Supergirl debuts at Comic-Con and fans say the bubbly new superhero series has wings

Glee star Melissa Benoist's first outing as the DC superhero went down quite well with fans and critics, who agreed that the show still has a little way to go

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Comic book films and TV shows are all the rage these days but there’s one thing they’re lacking: a female lead. That’s where DC’s Supergirl hopes to swoop in, with the aim of catering to a new – and growing – female audience.

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The new CBS series tells the tale of Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El, who lands on earth quite a few years after her super-cousin Clark Kent/Kal-El. Superman swoops in to rescue her and she grows up with adoptive parents, played in this instance by a former Superman (Dean Cain) and the 1984 Supergirl herself, Helen Slater.

CBS dropped a six-minute trailer for the show – which also features Calista Flockhart as Kara’s Devil Wears Prada-style boss – during pilot season and Supergirl finally made its long-awaited debut at San Diego Comic-Con last night.

Fans at the Comic-Con Ballroom – the convention’s second biggest space – reacted quite positively to the first episode, even pausing to applaud the show after its first commercial break.

Collider praised the show’s attempts to empower young women, adding that Kara and co could quite easily kick it with the big boys – aka The Arrow and The Flash – but said the show’s real test would be whether it could prove popular enough with the older CBS audience when the series begins this autumn.

The pilot has, to date, divided critics down the middle with some extolling its virtues and others not so keen, but many fans and reviewers alike seemed to agree on one thing: Supergirl’s still got a bit of a way to go before the show can truly take flight.

“Supergirl is filled with a lot of the silly character interactions you’ve come to know from other DC shows and is definitely lighter fare than CW’s Arrow and The Flash, but that isn’t such a bad thing”, JoBlo.com commented.

“Ultimately, it fits its audience, which will likely cater to the teenage crowd, particularly young girls looking for a hero to root for or teenage boys looking for a hero to root for…and crush on. Fortunately, Benoist is more than up to the task on both and with some decent action pieces and a laundry list of villains to choose from, Supergirl has plenty of room to fly if they dig deep enough into her journey.”

Their sentiments were echoed by MajorSpoilers.com, who worried that the show was heading for an outdated villain-of-the-week style formula that quite simply doesn’t work on TV any more.

But all criticisms were cast aside when it came to the show’s leading lady. Former Glee star Melissa Benoist, who also featured in Whiplash opposite Miles Teller, seems to have swept the board in her red cape.

Can Benoist continue to save the day? We’ll have to wait until Supergirl debuts in the US in October to find out.

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Supergirl debuts on CBS in the USA on October 26th 2015. A UK air date has yet to be confirmed.