Review: Supergirl: Futures End

Cyborg Supergirl

Written by Antony Bedard, Art by Emanuela Lupacchino.

In 2014, DC launched The New 52: Futures End an event comic published weekly lasting 48 issues. The event revolved around Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis travelling from 35 years in the future to 5 years into the future to stop a robot apocalypse ala Terminator. To tie-in with this event, DC published over 40 one-shots in September that year, showing the lives of their heroes in this potential future.

The one I like to talk about today is the one about Supergirl. Why about her and not about a more well-known hero like Batman? Because Supergirl: Futures End is one of the first superhero comic books I ever read. I got into superheroes through movies like Iron Man and TV series like Arrow. When the first trailer of the Supergirl TV show hit, I had never heard of the character before and was curious who she was and so I started doing some research. I came across a DailyMotion channel, since long been defunct, that uploaded videos of comic books slowly going through its pages and Supergirl: Futures End was one of them. Back then I remember liking the issue, though somewhat confusing. Now that I have years of reading comic books under my belt, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the issue and see how the issue holds up after all this time.

The issue begins with a cyborg-turned Supergirl and Cyborg Superman arriving on earth after travelling all across the universe in an attempt to recreate Krypton. Herald Two, as Supergirl is now called, remembers having spent time on earth but not much else. The process that turned Supergirl into a cyborg has locked away and is solely focused on her mission. It isn't until she encounters someone she used to know that she starts to question her programming and Kara starts to resurface. I don't think I need to continue this story synopsis as I think it's very clear to anyone reading how to story ends, and I feel that's the issue greatest shortcoming. The story is very predictable, Supergirl start of evil, a cold and calculating machine but through the power of love, she can become herself again. It's not a bad message, but one that has been done to death and the issue doesn't go about it particularly well either. It hinges on Kara's connection to a character, and the group he belongs to, who the issue fails to establish as an actual character. He is just a means to move the plot forward and because of this their connection feels forced.

When it comes to the artwork, it is one of the strong points of the issue. It's in the same style as a lot of New 52 were, going for a more realistic look, but it works. The artist manages to put in some very nice detail and design work in both Cyborg Supergirl and Cyborg Superman and the menace the latter gives of through his face and body language alone is very effective. The fight scene, while short is well done and the reason why Kara turning on her cybernetic implants still manages to have some impact. So kudos to Emanuela Lupacchino, for that!

The art manages to give Cyborg Superman a proper menacing feel.

When I first read the issue, I became confused as I felt like the issue introduces things without properly explaining what they are. The side characters I just talked about fall in this category but reading the issue now it really isn't that bad. There are some references here concerning the main Futures End story but these aren't needed to understand the story and are basically there just for the cross-promotion. Reading this after also having read a good chunk of the New 52 Supergirl run, there is even a nice little bit of dialogue foreshadowing concerning that run one that once understood make the book premise actually kind of clever. The first half of the book is also pretty good. Antony Bedard handles Cyborg Supergirl's inner dialogue well. You get a look in Cyborg Supergirl's mindset and even though the machine is clearly in control here, a hint of the real Kara can already be seen beneath the surface.

Conclusion

I remember people really tearing this issue apart and yelling how terrible it is, and yeah it isn't going to win any prizes or anything, but it isn't a bad issue really. While its story is predictable and starts to crack and fall apart the more pages you turn, the first half of the issue is interestingly combined with its art lift it all up to a decent book. If the basic premise interests you, I'd give it a read but for a better sample of the Futures End event, I'd look elsewhere. 

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