Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Future State: Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1 Review

No One Is Born With Wisdom, And Some Never Learn It

Written By: Marguerite Bennett
Art By: Marguerite Sauvage
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 12, 2021

Future State: Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1 follows the titular character after she relocates to the Moon to assume the role of protector of a large colony of displaced individuals. Kara struggles with her past, her unsettled conflict with the Kents (Jon and Clark), and her new role of protector over a colony that doesn't fully welcome her presence. When a refugee on the run from her own family issues crashes on the colony, Kara's burgeoning philosophy of "helping without harming" is put to the test. It's tons of emotional baggage. It's a lot of talking. It's Future State.

Was It Good?

Yes and no. "No" in the sense that this is clearly not a book written for a broad audience. It reads very much like a YA-focused teen family drama that just happens to have superpowers. The story and interactions are very focused on Kara trying (and sometimes failing) to process her emotions about her past, but as with almost all the Future State books so far, the past is never explained or introduced clearly, so the reader is presented the emotional journey without the context or opportunity to relate.

"Yes" in the sense that the reader is given a very distinctive take on Kara Zor-El with eye-catching art from Marguerite Sauvage. Sauvage's art style is a perfect match for the tone of Bennett's story and ultimately improves the book beyond the story flaws.

Short Story Long

We begin with Kara Zor-El (Future State Superwoman) in a garden, reminiscing over the grave of Krypto the Super Dog. Entirely narrated by Kara's inner dialog, we learn she's migrated to the Moon and acts as the protector of the Moon colony populated by those "displaced by Earth." It's not clear who exactly has been displaced, why they've been displaced, how they managed to migrate to the Moon, or who named Kara as their protector. As noted in the beginning, this is par for all the Future State books where the reader is thrown into a story with little or no context.

Quick aside about Kara's new costume since it's received a lot of chatter. I like Sauvage's choice to create a self-fulfilling prophecy by designing a costume using a Delores Swing Dress from the 1950s and accentuating it with some retro sci-fi style. Sauvage is essentially declaring those classic B-movies predicted the style of the future correctly, and it's a nice touch. That said the red, blue, and black don't work as well for the color scheme, so it throws the charm of the design off.

Check out our Future State: Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1 Video Review

Kara talks through her life as the Moon's guardian and what her life is like now. It's clear the fights with the Kents still shape her worldview, and the mistrust (?) from the colony residents have forced Kara into a life of solitude. Kara spends days maintaining the building of the colony, thinking about life, and almost adopting a monk-like silence to her existence. On top of the constant swirl of painful memories and emotional baggage, we also learn Kara has adopted a form of pseudo-pacifism. No more fighting.

One day, a ship crashes through the environmental shield protecting the colony. It's not clear why the giant whole in the bubble doesn't kill most of the colony, but so it goes. Kara investigates the ship and finds a young-ish alien female that can shapeshift, fly, and steal Kara's powers temporarily. The alien immediately attacks Kara, and the two fight until Kara convinces her to calm down by bluffing her into believing that a dog's chew toy is actually a grenade.

The alien, named Lynari, explains she's on the run from a faction of her family that wants a magic jewel embedded in her body. The jewel is what givers her powers, and the jewel has been an object of war among her people for generations. Kara agrees to give Lynari sanctuary and to help her through her own emotional baggage from being hunted by her own people, the death of her father, the responsibility of holding the jewel and learning the powers that come with it.

Did I mention there's a lot of talking? Yes, there's a lot of talking.

In her best Mr. Miyagi impression, Kara put Lynari to work around the colony in a series of chores that serve as object lessons and opportunities for Lynari to reflect on who she is and what she wants for herself. Ultimately, Lynari does have a breakthrough of sorts but the mistrust and ingratitude of the colonists cause Lynari to run away in teen-angsty anger.

Again, the big down of this issue is understanding the purpose of this colony and Kara's place in it. Who are these people? Why are they here? How did they get here? How did Kara get this role of protector? Because you get none of the setups, and despite all the talking in this issue, not one word from any of the colonists about who they are and what they want, you never get the chance to see the colonist's point of view about why they mistrust her. All you get is a lot of art panels with random colonists giving Kara the side-eye and a lot of frowning.

The second biggest down of the issue is Bennet's conflicting portrayal of Kara as a person who's come to zen-like terms with her past but is still very hung up on her past and present. Kara can't seem to stop feeling like she's still in the shadow of the Kent's as the "sole" protectors of the planet, but that idea never makes sense when there's an entire planet that needs whole teams of heroes to protect it, including the Justice League. This Kara is playing a zero-sum-game in her head of "who's the greatest and best," and it falls completely flat.

Also, Bennet pulls the "privilege" speech out when Kara describes the issues she has to work through, and that point also falls completely flat. Kara was sent to Earth as its protector but at the sacrifice of her right to choose her own future. Kara has these amazing powers but it costs the lives of her family, her people and her entire world. It's seems to be the trendy thing for very superpowered heroes these days to have the "privilege" talk, but here, it's very misplaced and ultimately cheapens the magnitude of Kara's loss. It's not a privilege if you had to sacrifice nearly everything to receive it.

Of course, the "bad" aliens show up to kill Lynari and take the jewel for themselves. In that moment of overwhelming odds, Kara takes off the pacifist hat and charges in. To be continued...

Bits and Pieces:

Future State: Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1 plops the reader into the middle of a personal journey with a hazy beginning and no clear destination. The art is an interesting standout, and the story has potential, but the writing has too many holes to really hook you.



  1. Thanks for the review. This whole comic reeks of artificial drama from the depiction of Kara's dynamic with Superman & Jon to the displaced lunar colonists and their attitude with Kara and Lynari. Bennet really wants to drive home this idea that no one appreciates Kara or Lynari because they're different and have powers but it comes off as very weak and superficial. I'll give this title a pass.

  2. This is not Supergirl, and if Supergirl could have laher a new ongoing series, I hope Margueritte don't write that. I really don't like her vision of this character. :( One of the worst Supergirl's storys I have read.

    In any case Marc Andreyko, he write a better story with Kara.

    And thank Rao that's this plan for Kara in 5G, didn't work. If they gonna do a new ongoing series I hope is not relate to this elseworld. I hope will be something with the hopeful Kara, who everyone loves. And maybe with the Legion of Superheroes, Brainy

    1. It seems like the only thing Kara thinks about in the future is her New 52 rage filled self...... and that fight she had with Jon in Superman of Metropolis. That's not a character, it's only two moments that they needed to tell a mediocre story.