Well that fight was a let down


The final chapter of Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom is both awesome and disappointing.  For four issues we’ve been building to the battle of the century, but what we get is another life lesson everyone can learn from.

maelstrom5cover.jpgWhile recharging their batteries near the Sun, Superman hears of the commotion going on on Earth, and he and Supergirl arrive just in the nick of time.  The big fight we were expecting does happen, but it is wrapped up so quickly, it almost seems like an after thought. When this series began Supergirl had a tough time bringing down Maelstrom, yet here, she is able to bring down three of Darkseid’s Female Furies by smashing them into the side of a canyon.

When all the baddies are defeated, Supergirl loads them all into Kal’s spaceship and sends them on a one way trip to the planet she and her cousin just spent the last week on.  Hopefully the four Furies and Maelstrom will calm down and possibly learn something while waiting to return to Apocalypse.

There seems to be a problem with title naming at DC lately. First you have the god-awful Batman & Superman vs. Vampires & Werewolves that barely features Superman, and now you have a title called Maelstrom, that barely featured the angry warrior from another world. Following this issue, I had to take a moment and think about the meaning of the title.  Sure, we could look at it as the name of a New God bent on killing Superman, but if we take the literal meaning of the word, suddenly everything makes sense.

The upheaval Supergirl has been going through since her appearance on Earth has suddenly been put to the test while off-world, and her ability to weather the storm has made her a better person.  Sure, she is still a “teenager” and she does have some great snarky lines scattered throughout the issue, but she has changed for the better by issues end.  The cathartic moment comes when she and Kal are floating above the Earth, and Kal tells Kara to go do something fun while he deals with a minor crisis.

She floats there for several hours until Kal returns, at which time he asks her what she’s been doing.  Even though she is aware she can’t save everyone, and that Earthlings need to figure things out for themselves at times, she’s come to the conclusion that if she can help, she’s going to do it.  It is a pretty eye opening moment for the girl who has had some really rough times in other titles.  It is too bad this series didn’t come out prior to the events in New Krypton, as this change of character could really have changed the dynamic of that story – or at least the most recent issue.

I like this change Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have infused into this character.  Since her return in the Superman/Batman series, her character has been mangled and torn, and had her story so convoluted, that Kryptonite poisoning is the only answer to her problems.  Until this series, I could give two flips about this character, but now, I like Supergirl.  Sure there’s going to be moments where she makes mistakes, but the Maelstrom mini has defined the future character of Kara Zor-El.

As far as the Maelstrom character goes, she’s yet another throw away character created by the writing duo.  I don’t expect to see any more of this character, much like I don’t expect to see the crystal man from their Terra series either.

Phil Noto’s art is still good in this issue, but there were a few funky panels that seemed rushed.  One of my favorite panels is the medium close up of Supergirl right after she’s smashed the Furies into the canyon wall.  Her reaction, pose and complete portrayal of calm really comes out in this panel as she realizes she is not just Superman’s cousin, but a powerhouse to contend with.

I really enjoyed this series.  It was one of those small treats that DC released that didn’t have a lot of hype, slipped under many people’s radar, but is completely worth the read.  If you didn’t collect the series, and have the time to dive through the back issue bins at your local comic shop, I highly recommend this series.  Hopefully DC will release this five-issue series in a trade real soon.  I’m giving Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom #5 4.5 out of 5 Stars.




About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. The throwaway character thing with these writers is the greatest obstacle I have to enjoying their shared universe work. The fan boy in me that won’t die doesn’t feel like these stories matter if you could lift them out of the DCU or MU and plunk them in the other without upsetting any apple carts.

  2. I agree with you on this one. I felt like Maelstrom became an afterthought in this last issue. Her name was in the title and we don’t even get to see how her story plays out? I guess you could make the argument that they’re leaving it open in case they want to use her again but like you said she’s a throw away character. Plus, considering all the New Gods stuff going on in actual continuity it’s even less likely.

    I have my review up here if you want to check it out:

    And I recently talked about the awful S & B vs. V & W on my own blog:

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