A recent singularity event in National City creates a batch of new superhumans in author Jo Whittemore’s delightfully wacky Supergirl novel. Among others, there’s a meteorologist who can now control weather, a bodybuilder who can levitate objects (get it?), and a film student who can animate any object she touches.
Most people are happy about the unexpected turn of events, especially James Olsen. After being an ineffectual wingman to both Superman and Supergirl for so long, he’s thrilled to acquire metahuman powers of his own. Not only can the photographer see in the dark, but he can also see through objects, and he can even see behind his head. All things considered, having super eyeball vision is a dream come true for Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen.
But not everybody is happy about the explosion of new superheroes in National City. Supergirl for one. The “supercitizens” didn’t know what they were doing. And most of them were overwhelmed by their powers. “They have no clue,” says Supergirl in a hastily recorded public announcement. “They’re as much a danger to themselves as they are to everyone around them.”
Unbeknownst to Supergirl and the rest of her colleagues at the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, the influx of supercitizens is directly linked to a mysterious visitor from the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. It takes a while for the CW crew (including Olsen, J’onn J’onzz, Alex Danvers, Winn Schott, and Mon-El) to figure things out. But when they do, the ensuing “superbattle” is like an 80-Page Giant edition featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes.
And just like the TV show, Supergirl wins the day with a combination of superpowers and super charm. That’s why we love her so much. “You are more than just your powers, Kara,” says her boyfriend Mon-El. “You have a kind heart and a determined spirit and a clever mind. Even if you were human, you would still be a super girl.”
Over all, Whittemore does a great job of putting our favorite super girl in a non-ending string of funny and awkward moments. Many of them include unexpected nods to the DC extended universe.
For example, when a handful of lions and tigers escape the National City Zoo, Supergirl figures out a humane way to solve the crisis (“Punching a cat seems wrong,” she says with a shrug). Later, when Winn starts calling her Catwoman as a goof, she doesn’t seem to mind (maybe because Kara Zor-El and Selina Kyle were buddies at Super Hero High School).
Whittemore saves her biggest surprise for the end (no spoilers from us!), but our favorite cameo happens about midway through the book. On page 150, Kara visits the newsroom of the National City Tribune and interrupts Vicki Vale’s going-away party. “Oh, right!” she says in her best ditzy Melissa Benoist impersonation. “You’re leaving us for that other newspaper. We’ll miss you.”
“Between you and me,” says Vale in a conspiratorial whisper, “I have to get out of here. National City is driving me batty.” The two reporters chat amiably for a few moments before Kara gives her coworker a big super squeeze. “Have fun in your new job at the Gotham Gazette,” she says with a cheery cluelessness, “and stay out of trouble.”
[Supergirl: Age of Atlantis / By Jo Whittemore / First Printing: November 2017 / ISBN: 9781419728143]