"Muß es sein?" or rendered in English "Must it be?", is the haunting phrase that opens the postmodern horror novel House of Leaves. But the high air of resignation captured by this phrase is present in Supergirl #16 as well, and, in the New 52…
No spoilers, but this month's issue of Supergirl sees a pitched battle between the Justice League, led by Superman, and an unexpected adversary -- Superman cousin, Kara Zor-El, Supergirl. The battle is for the Fortress of Solitude, the legendary Superman hideaway. But there's more at stake than just the Fortress as prize -- it's quite possibly the whole of the New 52 venture.
Rather than give the Justice League's point-of-view, or even Superman's this issue give's Supergirl's perspective. Trapped inside the Fortress of Solitude, swatting at League attacks to undermine the integrity of the forcefield surrounding the Fortress, and siding with the man who would reassert Krypton at the expense of the Earth, it's hard to root for Supergirl.
Yet, through a unique alchemy of asserting his protagonist, writer Mike Johnson is able to get us to do just that--take on Supergirl's perspective. It's really at that point that the full scope of the ideological dilemma of this issue unfolds. Must there be a Krypton? Well of course not at the expense of the Earth, no.
Once you ask yourself that, it's hard reconcile that there should indeed be a Fortress of Solitude or that the Fortress should be in Superman's possession. We're not so much at a moment where anything can happen, more at a point where we're reassessing the value of reasserting the past. And should we simply reassert the classical, oldtimey Fortress of Solitude, exactly as it was in Superman's possession?
This is what's continually new about the New 52 -- that the elements remain the same, but they in a new arrangement. More so even than digital distribution which has allowed for us to once again travel with our comicbooks, it's this non-recognizable reassertion of recognizable elements in the New 52 that becomes a revolution of perpetual fiction.
Please enjoy our exclusive preview of Supergirl #16: "Fast & Faster".