Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #1
After the climactic events of Dark Knights: Death Metal and future seen in Kara Zor-El: Superwoman, what were the events in between that led Supergirl to become the Woman of Tomorrow?
To put it simply, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is fun.
I had my initial worries that this series would somehow be standard Tom King affair; character is horrendously depressed, character then goes on a disjointed story of pain and suffering, then character ends depressed and maybe slightly happy – but then I forgot he did fun stuff like Grayson and I can feel the light-heartedness of that story in here! The book follows an alien child by the name of Ruthye Marye Knoll as she attempts to gain help in killing the man who killed her father, running into the titular hero, Supergirl, along the way.
Where this book succeeds immediately is how Supergirl is presented. King writes her as a hero that was just enjoying her twenty-first birthday, trying to get drunk under a red sun, before trouble made its way to her. Because she’s so used to being invincible, she doesn’t think twice about breaking a glass in her hand or taking a few arrows to the chest – she’s Supergirl, but all of a sudden she’s bleeding and remembers that the dangers are slightly real now. Even then, she doesn’t bat an eye when Ruthye is threatened and leaps in to protect her and later Krypto when they’re in danger or injured.
In many ways, Supergirl is written like a Red Sonja or Xena type character, which only lends to her being seen as a badass when flawlessly takes down a muscle bound thug or grabs a sword by the blade and backhands a pair of thugs with her bleeding hands. That’s not to say that Ruthye doesn’t have her moments either, she does, but they usually end up with her getting slapped or kicked out of the way for being a child.
Bilquis Evely might be one of the best artists working in comics today. Her work on the recent Dreaming series awakened me to how extensive her talents were and that only continues here as she draws readers in with her elegant style that also lends itself amazingly to good action scenes. All of her lines are thick, but have a flow to them that makes each panel look like a moving piece of art. This is especially true when Supergirl gets into a bar fight with the first man Ruthye tried to hire; he slashes and slices at the hero before she stands, smashes a glass against his mouth and flips him over the table. All of this takes place over six panels, but as you read, it all feels like it’s happening in real time.
Not only is her action great, but her facial expressions are top notch as well. Beginning with Ruthye, the girl should have nothing but rage in her face, but Evely draws her as having the collected calm anger that seems like it’s bubbling beneath the surface, ready to be unleashed when she catches her father’s killer. Supergirl has the look of someone that’s finally able to enjoy themselves after the craziness of being a superhero non-stop. She’s a happy drunk and her smile is enough to lift any reader’s spirit. And Krypto…who could say no to the best boy and his cute, happy eyes.
Matheus Lopes accentuates Evely’s art with his fantastic colors. The opening pages of this book are absolutely gorgeous to look at thanks to Lopes’ amazing use of cool pinks and reds that give way to the light purples of dusk in the skies. The later use of blues and greens captures the somber feelings that Ruthye has knowing that she’ll never see her father again and that all her brothers can do is bluster about finding the man who killed him. The rest of the book however, is mostly filled with light browns and yellows to show that Ruthye has been brought down to the ground and discovers that finding and killing the man will be no easy task. The beauty of the world she occupies, however, is given a great focus as we see the purple and red crags and fork formations of the world contrast with the green-yellows of the sky.
Even Clayton Cowles Lettering makes this book better with his excellent use of sound effects in the most perfect of places – from Supergirl’s HUUURRRGGG as she nurses a hangover, complete with little dots surrounding the letters, to the THNNKK of an arrow piercing her sternum unexpectedly. As always, his word balloons and thought bubbles are excellently placed, sometimes blending into the channels between the panels and emphasizing the slur of Supergirl’s words.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It has an interesting concept and an even better execution and I think this one might appeal to a wider audience that’s been craving a good, short Supergirl story. With fun, excellent writing, fantastic art, color and lettering, Tom King, Bilquis Evely, Matheus Lopes and Clayton Cowles have taken the first step to making Kara Zor-El the Superwoman of Tomorrow (Get it, cause Future State?)
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #1: Swords and Arrows
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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