During the Lazarus Planet event earlier this year, Power Girl developed new psychic abilities. Her subsequent journey into harnessing these abilities followed in the pages of Action Comics and now concludes in Power Girl Special #1. This one-shot issue also includes the introductory story for Fire and Ice’s new miniseries later this year.
Even though this is a one-shot special, there’s six fantastic covers accompanying its release. We’ll showcase three but choosing them was no easy task. The standard cover by Marguerite Sauvage has Power Girl seemingly trapped in some sort of prism by the villain Johnny Sorrow. Never one to be a damsel in distress, she has already begun punching her way out. Having been a story focusing on grief and trauma, the cover also acts as a foreshadowing into Paige’s character development as she’s forced to confront her own sorrows.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti were instrumental in Power Girl’s importance to the DCU pre-Flashpoint and it’s only fitting they get to revisit her with their own variant. A playful scene involving a roughed up Power Girl as she attempts to shoo a loving Streaky away from the devastation caused by a battle with a giant white simian. As most cat owners know, they always seem to find a way to interrupt your work in the cutest most annoying ways and it appears Power Girl isn’t exempt from the experience.
Used as the promo image for this issue’s announcement, David Nakayama’s variant instantly invokes a nod to a certain other super powered girl trio with the same color schemes. It’s also the only cover to feature Fire and Ice as DC editorial continues its celebration of 90’s nostalgia by giving these two JLI characters some spotlight. he simple yet effective cover also gets a foil edition for some added visual goodness.
The other three variants by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, Tula Lotay, and Taj Tenfold feature great solo shots of Power Girl in her more classic outfit.
The main story in Power Girl Special #1 is entitled “Dark Knight of the Soul” is written by Leah Williams with letters by Becca Carey. Following the events from Action Comics #1053 we’re thrust into the thick of things as Johnny Sorrow is in the midst of enacting his plan to emotionally enslave the world. Due to her psychic link with Omen, Power Girl is able to sever Sorrow’s hold on both of them and search for help. Quickly realizing they’re the only two available for the job the story quickly becomes about Paige and the survivor’s guilt she carries for two worlds, Krypton and Earth-2. From there, Williams expertly maneuvers her into being a part of the new House of El as well as setting her up for her upcoming miniseries. This really feels like a fresh new beginning for Power Girl that hopefully solidifies her connections as a Kryptonian and valued member of Clark’s family.
The art is by Marguerite Sauvage and Colorist Marissa Louise. Dealing with psychic planes and imaginary landscapes, Sauvage’s unique style amps up the surreal nature of the story. Their color choices aren’t just bright and vibrant but symbolizes the intended emotions Johnny Sorrow’s horsemen embody. Color also plays a big role in knowing which reality or mindscape we’re seeing. For instance, an acting star from the silent film area, Johnny’s mind is more shades of grey while Paige’s has more white or pastel overtones. They truly use their art to tell a complex visual story that’s fun and compelling to experience.
The Fire and Ice story entitled “Hot Water” is written by Joanne Starer and lettered by Ariana Maher. Starer wastes little time reintroducing us to these characters and the relationships they have with certain other former Justice League members. Responding to a natural disaster in Baltimore, Fire and Ice assess their situation in opposite ways. Fire thinks they can handle it themselves while Ice signals for more assistance.
Their former teammate Guy Gardner is first to show up and instantly rekindles old grudges between him and Fire. Leaving Ice to handle the situation alone, it takes the arrival of Superman to break up their scuffle. Seeing how stressed the two best friends are over the entire ordeal, Clark suggests they get away for awhile and relax. Knowing just the perfect small town getaway, we’re left with Fire and Ice driving into Smallville which is set to be the backdrop of their miniseries. “Hot Water” is a great set-up story that gives us everything we need to know about how these characters interact with the world around them and a curiosity of the hijinks they’ll get into in Superman’s home town.
The Fire and Ice backup story art is by Natacha Bustos and Colorist Tamra Bonvillain. Having a style seen primarily in DC’s young adult graphic novels, Bustos is able to pack a lot of visuals in a ten page story without it feeling too crammed. There’s also a great attention to detail pertaining to Fire’s control of her powers. Even Fire’s fight sequence with Guy Gardner doesn’t get confusing with all the green energy vs green flame shenanigans. Their art also matches well with that of the Power Girl story giving the entire issue a sense of cohesiveness.
Power Girl Special #1 goes a long way to really establish Power Girl and Fire & Ice in a fresh new light and acts as a great introduction and set up for two new and exciting mini-series.