All-ages graphic novel, published by DC Comics in 2009. It was written by Landry Q. Walker and illustrated by Eric Jones. This is one of my favorite comics, kids.
So there was this one time Superman was fighting Lex Luthor and one of his giant robots. Lex thought he had the Man of Steel on the ropes, but outta nowhere, a rocketship blasts out of another dimension, slams into Lex's robot, and knocks it to pieces. The pilot of the rocket? It's a teenaged girl named Kara, Superman's cousin, a resident of Argo, one of Krypton's moons, which got shunted into Quasi-Space when the planet exploded. Kara got into an argument with her parents and swiped the rocket to make her folks feel bad -- and now she's stranded with no way back home.
Superman doesn't really know what to do with her, so he gives her a secret identity as Linda Lee, hapless junior high student. And she, like almost all junior high students, doesn't like junior high at all. It doesn't help that she's the class freak -- awkward, clumsy, unpopular, strong enough to accidentally break way too many desks, often lost in daydreams, usually about running away from Earth to live as the beloved Moon Supergirl. She's always asking weird questions about everyday life based on what she knows from futuristic Krypton, always met with peals of laughter from her fellow students. And she soon acquires a rival, Belinda Zee, who's really her much more popular imperfect clone, as well as a best friend, Lena Thorul, who could turn out to be her worst enemy.
And things get weirder from there, including surprise class president elections, with Kara as a very reluctant candidate, a sudden outbreak of superpowers, time travel, a superpowered streaky cat, a superpowered horse from the future, multiple attempts to kidnap and transform the other students at school -- and a secret plot by the teachers to control all reality.
Author Landry Q. Walker and artist Eric Jones really turned out a brilliant comic book here. What we get is an all-ages comic starring the best version of Supergirl ever. She's still Superman's cousin, but this time she's an angular pre-teen beanpole with a lot of enthusiasm and imagination, almost as much self-doubt, a poor grasp of her powers, and an even-worse grasp of life on Planet Earth. Jones' art is whimsical, emotional, and frequently madcap. Cartoonish, yes, and gangly, much like our heroine, but magnificently appealing. Walker's writing matches the art, maybe even goes beyond. Supergirl's character is just plain fantastic -- charismatic, goofy, awkward in that way that only teenagers can be -- and when things get tough, she's as likely to turn to her wildly creative imagination as she is to use her superpowers.
The lone downside to this comic is that Walker and Jones had specific plans to keep working on the series, taking Kara all the way through her senior year. Readers could've watched her and her friends grow up, become less awkward, and have more and more adventures. DC Comics never approved any further work on the series, and nothing more has ever come of it.
Still, what we have is pretty closer to perfect. I think this would make a great gift for younger readers, both male and female -- but it'd be especially appreciated by girls. Supergirl is a lot of fun -- she's frustrated by all the pointless junior high nonsense she has to put up with, but she also wants to be loved and adored by everyone -- she reminds me of several girls I knew when I was close to that age. She's got tons of moxie and charisma, and for all her clumsiness, she makes a great role model.
And the great thing about a lot of all-ages comics nowadays is that they're often very accessible to adult readers, too. This comic is no exception -- the dialogue is smart, the characterizations are excellent, the humor is entirely wonderful. I'd recommend it for kids and adults -- tons of humor, tons of excellent stories, tons of Kryptonite-powered awesomeness.