This has been a series that I've been meaning to read for a while now. I have however rectified that having read and reviewed the first volume, and have now moved onto the second, eventually hoping to make my way through the entire series of trades.
When Batman finds a spaceship at the bottom of the Gotham Bay a mysterious and frightened young girl starts tearing up Gotham City. She is soon stopped by Batman and Superman, and it is soon revealed that she is Superman's cousin Kara Zor-El, though Batman has suspicions over whether she is who she says she is.
This was a phenomenal story, and although there isn't much between this and Public Enemies I'd probably say that this was ever so slightly better. Jeph Loeb did an amazing job of continuing from the high level of excitement that he produced in Public Enemies, giving us yet another very unique and exciting story that tied in brilliantly with the events of Public Enemies, whilst also making it very new reader friendly. Loeb also did a great job of the character development in this story, as due to the nature of the story we'd see some conflict between the characters involved, which added a lot of depth and tone to the story. The story would also have brilliant suspense and drama throughout, with some mystery as well, all off which was balanced perfectly by Loeb. On top of all this Loeb also managed to give some fantastic dialogue, as well as some amazing action, with both adding a lot more excitement, as well as atmosphere to the story.
The art on this volume was also extraordinary, and the late great Michael Turner did a brilliant job, with this being amongst the best interior work that I've ever seen from him. The thing that makes Turner's art so great however has to be the tremendous detail that he puts into it, as although there are a lot of artists who produce phenomenally detailed work, there aren't many on the same level as Turner, which makes his passing a few years ago sadder. Besides that Turner also does a tremendous job with the layouts in this story, showing great storytelling techniques like he usually does, adding much more depth and tone to the story. Turner also did an excellent job of showing the characters emotions and reactions, and due to this he'd make the story come to life, adding yet more depth and tone. On top of all that Turner did a fantastic job of the fight sequences, showing the shear power and tactical skills of these characters perfectly.
The main development in this volume would be re-introducing Kara Zor-El, who's better known as Supergirl to the DC Universe following the changes Crisis on Infinite Earths would make. It was nice reading this new origin story for Supergirl, as although I know her history and origin fairly well, I have never actually read any of the stories that show it. I also loved how this version felt very modern as well, as apart from the origin being very close to the original, Loeb and Turner managed to make it a bit sleeker and interesting. On top of this I really enjoyed seeing how Kara reacted to this new world, as well as the fact that the infant cousin who she was meant to look after was all grown up. On top of all that the argument between Superman and Batman over whether to trust her or not was also very interesting.
This story would also feature Wonder Woman, and although I always question the addition of equally high profile characters to other series, I felt that Wonder Woman's appearance in this story was brilliant, and really helped to add more diversity and excitement, giving a woman's perspective on this superhuman girl. It was also very interesting to see Kara training with the Amazon's, and overall this was a very entertaining addition to the story. I also loved the interaction between both Superman and Wonder Woman over the situation, showing just how protective Superman has become about his cousin.
Whilst on Paradise Island there would be an attack from a bunch of Doomsday clones who have been sent by Darkseid using a boom tube. Now Doomsday is one of the most challenging Superman characters to write, and a lot of writers haven't used him properly, and I question whether Loeb has done so here. I say that as this isn't the best outing for Doomsday, and to be honest he isn't used properly. At the same time however this idea of multiple clones of Doomsday was very interesting, and overall allowed a development point to unfold perfectly. It is however a bit of a shame that the character wasn't shown tue justice, and was downgraded to a plot device.
Talking of Darkseid he would also make an appearance in this story, as following his background mention in Public Enemies the arrival of Kara draws his attention. Loeb utilised Darkseid perfectly in this story, doing everything that I hoped he would and more. I especially loved how the initial encounter with Darkseid that it isn't Superman who squares of against the ruler of Apokolips, and Loeb handed this encounter perfectly, with it being very clever and very suspenseful. I also loved seeing Apokolips itself, as well as Female Furies, with Turner drawing this outstanding setting perfectly, and Loeb using it to the advantage of the story, with some of the sequences involving Dakseid or Apokolips being very intense and exciting.
This was a fantastic story and matches Public Enemies on quality level, possibly even beating it. The story was full of mystery and drama, with great emotion and suspense, with this being amongst the better stories from Loeb. This would also feature some phenomenal artwork from the late great Michael Turner, showing one of the reasons why this highly talented man is missed. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this story, and if you enjoyed Public Enemies then you're bound to love this as well.