now I’m cranky.

  15. All that stuff you’re saying about what people think of you and your opinions, you’re the only one saying that.

  16. Jeez-o frig!

  17. The boob thing becomes a non-issue as soon as you open an issue and realize it’s damn good.

    I jumped in on issue #7 and can’t wait to get this trade in the next week or two. Cool review.

  18. @jumpingjupiter

    How do you take Superman seriously when he wears underwear on the outside?

    How do you take Spider-man seriously when his origin is getting bit by a radioactive spider?

    How do you take Batman seriously when he can take blows from Omega-class villains even though he has no powers?

    All MU/DCU superhero comics are inherently silly. This one tries to embrace the silly. And for most of us, it succeeds.

  19. Most men don’t understand how sexist and demeaning that is to women. But we should rise above it and at least try. I know it’s hard. (That’s what she said).  

  20. @jumpingjupiter

    if you have a problem with Power Girl and her boobs do you have a problem with every male superhero and their ridiculous muscles and cod pieces? There is a legitimate psychological disorder called the "Adonis Complex". There have been books written about it and they directly tie superhero physique to men’s impractical body image and steroid abuse.

  21. @fnord

    You wanna try demeaning to women? Try Last Days of American Crime. Man, oh man. 

  22. @wallythegreenmonster: Well, the difference betwen men and women in comics is that even though they both have unrealistic bodies, only one of them is pervasively sexualized. It’s not a fair comparison.

    But let’s get back to talking about how awesome this book is.

  23. I don’t wanna start a war here or anything, but I gotta say that I agree with @JumpingJupiter on this one. I mean, can we all agree that it’s a bad design? I don’t think that it should necessarily stop someone from reading the comic, and I’m not saying that people who love the book shouldn’t. What I AM saying is that I can totally understand why someone wouldn’t be able to take a book seriously with a character in a costume that exists purely for titillation.

    NOT that there’s anything wrong with titillation, or that PG herself isn’t a well-rounded, empowered character, but I had to laugh every time Conner would bring this book up on the show and say that she was "always drawn in a position of power," thereby avoiding the costume issue. Say what you will about the character herself, but it was the creators who actively chose to keep that design. Maybe they want to make the point that it is empowering for a full figured woman to show off her form, which I totally agree with, but certainly one can understand how it may equally come off as exploitation.

    Beyond that, I picked up a few issues here and there of this book. It was a fun, but it just never stuck with me for whatever reason. I don’t think the costume was to blame for that. Just a general lack of interest. The art is outta this world, though. I wish Amanda Conner would get a lot more work.

  24. @CaseyJustice: She is always in power in the book. The men around her are always portrayed as foolish. Her costume is not any more or less ridiculous than 90% of female superhero costumes.

  25. I will be getting this.

  26. First sentence somes it up: "Get over the boobs."

    I jumped on after hearing a lot of positive things on the podcast at about issue 7. Also, picked up the trade from DCBS, and it continues to impress. The boobs don’t bother me. In fact, I like them.

  27. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I just want to say that I do understand where readers like CaseyJustice and JumpingJupiter are coming from and that I don’t want to portray people of similar opinions as being the bad guys. There’s no denying that the costume is a little ridiculous, but the character has a sense of humor about herself. That costume, that look, sort of goes hand in hand with the tone of the book. And even if you disagree with her choice to dress that way (her choice because she seems happy and confident with the outfit), it’s just one aspect of the character.  

    RocketRacoon gets a high five for freely admitting to liking the boobs. Because there is genuinely nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t mean the boobs are the only thing to like. Read the book and you’re likely to fall in love with the character and her disposition and forget about those boobs entirely for pages at a time. Hell, we’re talking about anatomy she was born with, and to suggest that she ought to hide or disguise aspects of her body, in my mind, is kind of the wrong message. She’s proud of what she has, so why should we hold that against her? 

    I’m saying, don’t throw out the baby with the boob water.  

