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Comic Book / Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow

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Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is a DC Comics 2021 limited series by Tom King and Bilquis Evely, starring Supergirl.

Kara Zor-El travels to a distant red sun world accompanied by Krypto to celebrate her twenty-first birthday by going to a bar and getting drunk. Near her booth, a little girl named Ruthye is trying to hire a mercenary to kill her father's murderer, a royal agent named Krem. However, the mercenary simply steals Ruthye's very expensive sword and heads towards the exit. Despite her inebriated and weakened state, Kara beats the man up and gives Ruthye her sword back.

Ruthye begins following Kara around, seeking to hire her as an assassin, but Kara does not want to get involved in an act of revenge. Nonetheless, they are ambushed by Krem. Krem gets Kara and Krypto shot but he flees when he realizes he is completely outclassed by Kara. As running, he accidentally bolts into Kara's starship, which had been pre-programmed to take off. As her ship flies into space, Kara takes Ruthye and Krypto to a doctor before passing out. When she comes around, she learns Krypto has been poisoned by Krem's arrows, and they need a sample of the original poison to save the dog.

Kara barely remembers Krem's face, so she takes up Ruthye's offer. As both girls chase Krem across the galaxy, Ruthye learns exactly what kind of person Supergirl is.

In January 2023, as part of their relaunch of the DC Extended Universe, James Gunn and Peter Safran announced a Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow movie based off King’s comics.

