Review: Future State: Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1
Although she made an appearance in Future State: Superman of Metropolis’ lead story, Future State: Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1 checks in on the titular character’s new status quo. Kara is currently the pacifistic protector of Earth’s Moon where she protects outsiders and the disenfranchised, who have fled that violent planet for a new start. She is also estranged from the new Superman, Jonathan Kent, as well as the original one, Clark Kent. In this comic, writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Marguerite Sauvage show Kara mentoring Lynari, a metahuman with great abilities. They have speed, super-strength, shape-shifting, and power-draining powers that are displayed in a visually stunning way by Sauvage and are on the run from family members, who want the jewel that gives these abilities.
Future State: Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1 has many good factors. First, it’s nice to see a hero, like Kara, dedicated to non-violence and using her abilities to help make life easier for the Moon colonist, or in a last resort, for self-defense. (Of course, this rule is broken on the final page when Lynari is nabbed by her evil relatives.) Also, non-binary superheroes are rare in mainstream comics, and it’s cool to see one get to have an arc unrelated to their gender identities and also do flat out cool things like use their shapeshifting to sprout multiple arms and move rocks to make a lake for water, recreation, and other fun stuff. Finally, Sauvage has a gorgeous art style that is rooted in Magical Girl manga/anime as much as traditional superheroes, and she uses beautiful full or double-page compositions to show Lynari training with Kara and building a relationship with her.
Marguerite Sauvage’s color palette also conveys strong emotion like deep reds and blues when Lynari is sad that they weren’t praised by the inhabitants of the Moon for setting up the lake. This leads to a tense conversation with Kara where Lynari says some hurtful things about Kara not being accepted by Earth or her blood family as vertical grids of a “fly and talk” erupt into a full page energy blast. Lynari has obviously been through some tough times in their life and needs a literal safe space as their relatives are on the prowl. Sauvage uses different layouts and palettes depending on the sequence going for rigid and pastels when Lynari and Kara are enjoying each other’s company and flying around the moon and going to the grid and darker shades when there’s any kind of tension. Add her detailed backgrounds with the people on the moon having very different reactions than Lynari and Kara and creativity with Lynari’s powers (The sihouette of a dragon and Kara flying is very charming.) , and this is a story that you could follow without reading the plethora of caption boxes and dialogue.
Because, yes, Kara Zor-El Superwoman is a comic that is a little bit overwritten despite Marguerite Bennett’s simple premise of Kara being in exile from Earth on the Moon and Lynari being a metahuman on the run. A lot of Bennett’s dialogue is didactic, and she includes one or two cliches about revenge, kindness, and helping others when showing Lynari helping out Kara around the Moon would get the point across. The monologue and text-heavy nature of the comic is evident from the first page when she eulogizes her deceased dog, Krypto. The fact that one of my favorite comic book canines had passed away already tugged at my heart strings, but Kara goes into great details about the moral lessons she learned from him. They are good, but basic ones like “Be kind”.
Bennett mixes these sayings with actual character-relevant captions dialogue for Kara in Kara Zor-El Superwoman as she discusses about how she was passed over for the mantle of Superman by a relative newcomer, (At least, in comics time.) and how she tries to honor the legacy of the House of El. This creates overt similarities and a natural bond between her and Lynari, who also has a destiny and long heritage that is explained in a page of exposition. Mentoring and diversifying heroes seems to be a throughline in Future State so far, either in the actual stories or in the way they’re marketed, and Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1 fits this mold, especially when Lynari and Kara are training together or having tough conversations about Kara’s non-violence with Lynari’s relatives on the way. (A shock of heat vision is the answer to that.)
When Marguerite Bennett is connecting the larger themes of Kara Zor-El Superwoman to specific incidents in characters’ lives or journeys, her writing sparkles and complements Marguerite Sauvage’s magical visuals that can occasionally be dark or playful depending on the tone of the story. However, when she’s in monologue about good deeds and virtues mode, the book loses steam and feels more like beautifully drawn and colored lecture and superhero comic. However, I love how Bennett and Sauvage craft the character of Lynari, and I hope they have staying power beyond Future State with their cool powers and emotional openness although their backstory is derivative of several characters already in the DC Universe like Amethyst of Gemworld.
Story: Marguerite Bennett Art: Marguerite Sauvage Letterer: Wes Abbott
Story: 6.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review