Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #4 Review

The one where Supergirl forces herself to watch a snuff film

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: $3.99
Release Date: September 21, 2021

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #4 takes Kara and Ruthye on a walking tour of atrocities as they chase Krem and the Brigands from one locale to the next days (sometimes hours) too late to stop mass murder. Between bouts of bickering over whether or not Ruthye is old enough to see this manhunt through to the end, Kara forces herself to endure and endure and endure until there's nothing left to do but scream.

Was It Good?

This is a Tom King book. At this point in comics history, that should become a category label unto itself. You don't read a Tom King book for entertainment or enjoyment. You subject yourself to a Tom King book to see how much you can take. It's like watching endless loops of classic school films on driving safety where you see in graphic, gory detail the real-world consequences of NOT driving safely.

Tom King's books want to hit you where it hurts and leave a scar on the way out of the exit wound. If that's how you want to spend your $3.99 for 20 minutes worth of reading entertainment, I applaud the strength of your constitution.

So, if that's what floats your boat, this comic is great!

All admonishment aside, I can't take issue with his writing skill. The story is well-crafted. Again, this is a Western and borrows heavily from True Grit. That borrowing hasn't diverged much from the first issue and the same continues here. Therefore, this isn't a Supergirl comic in any recognizable way unless your concept of Supergirl is as an old, grizzled cowboy completely jaded by the ugliness of life and the evil that men do.

If there's one down point in the writing execution, it's the repetitive nature of the story in this issue compared to the last two. Kara and Ruthye arrive at a location after the atrocity is over. They try to cope with the horrific psychological and emotional aftermath. They argue a little. Then, they move on to the next world in their hunt for Krem. Rinse and repeat. In terms of actual plot development, not much happens, and that's the biggest down of this issue.

The other oddity is Kara's comments that imply Krypto is still alive or dying but not quite dead. Somehow the comments tie Krypto's survival to Krem's capture. How or why is not explained and doesn't seem to make much sense when it was made (almost) explicitly clear Krem killed Krypto. King may be playing word games here, but that remains to be seen.

What's most confounding about this series so far is the gorgeous art by Bilquis Evely. It's almost offensive how much the beauty of this art clashes with the misery of the story. It's like painting a gothic tomb with rainbows and unicorns. It may give you joy to look at if only it could obscure the ugliness of the story that lies beneath.

Bits and Pieces

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #4 is a story about endurance. How much shock and horror can Supergirl endure before it becomes too much, and by extension, this comic asks the same of its readers. Evely's art is mindbendingly good and the real tragedy is how much the art is violated by the misery of the story it's being forced to tell.


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