Ever since pre-New 52 Clark Kent came back, Superman hasn’t been much fun. While multiple Clark Kents have been fighting Doomsday for what feels like an eternity over in Action Comics, Clark’s son Jon has been melting his pet cat with his laser vision in the main title. Even the books that don’t focus on Kal-el are a little dark. Just last week, New 52 Lois Lane was desiccated as part of an elaborate bait-and-switch over in Superwoman. However, thankfully, Supergirl: Rebirth #1 finally breaks that cycle.
The light-hearted, hopeful Kara Zor-el we get here will be familiar to anyone who’s watched her CBS (now CW) TV show. Still, there are some differences. This Kara has only been on Earth for a few months and she approached the D.E.O. (a government agency that deals with extraterrestrial life) hoping they could help her get her powers back. So, the issue starts with the D.E.O. putting that plan into action by shooting Kara into the sun.
Crazy as it sounds, it actually works and Kara immediately gets to use her regained powers when a Kryptonian werewolf suddenly crashes at the D.E.O. facility. Turns out, the werewolf, Lor-on was banished to the Phantom Zone by Kara’s father. Yet instead of doing that tired comic book cliché where the sins of the father are visited on the child, writer Steve Orlando actually lets Kara convince him that she and the D.E.O. will help cure him of his red kryptonite poisoning. It’s a nice moment that gets right what everyone currently writing Clark Kent seems to be getting wrong. Superman and Supergirl are symbols of hope because even though they experienced possibly the most horrible loss imaginable (the death of their race and the destruction of their home) they choose to protect Earth simply because it’s the right thing to do.
While Clark learned about the human race through a childhood in Kansas, Kara needs a crash course. So, she enrolls in high school. Because, really, who better to show her the best and worst the human race than a bunch of hormonal teenagers? She’s also been assigned a parental unit in the form of D.E.O. agents, Jermiah and Eliza Danvers, who just might be the best thing about the book. They’re affectionate and capable and they also give us the best moment of the issue.
As Kara zips around the damaged D.E.O. facility, they struggle to do even the simplest bit of clean up. And while Kara initially makes fun of them, she eventually stops to help. As Eliza explains it, if Kara’s going to understand the human race, then she needs to understand how much more difficult things are for them. It’s a simple moment, but it gives all the explosions and fights meaning. Maybe Clark should take notice.