Grab your helmets and buckle up for another amazing issue in GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8! In the eighth installment in the apocalyptic series, a ride with the elusive Wonder Woman yields two new backstories and some badass unicorn tattoos. This issue is just what the series needed to tie up some loose ends before the awaited Lex invasion.

Most of the past issues of GOTHAM CITY GARAGE are action driven, but GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 is all about reflection and remembering. Wonder Woman, who mysteriously arrived in issue #6, takes Kara on a ride to a strange forest named the Black Grove. On the way, Kara admits that she’s a big fan of the Amazon. Wonder Woman is less than impressed but does give Kara a bit of her backstory in return. According to Wonder Woman, her venture into the world of man allowed Themyscira to become vulnerable to Luthor’s rise. She still blames herself for what happened.

GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8
GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The duo arrives at the Black Grove and Kara enters alone. She quickly encounters Poison Ivy and another woman named Carver. They take her to a forested tattoo parlor where they put her under a Green induced journey through her hidden memories. Kara discovers that she is actually from Krypton and was sent to Earth after the destruction of her home planet. One of the happier memories the Green is able to uncover is of Kara riding her pet unicorn on Krypton. When she wakes from the memory barrage, she finds two tattoos reflecting that memory. Like Wonder Woman’s forearm tattoos being a reminder of Themyscira, Kara’s tattoos are a reminder of Krypton.

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Remembrances in GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8

Although different from past issues, the plot of GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 is a perfect departure from the normal head-bashing and wheel-spinning. Kara’s true identity is revealed, and Wonder Woman becomes a less mysterious, yet still tragic, character. Writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing do a great job of weaving together two separate backstories. Wonder Woman’s tale has a different setting than Kara’s, but both tell a similar story of devastation and loss. It’s this similarity that allows the previously nonexistent relationship between the two heroes to grow.

While the idea of using tattoos as a way to remember things is realistic, in the world of the mystical Green it feels misplaced. The contrast between the mechanical tattooing process and the magical Black Grove is just too strong to be reasonable. Instead of having the tattoo studio in a forest, I would have liked to see it in a more industrial place like a hidden city. Having Poison Ivy as the tattooist also doesn’t work well since she’s an environmentalist who wouldn’t condone working with man-made metallic inks in such a sacred place. Still, I’m glad they added Ivy to their expanding cast of characters, and I hope to see her in later issues (preferably with Harley).

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Who Are You Really?

The Wonder Woman of GOTHAM CITY GARAGE is very different than her mainstream counterpart. She’s less eager and extroverted than the Wonder Woman we all know and love, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Still, her bad attitude raises questions. Thankfully, GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 finally gives some answers.

Kelly and Lanzing could have given Wonder Woman a backstory similar to the canon one but, instead, they gave her a sadder one. In doing so, they show a side of the character that’s unfamiliar. This Wonder Woman has faced tragedy and come away stronger than before. The characterization is unfamiliar but welcome. This hardened Wonder Woman works well in the post-apocalyptic world of GOTHAM CITY GARAGE.

GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8
GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Kara’s characterization has slowly changed as her sense of self has evolved from issue to issue. From learning about her powerful alien abilities to losing and finding her sister, Supergirl has become a dramatically different person than the Kara seen in issue #1. But, once again, that isn’t a bad thing. In this case, it’s a very good thing. GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 is the culmination of Kara’s journey of self-discovery. Learning about her past is her final step in becoming her own person. Her rising confidence represents the birth of a new Kara who isn’t afraid of the Garden or herself. In many ways, it was Kara’s fear of the Garden that was holding her back from being able to defeat it and Luthor. Now, she’ll definitely be able to.  

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The Art of Tattoos

Since GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 is separated into two stories, the art changes halfway through. Ming Doyle and Colleen Doran start off the issue with beautiful close-up panels of Kara and Wonder Woman. Doran does the exceptional art and colors for the two-page spread of Themyscira, using a limited color palette that gives it a flashback feel. These pages are undoubtedly the best and most emotional illustrations in the whole comic. 

GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8
GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

This issue introduces Poison Ivy to the series. Ivy’s GOTHAM CITY GARAGE redesign isn’t her best look, mostly because it, like the inclusion of tattooing in the forest, is an odd mixture of industrial and environmental. Her leafy top is reminiscent of her classic bodysuit, but the jean shorts, bandanna, and brown tattoos are completely biker girl. Although GOTHAM CITY GARAGE is about post-apocalyptic bikers, I wish they gave Poison Ivy a slightly different place and design.

The change from Doyle’s art to Eryk Donovan’s art in the middle of the issue is a bit jarring. A single issue cannot hold two styles that are so different. Whereas Doyle’s style is realistic, Donovan’s is more stylized. They’re both able to capture emotion well, but I think each style needs its own issue to function properly.

Final Thoughts

GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 is a great issue with a well written, emotional plot and fantastic characterization. Parts of the story, particularly the addition of a tattoo gun wielding Poison Ivy, feel a little misplaced. Regardless, it’s still a pivotal issue that gives new depth to Kara and Wonder Woman’s characters. With the invasion of Lex’s regime nearing, this issue helped finish Kara’s self-discovery and prepare her for future difficulties.

GOTHAM CITY GARAGE #8 by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Ming Doyle, Eryk Donovan, and Colleen Doran
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Wonder Woman takes Kara on a ride to a mysterious forest to get some new ink. On the way, the pair learns a lot about where they came from and where they're going.
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Emotional Ride
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