Today’s Super Comic — Supergirl #23 (1998)

supergirl_vol_4_23As I continued reading through Peter David’s Supergirl series, I came across an issue that’s probably not universally adored.

David has never been shy about tackling controversial topics from time to time, and he does so in Supergirl #23, which makes the case that freedom of speech applies even to abhorrent speech.

A college has scheduled a speaker who holds blatantly racist views and justifies them through his academic research, so the students protest and demand the event be cancelled. Even special superhero guest star Steel shows up and endorses the students’ position, proclaiming in practically the same breath that he believes in the First Amendment but feels it is not absolute.

So Supergirl has to make a decision, and whatever she does, it’s going to be incredibly uncomfortable for her.

It’s tough to pull off a comic that tackles delicate subjects, but David succeeds by putting good people on both sides of the speech issue while making it clear no one supports the bigoted views (other than the one bigot himself). Plus, action and character development help minimize the preaching.

The comic entertains and makes you think a bit. Always a winning combination. And you don’t even have to agree with David’s stance on speech—you’re free to express your own position on the matter.

Writer: Peter David

Penciler: Leonard Kirk

Inker: Robin Riggs

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up