  28. I might check this out

  29. Most of you are misunderstanding my opinion on this and most of you don’t dismiss so thank you.

    P.S: I frigging love boobs. But a character design that incorporates a target that says "look at the big tahtahs". Means I look at the big tahtahs and that is basically sending the message tha the character has one dimension called "jugs". It’s about perception and I think it’s up to the creators to help me along on how they want their character perceived. Just give her a scoop neck. It would no longer be a window at least. But no, they choose to give her monumental titties and put window on them. So what I see are the big tahtahs. The story is hiding behind the tahtahs, you made that clear. Tone it down with the titties and I’ll read your story. That’s just how I roll.

    Anyway, I’m done with this.

  30. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I have no idea if Palmiotti, Gray, or Conner have any say in doing a complete overhaul of the costume or even deciding to keep it the same. It’s not creator-owned, so I don’t know what’s involved in that. Either way, it’s unfair to saddle them with grief over a design that’s over thirty years old.  

  31. Gah, I keep getting sucked in. I’m lumping the editors in with "creators". DC is not so huge an office. They changed Superman’s costume for crying out loud. This a C-list character. Wouldn’t make the news if she went down a cup size and closed the window.

  32. I think they’d have a hard time changing the costume at this point. Eventually characters become so identified with a particular look that changing it will only be a detriment to the character. I’m sure if they came up with some awesome new design and reduced her bust size you’d just have people complaining that they’re defeminizing her. It’s a lose-lose situation. Best thing to do is just deal with it and try to create a series like this one that overcomes the ridiculousness.

  33. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Costume’s one thing, but don’t demonize her because she’s got a big chest. My point is that there are women who look like that, relatively speaking. It’s not a point of shame, or at least it shouldn’t be. It wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable to be disappointed if they did hypothetically alter her physique, because it’d be saying that a girl with big tits can’t or shouldn’t be taken seriously or given the time of day. just doesn’t sit right with me.  

  34. @JJ-I call into question your love of boobs.

  35. @Paul re big chest: Fair enough. I’m out of line there. 

    Now if we can see more small chest women superheros, we win the war… 🙂
  36. The most important thing about this book, is how much fun it is. Everything else is secondary. 

    I’m sorry that we’ve come to the point where it’s uncouth to enjoy an artistic representation of a woman who happens to have larger breasts than the average woman. I wonder if Amanda Connor felt as if she was doing something wrong when she drew this book.

    Does anyone know if she used a model as reference? That model should be ashamed of herself. 

  37. Love this series in a big way. Amanda Conner is the queen of the realm that is "Blair’s ArtWorld". She is by far, the best example of living in between the world of "realistic" and "cartoon-y". I wish she would either get higher profile books or that we could find a way to clone her so we could get more from her on a monthly basis. Quality and Quantity! I’m not picky, right?

  38. I’ve got absolutely no problem with a gorgeous, empowered woman being proud of how she looks.  Power Girl is exactly that, it’s not different from a good looking guy dressing well to show off his physique.

    A bubble-headed moron doing it on the other hand (from both genders) is a total shame.  Should PG be embarassed she’s got huge breasts?  Hell no.  That would be totally out of character and at this point it’s a trademark.

    There was even an issue of JSA or something that explained the window, it was there initially because she didn’t feel she’d earned the right to wear the S shield.

  39. DC new event: Boob war! Just think of the tie-ins.

  40. I’m more of a Ass war! man myself.

  41. Truthfully I’d take great leg with nerdy glasses and a good taste in Gene Wilder movies…war. But that’s a personal taste thing, and I don’t see a major comic company folding to my whim. 

  42. May I respectfully request guys in rumpled white dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up and mussed-up hair! war?  Jeffrey Dean Morgan in ‘The Losers’ versus David Tennant in ‘Hamlet’ — "go!"

    Obligatory on-topic — I bought the ‘Power Girl’ trade today at the recommendation of many many people associated with this site and am completely looking forward to it.

  43. I tried, to be straight up and discuss this touchy subject with as much candor and honesty as I could knowing tyhat this is a cool and open community, but this thread kind of proves what I’m trying to say. It’s too easy to make boob jokes and get caught up in the silly costume issues and whatnot for this character to ever be taken to a serious level without great difficulty and unecessary writing acrobatics. Even the reviewer had to address this in his very enthusiastic and smart review. He cracked at least 3 boob jokes in the first paragraph. He even implies that to enjoy this story you need "to get over the boobs". It doesn’t matter if it’s "right" or "wrong", I say change the design so we don’t have to get over the boobs. It would serve the character and the stories much better. This is a mainstream comic book competing with I don’t know how many intellectual properties. This is gonna get canceled and fans will blam on people not beinf able to get over the boob window. Should DC stick with a character design that will harm the character in the long run (lagging sales)?

