I didn’t like this issue, so my review will be brief. The story is…distasteful. Way too much torturing and repeated restraint of Power Girl, combined with some other unpleasant scenes that make me want to never see the Ultra-Humanite ever again. There’s also this weird scene between four Starr employees who are trapped inside their building. Three men, one woman. The woman wants to take some action, to use their professional knowledge and equipment at hand to help. She’s the only one of them with a child, and therefore a personal stake in getting to the outside world. This immediately marks her as gendered. Two of the three guys go on and on about how wrong she is, how they should just sit tight and wait to be rescued. (One of them is dumb enough to bring up FEMA of all things as an expert on what to do in such situations. She rightly responds, “FEMA? Are you kidding?” Don’t talk to a black woman about FEMA, dude.) They’re just so irritatingly reasonable and understanding, that she ends up looking ‘emotional’ and wrong in contrast. Yet she’s just voicing what you expect those characters to be doing at that point: using their skills to try to take control of their situation. If Donna were a man saying the same thing, no one would be trying to shut her down: it would seem ridiculous. One guy actually criticizes her for “always think[ing] [she] can solve everything” Stupid woman, only male scientists have that right. I hope we see Donna taking charge of the group next issue. Karen Starr should fire those guys’ asses when she gets back; they clearly have no initiative and no place in her company.
The final page of the comic is just. Ugh. Wasn’t there less triggering imagery to show the temporary defeat of a superhero in order for her to come back triumphant in the next issue? That Power Girl is near-indestructible and (usually) impervious to pain is not some kind of license to then ignore her very real pain and suffering and fear. Just because Power Girl’s awesome and will triumph no matter what Ultra-Humanite does to her, doesn’t magically make it okay to exploit female suffering.
These first two issues feel like the writers are trying to show Power Girl being punished for something, and I have no idea what it could be.
DC has released a preview of Power Girl #2.