Review: Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Art: Bilquis Evely
Colors: Matheus Lopes
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Supergirl and Ruthye get closer and closer to Krem, the killer of Ruthye’s treasured father. What they encounter along the way is truly heart wrenching. And beautiful.
The title of this comic is Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. You probably think it means that this is about Supergirl and if you don’t really like Supergirl you’re probably going to think that it is just a hyped-up Supergirl story. If you pass it up, you will be fulfilling that old adage- “you don’t know what you’re missing.” It’s about so much more. It’s relatable to every reader because it doesn’t rely on super-feats to make it good. It relies on the emotions we all have and the relationships we all have. Sure, Supergirl is in it, but you could change her name to Bob Zemudio and the emotional and intellectual impact would remain the same. Like last issue which was truly amazing and beautiful, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #4 demonstrates the malleability of the comic book medium and genre as it is able to convey such deep humanity, warmth and emotion. This is the greatest achievement in fiction.
To relate all the wonderful moments in this comic, I would have to annotate the entire issue, for each page is rife with amazing things. Let’s take a look at one scene as an example. Supergirl and Ruthye have been following Krem who has thrown in with the Brigands who are traveling the galaxy decimating populations. Like the Ray Bradbury story, “The Man,” Supergirl and Ruthye are getting closer and closer to their quarry with each subsequent planet. (One has to assume unlike the Bradbury tale, these two will set upon Krem by the end of these eight issues.)
On one of the planets they come upon an inhabitant who has to dig graves for all the dead, one of them his own dismembered daughter. He tells Supegirl he wishes to bury her separate away from the mass of of other graves. Supergirl convinces him to let her help because SHE IS A NEIGHBOR AND THAT”S WHAT NEIGHBORS DO- THEY HELP WHEN OTHERS NEED IT. She not only digs all the graves, but uses her super vision to compare DNA and find his daughter so she can be buried where he wishes instead of lost amongst the masses. I can’t remember the last time a comic book made me cry, but this sequence did. You will feel the emotion, you will feel that man’s pain and love. You will feel Supergirl’s empathy. Every planet they visit is just impactful and every scene has a different message or theme.
I’ve mentioned before that Ruthye may be an unreliable narrator. That’s still possible for some of the situations, but I think that she’s more effectively being used to show how Supergirl is interpreted by those she meets. Ruthye does not have the benefit of being omniscient and has to interpret what she sees. It’s a very interesting and effective way of revealing Supergirl.
Bilquis Evely and Matheus Lopes continue to make this book beautiful. Beautiful and stunning. Delicate and fierce. There isn’t a page that doesn’t depict Supergirl’s compassion or Ruthye’s determination. Or fear, the fear of that poor little child creature in the first three pages. Evely also manages to convey Ruthye’s awe. Not just at the travels and alien worlds, but in Supergirl herself. Matheus Lopes colors are not only beautiful and evocative, but masterfully chosen. Each setting, be it ordinary or fantastic is believable because of these color choices. Be an alien hospital room, beautiful golden doors, or a purple Kirby-esque monster backed with a chartreuse sky, each and every color is magnificent. Evely and Lopes are a dream-become-reality art team. I mean that in every way it could be taken.
Well, here we are again…. There aren’t enough comics like this. Not that I want to cry every time I read a comic, but you get the idea. And, this series is half over, only four more to go. Only an eight issue series! That’s a HUGE negative.
It’s no secret that Tom King relies on his previous experiences in the CIA for some of the emotional content in his stories. It doesn’t always work- see Heroes in Crisis. However, this series as evidenced in Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #4 is a high watermark of comic book storytelling which sees King translate those experiences masterfully. Evely and Lopes do their part to make this series amazing, as well with outstanding work in each issue that is both bold and subtle. Sometimes a 5/5 score just isn’t enough. This is one of those cases, this is easily a 6/5.