    On the other hand, if you tell me the whole tittie thing actually helps the character, that’s another thing but I doubt you can make a convincing argument about it. I think in this case sex does not "sell". I think in this case it hurts the chartacter. She is perceived as boob-girl. I say help power girl by updating her costume.

    I’m not talking gender politics here. I’m nerding out comic books. Some of you assumed I had a problem with the way women are being portrayed or that I was anti-boob or whatever. The reviewer understood my point and disagreed and actually maintains that the look should stay as it is an important part of the character. That’s cool geekery. But don’t semi-attack the politics I never discussed here. I’m talking comic books.

    To put a cap on it (I’m really done this time). I say tweak the character design to increase it’s mass appeal (even if boobs are awesome, many readers still think of PG as a joke). It’s what’s best for the character. Batman went from grey-blue to grey black, it’s a good change what with being an avenger of the nigh and whatnot. If I’m E-I-C at DC, Power Girl gets a new top and more good stories.

    At this point I’m seriously tempted to pick up a couple back issues and review them just for the hell of it, so there. You won. 😛

  44. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    What I come away with is that you’re going to try it out. So, yay!

  45. @jumpingJupiter: Well be careful, cause that redesign could be worse, they may just put her in the gimp costume from Pulp Fiction, to which we don’t see any skin at all, just a giant black leather person.

    Honestly there are jokes, but nothing wrong with jokes (not that you’re sayin there IS something wrong with jokes) but these are comics, they’re silly and fun. I’ll be up front in saying I’m not reading PG. Not because I don’t want to though, it’s more of a $ issue. I will more then likely pick up the trade. And if someone can’t get past a costume and that’s why they don’t pick up a book, then that’s silly and I’d love to see their collection to point out inconstancies in their argument. I’d also argue you can see more flesh walking down Melrose and Sunset any given day of the week, but that’s because I live in California, it’s warm down here and everyone wants to be an actress or model. 

    Truthfully everyone has a silly stupid costume, it’s just what you can and can’t get past. If you can’t get past a boob window then that’s fine, others can though. And let’s be honest, wouldn’t we rather have this costume then a redesign turning her into "Electric Power Girl" or "Armored Power Girl". And even if they DID do that, what’s the one thing that you know would stay? Boob window. Because it’s her trade mark.

  46. Great book.. great review @PaulMontgomery .. I picked this up at issue one and have gleefully picked up every issue since. I’ll also say that I’m disappointed there won’t be many more issues to enjoy from the current creative team, but I fully understand why.

    @JumpingJupiter  I get what you’re saying. Really.. I do. But the book honestly isn’t all about boobs.  It’s no more about boobs than Christina Hendricks is.  Should we petition AMC to help her with a breast reduction so she’s less busty? Should we petition DC to re-alter Carol Ferriss’ costume in Blackest Night? Maybe they could give her more clothes in a reprint.  I tend to believe we bring to the book all our own preconceived notions about image.  Your filter makes it hard to see past the character design.. I respect that. I’m also glad you’re going to check out the title.

  47. It’s just like in real life.

    I, like most people I imagine, make a snap judgment based on how people look when I see them on the street or first meet them.  That said, once I get to know someone if they’re interesting, funny, nice, or any combination thereof I don’t really give a crap what they look like.

    Powergirl is that girl you look at and assume she’s just out for attention, but then you get to know her and she’s totally awesome.

  48. @Paul: Keep your pants on I said I was tempted. 😛 But because you were cool with me, I’ll check the bin for cheapies.

  49. @ Siraim: I didn’t know Christina Hendricks. Thank you to you and google.

  50. Excellent review Paul. I completely echo your sentiments. This book was a treasure, and one I almost missed for some of the reasons your articulate. I’ve never considered myself a "Power Girl fan" but after the first issue got such positive feedback from folks whose opinions I value, I picked up the 1st and 2nd issues off the stands and tried it. I WAS FLOORED. It’s a perfect mix of humor, whimsy and action. You can tell this was a collaborative work where Amanda, Jimmy and Justin were totally simpatico. I’ll hold these twelve issues in the highest regard for a long time to come.

