Review: Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #8 (Final Issue)
[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
What is the final fate of Krem of the Yellow Hills? Will Ruthye get her bloody revenge on the killer of her father? Will Supergirl stop her from crossing the line, or will she help Ruthye do it?
There’s no question that Tom King can be a polarizing writer. He seems to like destroying characters in order to tell a story he wants to tell even if it means writing the lead completely out of character- deconstruction at its worst. On the other hand, he’s proven he can tell a pitch-perfect Superman story to rival the best there’s ever been, as we saw in Superman: Up in the Sky. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #8, the final of the limited series, is decidedly in the camp alongside Up in the Sky. Readers! BE NOT AFRAID! Well, just a little afraid…
One of the aspects of this series that I touched on was the notion of Ruthye as an unreliable narrator. Now, while that is something that does turn out to be true, Ruthye does it on purpose. And, this is where a rereading in (nearly) one sitting will probably bring about some revelations that were not apparent the first time through as a series of single issues. This brings up the question of who is the main character in this series? In the end, it’s not really Supergirl, it’s Ruthye and she represents us. And, at the same time that “everyman” aspect is also what connects Supergirl and Ruthye- that element that makes Kara (or Kal-El) just as human as the rest of us.
There are some moments that will bring a lump into the reader’s throat as King elucidates the real purpose of Supergirl and Ruthye’s journey. It’s of course related to that “everyman” aspect, but it doesn’t seem fair to spoil it. Let’s just say that Supergirl is pretty darn smart and there’s a deeper journey here than simply to save Krypto’s life. The resolution of Krypto’s storyline is both clever AND surprising- well played, Mr. King!
It’s a shame that Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #8 is the last time we’ll see Bilquis Evely and Matheus Lopes bring these characters to life on the page (as far as this series is concerned at least.) I will miss the beauty and breathtaking quality of their work. As always it’s simply stunning in this issue! We get a bonus treat though, at the end of the issue we get an older Supergirl, but not old… and, the design and depiction by Evely and Lopes is truly inspired. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is an understatement here. If there was ever a drawing that seems destined to spawn a story (or a multitude of stories), it’s this character design of the older Kara, who’s clearly a woman and not a girl, even if she is still known as “Supergirl.”
Furthermore, it begs the question of why Kara would not take up the mantle of Earth’s Kryptonian protector? Jon Kent has been pushed by DC Comics to follow in his father’s footsteps as Superman after his unceremonious (and poorly conceived) advanced aging by Brian Michael Bendis, but the obvious choice has always been Supergirl, and Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow demonstrates why. There is a lot of potential mileage in Supergirl taking on Kal-El’s role, a sequel following up on this would be welcomed.
Besides having to say goodbye to this series, there’s one technical aspect that doesn’t come across as effectively as it should have. It leaves one questioning the resolution unnecessarily. As we have seen, Ruthye is narrating in form of penning a book and this is where the unreliable narrator bit comes in, as she’s included fabricated elements, though I believe we are always shown in the art on the page what has ACTUALLY transpired.
Instead of giving the false ending of their journey first and revealing the real ending on the final page, King reverses this. While we see what has actually happened, the denouement contains the false ending Ruthye wrote in her book. Unfortunately, this sucks some of the impact of the ACTUAL resolution away, leaving the reader questioning something he/she shouldn’t. Some of the emotion becomes confused at the end and at this point there should be no more questioning of Ruthye’s trustworthiness as a narrator or any of Kara’s actions.
While Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #8 isn’t the best issue of the series, it is not far off the pace. It’s really just some of the technical aspects of King’s ending, because the content works wonderfully, connecting the reader to both Ruthye and Kara. As expected, the art is as stunning as ever and gives the reader a taste of what could come for Kara in her future. While the series connects the reader with the frailties of the human psyche, it also offers hope and the satisfaction of persevering through the difficult moments in life while revealing one’s own inner strength.