DC's Year of the Villain crossover event hit Supergirl in a big way this week with Supergirl #36. The issue, the final installment of Eisner-winning writer Marc Andreyko's run on the title which began last August, saw Kara and a troubling predicament, under the thrall of Braniac as he moved to take over the heroine. While that set up is troubling enough, it ended up not being the real twist of the issue. Instead, Supergirl #36 took Kara down a far darker path -- with a new black costume as the heroine turned full villain.
Spoilers below for Supergirl #36.
The issue opened with Brainiac infesting Supergirl with his nanobots as the ever-loyal Krypto looked on. This is the part of the story that fans have been expecting, a long lead up over several issues. A Supergirl confrontation with Brainiac is what fans were expecting, but it's not quite what they got. While in the process of being infiltrated by those nanobots, she hears something and whooshes off to end up on the scene of the fight currently going down in Batman/Superman #4 in which Batman and Superman are fighting the Infected and Kara jumps in to help. That ultimately leads to Supergirl reaching out and grabbing one of those vicious, poisonous Batarangs before it can hit Superman which quickly leads to a real problem.
You see, those Batarangs are what the Batman Who Laughs is using to infect heroes and sure enough, it infects Supergirl. She falls victim to it right before Superman and Batman's horrified eyes, collapsing only to rise again in a more brutal-looking, all black costume, Joker-esque face paint, and a new, darker outlook. She's, for lack of a better term, Supergirl unchained, free from any restraint she may have felt before. Of course, before she can fully align herself with her fellow Infected, she has a bit of business to take care of the Brainiac situation where she brutally deals with things.
It's what happens after she eliminates Brainiac that reveals the true shift in Supergirl thanks to her transformation. Having unleashed herself on Brainiac, she decides that isn't going to go back to the other Infected. Instead, she's going off on her own, declaring how much fun she is going to have on "this backward planet" while poor Krypto watches with the worry only a loyal canine companion can. This "evil Kara unleased" ending is actually a pretty interesting conclusion to Andreyko's run as it seems to fully embrace some of the concepts of the "survivor's guilt" that Kara has been dealing with and processing over the course of the run.
"The attitude she had in Man of Steel is understandable. She found out that not only was her planet's tragedy not an organic one, it was a planned one, but like she said to Clark in Supergirl #21, 'for you, Krypton's destruction is theoretical. For me, everyone I knew is dead,'" Andreyko told ComicBook.com at the time. He said that he tried to go back through the long, wild history of Supergirl and to pull in the elements from each version that worked best.
"That's why her not really dealing directly with her survivor's guilt, and now this rage and this need to find out: 'Was everyone I know murdered?' It allows her to, by the end of this journey, be a fully realized lead character and let her sadness and her anger go and be happy with who she is and enjoy life and not be an Italian widow who, after her husband dies, never socializes anymore," Andreyko explained. "She's putting so much pressure on herself to not 'disrespect' the memory of Krypton, she's not able to enjoy her life right now. When she gets her answers, even if it's not the answer she wants, she can move on."
Supergirl #26 is on sale now.