  51. @jumpinjupiter You’re not alone.  Jeannette Kahn, DC’s long time publisher and one of the good guys in comics according to a lot of creators, objected that the costume was sexist and had artists close the window.   

  52. You know what helps make me fully believe this isn’t a cheesecake title and it’s about strong, character stuff? That panel Paul provided for us. To me, that is a small taste to show how Palmiotti, Gray, and Connor handled this series. Cause its a nice touch to just make Power Girl dress like that in real life. Nothing outlandish, nothing sexy; just her wearing regular attire with a matching scarf.

    I really want to pick this up cause everyone just loves it to death. Hopefully the LCS will have this for FCBD cause I think I need to read this.

  53. First things first… Paul, this is a great review. I adore this book. It’s one of my favorite titles and I always get excited the week it comes out. YAY POWER GIRL!

    Now, onto the "issue" of boobs. Breasts are a physical feature. Having big boobs is like having a big nose – they’re out there front and center and you can’t exactly hide them. So, as with any physical feature, you can be self conscious about it and try to draw as little attention as possible to it. Or you can embrace who you are and celebrate your features. Like @gobo said, Power Girl is an empowered woman who is proud of who she is and how she looks. Having the creators redesign her so her chest isn’t as big or her costume covers her up more is a disservice to the character – and one of the greatest strengths of this book is the characterization. YAY BOOBS!

  54. Hell of a review. This is going on my birthday wish list.

  55. Well-endowed females, like anyone, are real people… and fictional characters who happen to be well-endowed females can be portrayed as real people as well, clearly.

    But, see, nobody here is claiming that this is not the case.

    The only claim that I see that @JumpingJupiter is making is that the design that DC has decided to stick with for Power Girl (ridiculously endowed even by comic book superheroine standards, peek-a-boo costume) is going to cause the character to be stuck with the "cheesecake" stigmata no matter how well-written her adventures are.  I don’t disagree with that sentiment.

    Quick, without Googling it: who is Power Girl’s arch-nemesis?  What city is her base of operations?  What is her exact power set?  Who are her allies?  What is her secret identity?

    Did all of you know the answer to all of those questions?

    Now, quick, again without Googling it: does Power Girl have giant breasts and a see-through costume?

    Did you all know the answer to THAT question? 

    The endowments and the costume are part of the character.  I’m not saying that they are offensive and that they should be changed (in fact, I’ll say the opposite; those features absolutely SHOULDN’T be changed), and I’m not saying that good, compelling stories can not be written about a character of Power Girl’s exaggerated physicality.  What I AM saying is that it’s not fair to be snide to somebody who says they have a hard time getting past that physicality and the free-show costume, because that’s specifically how DC decided to publish the character, and if that character doesn’t appeal to a potential reader for those reasons… well, that’s the right of the reader, and it’s unfair to be snobbish to them if they make that choice.  If the reader is not interested in the character because of the way the publisher and creators decided to present the character’s visual representation, that’s on DC, not the reader.

    Also, Power Girl should not be "embarrassed" by her physique… because she’s a fictional character who can’t actually be embarrassed.  The authors and publisher could choose for the character to either BE embarrassed or NOT BE embarrassed… and either choice could lead to compelling stories, frankly, which is the only goal here.  Moral victories are for real life.  Compelling conflict, both external and internal, including being embarrassed by one’s own physicality, is the fuel that drives good storytelling, as we all know, clearly.

    And finally, let’s not say that Power Girl can’t control how she looks… if she were a real person, then no, she couldn’t, not entirely… but DC is the publishing entity in control of the fictional character of Power Girl, and if they wanted to change the look of that fictional character, they could.  I’m not saying that they should, and I’m not saying that such an action wouldn’t fundamentally change who the character is and betray her dozens of fans… but they COULD change her appearance.  They choose not to.

  56. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Okay.

  57. @Race: No one’s been snide at all.

    Lots of people here freaking out over nothing.

  58. @conor – We’ll agree to disagree about the snideness.  

  59. @Race: That all depends on who you’re calling snide.

