Power Girl (vol.2) #8 (July, 2010)
“The Little Things!”
Writers – Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art – Amanda Conner
Colors – Paul Mounts
Letters – John J. Hill
Associate Editor – Rachel Gluckstern
Editor – Mike Carlin
Cover Price: $2.99
Welcome friends to the… final day of Vartox Week! It was bound to happen eventually.
I wanna thank everybody who joined me for this deep dive on a character that, really, not many people care about. It’s been a really fun learning experience… and a great exercise in challenging my own preconceptions on just who and what Vartox really is. We’ll talk more about that below the synopsis.
Worth saying, I feel like this weird three-week-long theme “week” really helped to breathe new life into this humble blog. I think anyone who maintains a blog with regular posts, and I don’t just mean daily… could be whatever sorta “deadline” you impose on yourself, I think all of us are prone to burnout. Burnout is definitely a real thing… especially when your “subject” is as niche as comic books tend to be.
I mean, people today love superheroes… but, not so many actually seek out folks’ opinions (or even information) on the “real” stuff. Without a whole lot in the way of engagement, sometimes it feels like we’re writing into the void… and if you’ve joined me in this Vartox-void, I thank you.
I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I have!
We open with Power Girl and fake-Terra (the other fake Terra) about to relax in an emofluid spring down in Strata… which allows us to see Kara try on a very ill-fitting bikini. Well, when in Rome. They take a load off and reminisce while the golden waters project their memories. We briefly mentioned the Ultra-Humanite yesterday… turns out, the baddie had messed with Atlee (the other fake Terra) in the interim, and Power Girl had to save her.
We shift scenes to Satanna getting out of… er, Savana Jerusalem’s bed. Truly a case of “strange bedfellows”. If you recall, Savana was supposed to provide Satanna with a weapon with which she could take out Power Girl. Savana’s all “not so fast, kemosabe”… and invites some Big Daddy’s from BioShock in the room to take Satanna out.
Back in Strata, Power Girl and Terra leave the emofluid springs. Just then, they run into Atlee’s family. Kara cannot help but to be touched at the sight of the reunion… something she definitely didn’t expect. Her mind is flooded with thoughts of her own lost family… friends… and Universe.
After a light snack… or, at least an attempt at one… Power Girl heads back to Brooklyn. Terra promises to follow a few days later.
Kara returns home… and tries to think of a name for her cat, before settling on “Stinky”. That’s not a euphemism, folks… and shame on you for thinking it was.
Heading to work, she runs into Fisher (Bronze Medal Champion in the regional Jimmy Olsen lookalike contest). Turns out, this skeevy little perv took some compromising pictures of her… but he’s seen the error of his ways, and turns over the “only copies” of the snaps (yeah, right).
After a ride on the subway, Kara emerges from the underground just in time to see…
There he is! It’s Vartox… and he’s fighting a great big baddie called Galaxorg. Well, maybe Galaxorg isn’t all that bad. Ya see, they’re only fighting because Vartox tried moving in on the Big G’s wife. If fairness, he thought she was single. Kara “Pee Gee’s” up, and tells the goofs that they don’t gotta stop fighting… but they can’t do it here.
Galaxorg and Power Girl take turns throwing Vartox into orbit while they hash out the details of changing the venue of this hyper-powered struggle. Galaxorg proves himself yet another sex-pest when informs Power Girl that he could be persuaded to leave. This goes over about as well as you imagine. The Big G ain’t pleased, and refers to Kara as “Vartox’s whore”. Uh-oh.
Power Girl wrecks Galaxorg… until he decides that discretion is the better (only?) part of valor. He refers to Vartox as “Tynolan scum”, which proves he’s never really read the Bronze Age stuff, before vanishing.
After the dust settles, Vartox makes yet another plea for Power Girl’s affections. It isn’t very effective. Instead of traveling the stars with our man, Kara instead simply “escorts him” back to his head ship. And that… is the last we’d see of Vartox in the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe.
Jumping ahead, we join Kara at work. She’s informed by her employee Alice that they’d just gotten a major investor in a group calling themselves Vega 9. Oh, also… she resigns. I suppose this would mean more if I hadn’t only been reading the Vartox issues of this series. Kara then takes a phone call from a fella named Carl… who I’m assuming is a callback to a prior story. Either way, he’s “Vega 9”, and he’s happy to be an investor.
We wrap up with Kara being called into the lab for one of her employee’s birthday parties. Turns out, the party is actually… for her!
There’s a pretty good way to wrap up Vartox Week.
I said it yesterday, but it’s series’ like this one that give such a wonderful snapshot of just how much fun the tail end of the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe was. It’s truly a shame books like this one had to be deep-sixed in order to make way for the “more accessible” New-52! I think a book like has a fairly universal appeal… you don’t need to be ensconced in DC lore to follow it, but if you are you’ll probably have a deeper appreciation. Plus, it’s funny… and the art is phenomenal. What’s not to dig?
This is the final issue for this creative team… next issue would bring in Judd Winick, who, if you’ve been reading this blog with any regularity, you know he’s a fella I run hot and cold on. It was actually his first issue (#13) where I first tried out this book back in 2010. I didn’t come back for #14… but, back then I was just getting my “comics footing” back… I think I was just grabbing anything I could get my hands on.
Let’s talk Vartox.
I’ve brushed up against it a few times lately… a “happy accident” of running a blog like this is that I’m afforded the opportunity to challenge my own preconceptions about titles, creators, characters… ya know, just everything I thought I knew about comics.
When I first got it in my head to do a little Vartox “spotlight”, I figured it’d be a neat little aside… a “funny, ha-ha” where we all poke fun at the Sean Connery lookalike. Hell, at the start I kept referring to him as the “Manliest Man Who Ever Manned”… as a gag!
What I wasn’t expecting was to be so captivated by this character. I wasn’t expecting to be so taken with his seemingly never ending tragedies. If you go back to our earliest looks at Vartox (easily available on our dedicated Vartox Week page), it seemed like an endless torrent of crap was being rained on him.
Every single time we ran into him… something horrible has happened. If it wasn’t his wife being murdered it was his planet being destroyed. It was around then, that it clicked. I finally got it. Vartox, is a Superman… that failed. He couldn’t save his wife… he couldn’t save his planet.
It’s almost a shame how he was treated in the post-Crisis… as just a goonish punching bag, and later, as a sex-pest. Though, I will say, underneath the creepy predatory facade, the Power Girl creative team were able to “bring it around” and give him some much-deserved depth. They also gave him what might be his first (and only) actual “win”. The first time he was able to save his people. If not for Vartox’s efforts, Valeron would’ve withered.
Overall… I said it yesterday, this Power Girl series is an absolute treat, and you owe it to yourselves to check it out. This issue is no exception… I had a blast with it, and I’d bet my lucky dime you will too.
And that, my friends, was Vartox Week. I wanna say, this has been enlightening, and so much more fun than I’d ever imagined. It definitely helped recharge my bloggy-batteries, and stave off the dreaded (and inevitable) burnout. After all, we’re still 66 days from Post 1000…
I think we’ve gone above and beyond in showing this obscure fella some love. Hopefully in the months and years to come, folks who wonder just what this Sean Connery-lookin’ dude is all about will come here and bask in the glory that is… or was… Vartox Week. Keep that magic in your hearts always, my friends.
While we’re done with this subject… we’re not done talking DC Comics by a long shot. Come back tomorrow, where we’ll be finally wrapping up another long-lingering project.