Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #3 Review


Did I Pick Up An Issue Of Strange Adventures By Mistake?

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Bilquis Evely
Colors By: Matheus Lopes
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Art By: Bilquis Evely, Matheus Lopes
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: August 17, 2021

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #3 takes Supergirl and Ruthye to the planet of Maypole where the quiet... too quiet... and idyllic townsfolk are all too pleased to keep up cheery appearances. As our heroes look for Krem, who was last reported to be on Maypole, it becomes increasingly clear the blue people of Maypole are hiding something. The secret turns out to be horrific on every level.

Was It Good?

What is it with Tom King and his preoccupation with mass murder and genocide? The headline above implies, in a cheeky way, there are similarities to King's other title Strange Adventures. It's not a beat-for-beat comparison, but the similarities in the heaviness of subject matter and tone are unmistakable.

I age the first couple of issues higher marks than most expected because of the odd mashup of a near-copy of True Grit with a Supergirl skin was so weird... so bizarre... that I was surprised at my level of curiosity for what would come next. Sometimes seeing something new or different can be an effective hook.

In issue #3, the story takes a turn away from the True Grit ripoff/homage into familiar King territory with a story about race, class, and ultimately, mass murder. In the story, Supergirl and Ruthye follow a lead about Krem to Maypole, where all the people describe themselves as 'blue', but it's clear there were once references to 'purples'. The more Supergirl digs, the more they realize the super-friendly facade of the blue people of Maypole is hiding a terrible secret. 

Without spoiling the details, it's bad. It's very bad.

On the one hand, the story is skillfully written and Evely's art is sumptuous. On the other hand, the story has two main down points.

1. As well-crafted as this issue is, it has very little to do with the main plot. Why Supergirl and Ruthye arrive on Maypole and where they head to next take up all of two pages in the issue, everything else centers on this shocking mystery. It's fine to tell a side-trip story, but not in issue #3.

2. The revelation is grim, even by Tom King's standards, because there is no outcome or resolution of any sort. The revelation is in the past and there's nothing that can be done about it. In a brief bit of self-reflection, Ruthye notes she's no stranger to death and evil, but this event shook her more than she could have ever imagined. In other words, this issue's only apparent purpose is to shock Ruthye beyond her limits.

If that sounds like enjoyable reading to you, go for it.

Bits and Pieces

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #3 is a skillfully constructed, gorgeously rendered comic that adds a very different story to the Supergirl legend. However, King appears to be setting up Supergirl to pick up where Strange Adventures leaves off next month with a story that reads like Schindler's List edited down to just the concentration camp scenes. Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment. The score is reflective of the technical execution of this comic, not the entertainment value.


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