Author: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Michael Turner
Titan Books
RRP 8.99
ISBN 1 84576 114 6
Available 24 February 2006

Batman has discovered something strange on the bottom of Gotham Bay, which leads him to a mysterious and powerful teenage girl who is bent on destroying Gotham City. Soon, she'll capture the attention of Superman, Wonder Woman and even Darkseid and his Female Furies. What is her connection to Superman? Why does Wonder Woman want to hide her from the outside world? How will Darkseid succeed in recruiting her into doing his bidding? Who is she, and whose side will she end up on?...

The synopsis above, which appears on the back of this graphic novel, is a little misleading. While the mysterious woman (who claims to be Kara Zor-El, Kal-El's cousin) does run amok in Gotham at the start of this collection, it appears to be more out of fear than any real attempt to harm anyone. Once Kal-El meets her and realises that she is also from Krypton he sets about putting her on the straight and narrow. It is only Batman who has a problem with her - suspicious that she may not be who she claims to be.

This collection shows how Batman and Superman, while both heroes in their own right, approach everything from opposite ends of the spectrum. Superman is trusting and almost naive in his optimistic outlook, whilst Batman is suspicious of everyone's motives.

I loved the way that writer Jeph Loeb examined Batman's guilt at not being there for Jason Todd (Robin) when he was killed by the Joker - and then how he was suckered into believing that Todd had returned from the dead to wreak his revenge on his former boss - and compared it to Superman's guilt of being the only Kryptonian alive. Both superheroes want desperately to believe that somehow something survived (for Batman that was Todd, for Superman anyone from his homeworld) and it also shows why both, given the right circumstances, will go out on a limb for something they believe will help make up for the past - regardless of all the evidence to the contrary.

Supergirl is more a Superman story than a Batman tale. Superman must put his trust in the word of a woman who has already shown that she is capable of breaking free on her own if she so desires. Batman is really along for the ride - as a balance to Superman's optimism.

This collection is also beautifully produced. Good quality paper stock, topped off with a cover that has a blue strip with a foil-like finish, turns a great collection into a fantastic collector's edition.

A beautiful collection for Superman and Batman fans alike.

Nick Smithson

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