  60. Dude, seriously. Who is better than Amanda Conner? Did anybody read the Terra mini that came out right before PG? I actually liked it a lot.

  61. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Casey – Terra also ties into this series. Very much connected. 

  62. I love Power Girl as a character.

    I love the book.

    I love the boob window.

     

  63. This thread is nearly as fascinating as the actual book.

  64. @Race I couldn’t answer that question about oh… 80% of the DC universe and 60% of the Marvel one. Could I describe almsot every single person’s costume though? Hell yes.

    Plastic Man? No idea about any of those things but his powers

    Wonder Woman? I don’t really know ANY of those things since her powers have been somewhat fluid… can she fly? Does she still need an invisible jet?

    I can describe both of their costumes pretty damn well though.

    If you’re read the book and are still complaining about the boob window? Well maybe I can take you seriously.  If not? You’re just being superficial and judgmental.

  65. I’m with Timmy on this!

  66. Boob. For or against?

  67. Definitely for!

    My wife is a feminist and she enjoys this comic.  The boobs are a gimmick, yes, but there is so much more to her character.  I dismissed this book early on for reasons of thinking the book was simply a comic fan sexual fetish book.  When Conor made one of the issues his pick, that’s when I gave the book a chance.  I don’t see Conor as the type of person that would objectify women, so I thought that there was obviously more to the story.  Even if Winnick flops the book, at least the first 12 issues will be a highly cherished relic of my comic collection. 

  68. Also, the kitty humor is what actually sold me on the book.  I love my kitty.

  69. @vadamowens I would read a comic about that cat if Amanda Conner drew it.

  70. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I do love that page where they’re bathing the cat in the sink. That was a real standout. 

  71. yes the boobs are a gimmick, but from what I’ve read of the series, it seems to me that they are approaching the character as "that good looking woman who’s trying to be taken seriously in a man’s world". She has challenges as a hero and as her secret identity with men talking down to her and only seeing boobs instead of what she is all about. This is a legit problem for many women in the world. without giving any spoilers away there are some key moments even in the first few pages, where you begin to understand this. (hint: the interviews) I think what they are doing is fine and i think it gets a free pass since a woman is the artist. 

    I don’t know if they should change the costume. Its how everyone knows her. I mean even Alex Ross draws her in that costume like that. 

    If you take a step back, almost every super hero costume is completely stupid. If you saw someone walking down the street in spandex and a cape you’d laugh your butt off at them. If its an art thing, i can  understand that because I have discounted many a hyped book due to art i didn’t like. If its just a costume thing, than i to each their own, but you should reconsider. Its great fun, and as i said before, its one of those books that reminds me why i love comics.  

  72. The boob window is also a great disguise, no one would ever notice her face so she doesn’t need glasses or anything when she’s out of costume!

  73. @gobo- Wouldn’t that be a funny scene, if she reveals her secret identity to someone in her civilian garb and they don’t believe her, but then she pull her shirt open like Superman with an eye roll? "Oh my god! You ARE Power Girl!"

  74. I have no problem with the boobs.  I have no problem with the Power Girl character.  I dig Amanda Connor’s art.

    What does however fascinate me is that some of those on this site who have been hyper-critical of "cheesecake" comics in the past, seem to give this book a free pass for some reason.  This seems entirely hypocritical.  Perhaps the fact that artist is herself a female justifies it in their minds.

    P.S. – I also have no problem with a bit of "cheesecake" (but let’s call it what it is).

     

  75. @zenman: It probably helps that the book isn’t in any way exploitative.

  76. I really love this book, and it’ll be a trade I’ll be recommending to friends. 

  77. Gobo mentioned it in passing earlier, but the boob window is explained in a rather succinct and touching way in JSA:Classified issues 1-3 by Geoff Johns (who you all love) and Amanda Conner.

    Don’t believe me?  Read it.

  78. If people are so worried about PG’s boobs, then why isn’t there more outrage about characters like Witchblade or the latest Star Sapphire costume travesty?  

  79. @Caseyjustice : that would be pretty funny. Another intresting situation would be if by some freak accident she gets her buxom figure temporarily reduced. Think of her reaction to nobody paying attention to her.