Tropes found in this work:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe. Ruthye believes Kara's life is defined by pain and grief, but she makes clear that it is her personal opinion, and she is certain that Kara would utterly disagree.
    Ruthye: "I believe she lived her life in pain. But I reiterate again, for I think it important enough to repeat— These beliefs are based on my time at her side, watching her as she moved through strife and sorrow. If you were to have asked her, I have little doubt she would have claimed that such an assertion was absurd."
  • Annoying Arrows: Supergirl is barely slowed down when Krem gets three arrows embedded in her chest.
  • The Atoner: Krem spends his last couple centuries in the Phantom Zone atoning for his crimes.
  • Bar Brawl:
    • Downplayed. As she is getting hammered in a tavern, Supergirl picks a fight with the thug who tries to steal Ruthye's sword.
    • In the second issue, as Kara and Ruthye are stopping by a space bar, an alien picks a fight with her and gets quickly stomped.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: When Krem's goon swings his sword at Supergirl, she indifferently catches the blade. Since she was weakened but still quite durable, her hand gets bloodied instead of lopped off.
  • Bar Full of Aliens: Several times Kara and Ruthye stop by an intergalactic bar where some alien with a grudge invariably picks a -very brief- fight with Supergirl.
  • Blatant Lies: When Ruthye hires a bounty hunter to kill Krem, the mercenary grabs her sword and states he will get his payment now and slay Krem later, his behavior making obvious he has no intention whatsoever to hold up his end of the deal.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Krem and his crony ambush Ruthye and Kara, even though the bounty hunter has learned the hard way Kara is extraordinarily strong and tough.
  • Canon Welding: As stated by King, he is welding Supergirl's Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis origin per maximum drama factor. So, Kara is older than Superman, but she lived in Argo City until the whole city died, whereupon her parents sent her with Superman, who immediately dumped her into an orphanage.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: In order to chase after Krem, Kara and Ruthye resort to an interplanetary transport service, which is widely utilized by all kinds of alien species across the galaxy.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Supergirl wrenches the bounty hunter's sword from his grip and knocks him out with a single punch. Ruthye noted Kara looked like she was swatting a bug.
    Ruthye: I was not as uninitiated to battles as you might assume due to my youth and the gentle reputation of my gender. [...] But until that day, I never saw anyone so unafraid of death that they understood in their heart and belly a simple and perfect truth— There was no one alive stronger than they.
  • Death by Cameo: Hey, it turns out Comet the Super-Horse exists in Infinite Frontier continuity! Oops, not any more he doesn't.
  • Distant Finale: The comic ends with Supergirl and Krypto visiting an elderly Ruthye 300 years later.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Kara goes to an alien planet to get drunk and forget for a bit about her planet being destroyed and that her family is gone.
  • Fantastic Drug: Red Kryptonite has apparently come into common use in the galaxy as a kind of hallucinogen in pill form, known as Red-K. One user justifies his possession of it as for anxiety during travel. Supergirl states that for Kryptonians the hallucinations to their bodies just happen to become real.
  • Fingore: Ruthye cuts Krem's fingers off when they duel.
  • Framing Device: The whole story is told as a book that Ruthye eventually wrote based on her adventures with Supergirl.
  • Fungus Humongous: In planet Nycilan, Supergirl and her protégé Ruthye make a stop on a forest of giant blue mushrooms.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: The alien Space Pirates named their ship the Bonnie Prince Charlie.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Kara's irises give off an eerie crimson glow right before she swats Krem's goon as a bug.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: When a mercenary tries to steal Ruthye's sword, Kara smashes one bottle against his head.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Downplayed. The ending reveals that for the next few hundred years, Krem was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone and forced to evaluate his lifestyle. By the time Supergirl releases him, he's repentant and begs forgiveness from Ruthye. The elderly Ruthye still understandably hates him and simply smacks him in the face with her walking stick.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Subverted. Ruthye believes everybody must want a sword, but Kara insists that she has no use for them.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: If Krem had waited for Supergirl to leave before ambushing Ruthye, he would have certainly killed the young girl and taken his valuable sword back. Instead, he attacks both women and gets Supergirl involved in Ruthye's revenge, which leads to his death.
  • Horse of a Different Color: On Ruthye's planet, people ride a species of mammal that looks like a giant moose with mountain goat horns.
  • In Medias Res: The first issue concludes with Krem getting accidentally blasted into space. The second issue begins with Kara and Ruthye traveling by space bus to another planet. At the end of the issue, Ruthye remembers the events which led Kara and her to hunt Krem down.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Kara says she should pursue justice rather than revenge, Ruthye screams that Kara does not know what to lose someone is like. In hindsight, she admits she would have shut her mouth if she had known she was talking to someone who saw her parents dying and her civilization getting destroyed twice.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Supergirl mentions reading Ruthye's book in the Distant Finale. It's implied her narrations throughout the story are the book.
  • Kick the Dog: When Krem ambushes Ruthye and Kara, he shoots Krypto with a poisoned arrow, even though he had no way to know that dog was a serious threat.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Downplayed. Kara is weakened under a red sun and can be hurt, but she is still supernaturally strong and tough.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship: The story ends with a still youthful Kara visiting an elderly Ruthye.
  • Mook Horror Show: Krem ambushes Ruthye and her blonde companion and shoots one arrow at the latter. Said blonde girl calmly gets up, and walks towards Krem, ignoring several more arrows becoming embedded in her bust. Krem's crony swings his sword at her, but the woman nonchalantly catches the blade. Then her eyes glow red, and she states she could not care less for their weapons before delivering a beatdown.
  • Morton's Fork: We eventually find out why Krem killed Ruthye's father. He was an agent provocateur, who would make seditious statements, and then kill anyone who agreed with him. Ruthye's father didn't agree. In fact, he called Krem a traitor for saying such things. And obviously, a King's Agent can't be expected to take that from a mere farmer.
