Goodreads: Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow
Series: Collects Issues #1-8
Age Category: Adult
When her father is killed, the alien girl Ruthye asks Supergirl to help her track the man down responsible and avenge her father. Supergirl does not believe in killing, but will the ravages she witnesses change her mind about the nature of justice?
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is, I think, my second Supergirl comic! I realize that this might be a controversial choice. From vague snippets I have heard from other readers and read online, apparently this version of Supergirl pushes the boundaries and is supposed to explore a new, more “grown-up” version of the superhero. I don’t know about all that. What I do know is that Kara’s kindness and compassion still shine through in this story–the supposed edginess seems like a mere ploy to get readers interested in the title. The only thing I heartily disliked is the vague ending, primarily because having a vague ending risks undoing all the work of the previous issues.
Since I cannot really compare Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow to other iterations of the hero, I must assess the book on its own merits. To that end, I can say confidently that I enjoyed Supergirl’s characterization and was intrigued by her journey. Is Supergirl not supposed to drink or something? Too gritty? I can’t say I care. I did care, however, not only about the way she travels the universe hoping to save worlds, often stopping for small bits of kindness that do mean the world. I also love the interior journey readers get to see, with the book exploring Kara’s backstory and the way she carries the burden of watching her planet die (unlike Superman, who left as a baby).
The low point of the book is probably Ruthye’s narration. In some respects, as a narrator Ruthye works rather well. She is a child who watched her father die and now wants revenge. So her translating her experience and understanding of Supergirl is a neat narrative trick; she is the shadow of Kara, the bitter vigilante Kara might have become. However, Ruthye’s actual form of narration–her weird, pseudo-Early Modern English, is excruciating. I think the writers wanted her to sound like Shakespeare, but she just sounds like someone’s bad take on Hamlet. She also repeats herself a lot. I think this is meant to make her sound dramatic, but I just found it tiring.
If readers can get past the writing style, however, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is an engaging book. Readers get to travel with Kara and Ruthye to various planets and see Ruthye’s developing understandign of Kara’s character. I think the authors are trying to tease the idea that Supergirl might break. That she might actually kill a man for revenger. This might grip some readers or worry some readers. Not having read much Supergirl, I was not entirely invested in the question. I figured if I did not like Kara’s depiction, I just would not read this particular take on Supergirl again.
The ending does hit a sour note with its ambiguity. I discussed it with the person who had recommended the book to me, and they had an entirely different interpretation than I did. So then I did an internet search to see what the consensus might be. There are several different takes on it. For some books, ambiguity might work and be desirable. Here, however, I think the story needs a clear-cut ending to keep it thematically whole. So, for me, the ending is a definite miss.
On the whole, however, I enjoyed Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. I can see myself reading more Supergirl comics in the future.