  80. @Conor – Fair point.  From what I understand PG is actually a fairly "empowered" female in this title (i.e., I believe she’s the President/CEO of her own company if I’m not mistaken).  Also agree that this book should be judged on the merits of its art and writing, which by all accounts are very good, and not primarily on costume design.

    Re: the costume design, we probably should all remember that this is just good marketing by DC.  Comic readers are mostly a male audience that trend younger in age.  When the target market is scanning the LCS "racks" (pardon the pun) do you think MOST are more likely be drawn to the cover of the busty hot girl (or a frumpy variant devoid of curvacious goodness)?  As highminded as we all try to be, clever marketers know how to play on our subconscious, primal male natures (the basis of just about male oriented product on the market today).

  81. So I picked up issue 2.

    It’s got a cool tongue-in-cheek b-movie energy to it. Kind of like a toned down Pam Anderson as Barb Wire but with smarts. The bubbly art is pretty cool. Very expressive. Power girl is buxom and fun looking. The story telling and pencilling isn’t sexually unbalanced. Can’t say I thought the issue was great. It’s not really the type of story I like to read but it’s well crafted for sure. Yay albino Gorillas!

    I thought more about why the tittie window makes such a big impact in the comic-book community and I think in the standard current superhero landscape, the emblem or logo of a character is on the chest. Supes has the S, Bats has the bat-symbol, Flash, GL, WW Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man etc all have their identifying mark on their chest. PG’s boob-window  probabnly infiltrates itsefl into the psyche as the characters emblem both because it’s a powerful statement and it’s visually off-beat. It very much creates the impression that PeeGees tits are the character’s central identity characteristic. You associate that character with it’s emblem, ie. giant breasts. I believe in the power of design and symbols. I think this character has too much to overcome if her logo remains her tits.

    It’s an unfortunate design decision because the character has a lot of potential. PeeGee runs a higher risk of being pigeon-holed than most other female superheros.

    I say try the book, it’s not bad and it might be for you. Not my first recommendation when it comes to female superheros. Not really my thing as far as comic-books go.

    Anyway, thank you.

    And P.S.: The Star Saphires look retarded. I would not be interested in a Star Sapphire on-going or mini-series for instance. I like comic-books as much for the visuals as for the stories.

  82. Somebody say boobs?

  83. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @JumpingJupiter – This is what I’m hearing: "This is a decent book about an empowered female character. It is smarter than I thought it might be. I’m worried that the character will not be able to overcome the prejudices I’ve formed about it even though I just said the story and art have more substance than that. Even though several other people in this thread have defended the book because they don’t have these same prejudices, I’m still worried that OTHER people, not me, mind you, will only be able to see the character as a dumb, buxom blonde. I’m above that, of course, but OTHER people WILL think this, so let’s forget that the book is good and do a redesign, of hell, abandon the character entirely, because OTHER people, not me, can’t get past the fact that some women are born with large chests. And, well, shame on them. The OTHER people, and maybe those women too. Because even though they might think they deserve to see women who look like them, or women who take pride in their bodies and their sexuality, OTHER people, not me, just can’t get over it."

    That’s what I’m reading in these comments.  

  84. I wrote a post, then erased it. I’ll send an email to you instead. You guys deserve not to hear my bitching anymore. 🙂

  85. I like good stories. I like good art. I like good characters. I like boobs. I see no problem.

  86. Thanks for responding to my emails. You’re a cool dude Mr. Montgomery.

  87. @JJ  I think there’s actually a version of her origin where she tore out the section where her "S" logo would be as a statement on feeling she’d lost her identity.  That might be a questionable rationalization, but I liked the thought behind it.

    I just read this trade and it was really not at all what I expected.  There’s a lot of substance to it; it felt like it took some time and thought to read, unlike a lot of the decompressed comics I’m used to.    

    For what it’s worth, I went in hating the costume, nothing to do with showing her breasts but just personally thinking it’s an ugly costume.  But, as Tim Gunn says, she owns it.  And there’s a pretty great gag about Terra’s costume that made up for however I felt about Karen’s. 

  88. @CAM:  I was just about to refer to that earlier Conner Power Girl series also, and I agree.

  89. What the hell? A pretty and (impossibly) hot girl on the cover. Then the blurb is Flawless? What the hell?