  • Motivational Lie: Krypto's fine. Kara never needed Krem to cure his poison. But she saw that Ruthye ran the risk of having her life consumed by wanting revenge against Krem and helped her find him so she could have protection and a shoulder to lean on as she unknowingly processed her grief.
  • Mugging the Monster: A nameless mercenary is making off with Ruthye's sword when an unknown woman grabs the sword and tells him to go away. The bounty hunter attacks her, and he finds out two things: her body is too tough to be pierced or sliced by his sword, and she is strong enough to easily take him out.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Ruthye calls Supergirl "the Maid of Might", one of her main monikers during the Pre-Crisis era.
    • Supergirl uses a Red Kryptonite pill to induce a transformation for fighting off a space dragon. She becomes wreathed in flames that form wings on her back, calling back to the "Earth Angel" period of her publication history.
    • The series throws some nods to "The Super-Steed of Steel" and Comet having a brief crush on Supergirl. Specifically, Comet reverts back to his centaur form as Biron at the moment of his death and Supergirl admits to Ruthye that she knew he was in love with her.
    • "Worlds will live, and worlds will die."
  • The Need for Mead: On her 21st birthday, Kara travels to an alien tavern in a medieval-like world in order to get drunk.
  • Never Gets Drunk: The plot kicks off with Supergirl visiting a red-sunned planet so she can drink to celebrate her birthday as her powers normally stop her getting drunk.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Ruthye ponders she will probably never know why Krem left his expensive sword embedded in her father's body instead of pulling it out and taking it with him.
    • Ruthye does not want to talk about what happened on planet Nycilan because "Some tales are too sad to tell".
  • Oh, Crap!: The bounty hunter who helps Krem ambush Supergirl and Ruthye gets a horrified stare when Supergirl simply and angrily strides towards them as getting hit by several arrows.
  • One-Person Birthday Party: For some reason, Kara decides to celebrate her twenty-first birthday alone, without her family around.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Kara and Ruthye's starship convoy is intercepted by a spacefaring, snake-like, humongous blue dragon.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Krem's Mordu Globe is created by murdering thousands of people.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Before beating Krem and his goon up, Supergirl declares she does not care about their dumb weapons.
    Supergirl: Swords and arrows? Don't you even know who I am? I'm Supergirl. Do you think I give a $#%% about swords and arrows?!
  • Recycled In Space: The plot is based on True Grit, except that Rooster Cogburn, Mattie Ross, and Tom Chaney have been replaced with aliens, and The Wild West setting has been turned into a Planetary Romance one.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Comet The Superhorse shows up for the first time in nearly 40 years and is already known by Supergirl.
  • Revenge: Ruthye's journey begins when she decides to seek revenge against her father's killer Krem, a king's spy.
  • Schizo Tech: Ruthye's home planet is a more alien-looking Standard Fantasy Setting with low-technology and some magic but Supergirl was able to find a spaceship to get them off-planet.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Ruthye tries to hire Kara twice. Every time Kara replies she does not want swords or money and she is not a killer.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Krem and a bounty hunter ambush Kara and Ruthye. When Kara walks towards them despite getting repeatedly shot in the chest, catches a sword bare-handed, and punches the bounty hunter out, Krem decides to hightail it.
  • The Slow Walk: When Supergirl and Ruthye are ambushed by Krem and his crony, Kara gets shot and knocked down by an arrow. Then she calmly gets up and slowly approaches both goons, ignoring Krem embedding more arrows in her chest.
  • Space Western: King has admitted the plot is a homage to True Grit.
  • Teleport Gun: Not a gun but Krem's Mordu Globe is a ball that teleports whoever he throws it at to a place of his choice.
  • This Was His True Form: Comet turns back into a man after he dies.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: When Ruthye begs Supergirl to take up her offer, Kara replies she is a superhero and is not supposed to kill people.
    Supergirl: You seem like a very nice girl, but I can't go with you to go off and kill someone. You don't know this about me, but I have a job, a very responsible job that I need to go back home to do. And the first rule of that job just happens to be "Don't kill people."
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Maypole in #3 looks like an alien version of Everytown, America, but we're immediately told by Ruthye's narration that this description will be baffling to anyone who's heard of it since their visit. Supergirl quickly realizes people are lying to her, and there's some evidence the blue-skinned natives have Fantastic Racism against "purples", but then again, there aren't any purples. She eventually discovers that when a bunch of sadistic raiders held the town for ransom, the townsfolk managed to negotiate a discount by deliberately sacrificing the Fantastic Ghetto of Purpletown.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Krem gets her and Krypto shot, Supergirl calmly gets up, walks towards him and his goon, and states she does not care for their stupid weapons before stomping all over them.
  • Transformation Ray: Kara uses a Red Kryptonite pill to transform herself into a winged, flaming being.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Kara cannot fight a space dragon in her weakened state so she swallows a Red Kryptonite pill, hoping to transform into something which can drive the monster back. Fortunately, she becomes a humanoid Phoenix instead of growing a second head or getting turned into a werewolf or a mermaid.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Realizing Kara has woken up with a hangover, Ruthye hands out a bucket so Kara can throw up discreetly.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Supergirl passes out after knocking out the bounty hunter who tries to steal Ruthye. When she wakes up the next morning, she is lying on a bed in Ruthye's inn room.
  • Was Once a Man: Supergirl specifies that Comet used to be human.
  • Would Hit a Girl: When Ruthye approaches a bounty hunter to hire him, the man takes her sword and backhands the young girl when she protests.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Both girls' quest begins when Supergirl goes to a tavern and witnesses Ruthye being stolen by a mercenary.
  • You Killed My Father: Ruthye wants to kill Krem, her father's murderer.
  • Your Magic Is No Good Here: When chased by the Mordu Globe, Supergirl and Comet fly to a white void beyond the edge of the universe where magic doesn't work.