Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman #2 review

Last issue the Kara of 2050, a loner living on a moon colony, took in a mysterious space refugee, Lynari. Their new life was rudely interrupted by the newcomer’s relatives, out to steal her gem of power.

This conclusion opens with Superwoman defending Lynari as the girl’s aunt, in monstrous form, explains why her niece is a murderer.

Well, that’s not convincing. As annoying as Lynari was last time – and she was seriously annoying – she can’t be blamed for her father’s suicide. While previously she was pretty powerful, here Lynari is just a hostage as Auntie Kimara taunts Kara.

When Kimara threatens to blow up the colony if she doesn’t let her have Lynari, Kara calls her bluff. Except it isn’t a bluff. A massive explosion occurs but Kara, somehow, nullifies it with her vision powers. All the while she’s throwing a pity party for one, yammering away: ‘I fought so hard for this world, for any world that would even begin to have me. But if you want a villain to loathe, a tyrant queen… then here I am,’

The intruders look to be in big trouble. Can Kara pull herself back from the brink?

We don’t find out, as Lynari steps forward and talks her down. Calm once more, Superwoman has another chance to save the day. Except Lynari steals her powers and takes control of Aunt Kimara and her lackeys.

While fear sees the lackeys agree to leave Lynari alone, her aunt continues to rage. Lynari taps into her gem powers and takes away Kimara’s shapeshifting gifts, fixing her in human form. At the same time, she destroys the gem, taking away her own extra abilities. But Lynari has a plan.

The moon colonists, who previously viewed Kara with suspicion and distrust for no apparent reason, like this depowered version.

The moon becomes a much nicer place, and there’s just one more thing for Kara to do.

Die.

Well, she may as well, given Kara has long since stopped being the hero of her own story. Heck, in the final nine pages of the tale – that’s almost half the book – Superwoman gets precisely one line. Lynari is running the show, stealing Kara’s powers, resolving the conflict, deciding what happens to her aunt, setting out the future of the moon colony and, for all I know, pushing Kara into that new grave and putting up a sign marked: Cemetery for Super-Pets.

So that’s Future State. Yet again we have a Supergirl comic in which she can’t control her anger, revels in rage, needs a wiser head to show her the way and point her to a future not defined by ‘power and rage and blood and violence’.

It’s all a bit sick making.

Writer Marguerite Bennett is talented but seems to have zero interest in Kara and her character, her proud comic book history. This Future State story is set in 2050, Kara has had her powers for four decades or something, she’s taken part in hundreds of conflicts, but because she hasn’t got Krypto the Superdog at her side, she’s lost. She’s merely guesting in the Princess Lynari and the Fabulous Coloured Glass Gang backdoor piot.

Once more the lunar colonists are unknowable; last month they looked sad, angry or simply empty as Kara and Lynari protected them. This time they’re grinning like extraterrestrial Stepford Wives as Lynari stages her quiet coup. Bennett may know the reasons they act so weirdly, but she doesn’t bother to tell us; it simply seems that Kara has exiled herself to a life of passive aggressive pain. We’re told that after Lynari takes charge, people are inspired by Kara… but why? She begins Future State as a sad, lonely figure and by the end is just another piece of furniture in Lynari’s garden.

I don’t recognise the Supergirl Bennett gives us – she acts like a beginner, with little in the way of smarts… where is the woman who flew side by side to Warworld with Superman and taught him a few tricks? What kind of Kara would ever be jealous of her cousin and his son, let alone to the extent that she’d get into bloody battle with them? And why the heck has she given up on romance – Linda Danvers used to have two boyfriends an issue back in the Sixties and Seventies.

Marguerite Sauvage’s illustrations match the wispy world Bennett wants for Lynari, and her Kara is stunning. The panel-to-panel storytelling isn’t always clear, though; why do Lynari and her aunt suddenly shift into flying stick insects in the sequence a few images back? Why do we not get a proper look at them, they’re silhouettes in both panels? But the fight sequence with Lynari’s relatives is the visual highlight of the issue, as Kara finally shows a bit of life, and while the Dark Kara trope elicited a big sigh, Sauvage does impress with the ferocity of the figure, and the vibrancy of her colours.

The letters of Wes Abbott are exemplary as always, while the cover image by Paulina Ganucheau is beautifully coloured, if a little serene for ‘superheroine vs space sharks’, and Kara is far too small in the design; given she winds up with a cameo role in her own book, that’s not necessarily inappropriate.

This isn’t a bad comic per se. But it isn’t a good Supergirl comic. Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, stood for hope, help and compassion for all.

Kara Zor-El, Superwoman is hopeless, helpless and with no passion at all.

7 thoughts on “Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman #2 review

  1. I almost didn’t open this and I’m sorry I ignored this impulse. Future State needs to go away, never come back, and be forgotten forever…

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  2. You hit the nail on the head Martin.

    This is not a Kara book. It’s certainly not a Supergirl book. This is a Lynari book.

    And as you point out we go from depressed/near catatonic Kara to a pastel goth rager this issue. And then she’s dead.

    Bennett is being too cute with her pet new character. I’m pretty done with here as a writer.

    Future State can’t end soon enough.

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    1. I really do hope none of this bleeds back into Kara when she finally shows up in Infinite DC, or whatever it’s called. It’s such a shame Kara is the only person in the DC stable not to get an anniversary book, showcasing her best nature, something which could be passed to future writers and editors with a ‘this is who Supergirl is’.

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      1. No what sucks too? CBR has an article praising this book. I wish I could figure out why I can’t comment on the site or they would have gotten an earful!

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