Kara Zor-El—the heroine known as Supergirl—and her cousin Superman have similar backstories, both of which include being sent away alone from their homes and families so that they may live. While both made their way to Earth and, ultimately, people who loved them, there was no guarantee that they would find such a happy ending. When presented with that same choice, however, would Kara repeat her parents’ decision?
That’s the crux of “Last Daughters”—written by Tom Taylor, illustrated by Yasmine Putri and Tom Derenick, and lettered by Deron Bennett—part of DC’s Nuclear Winter Special, on sale now from DC Comics. In “Last Daughters,” Kara navigates a blighted Earth with a sun blotted out by the sky. Older and wiser and without her powers, she carries Lucy, a young girl she found in tow, acting as her surrogate mother. Worried that her daughter is dying, she climbs Mt. Denali on a rumor and a hunch to see if she can break past the nuclear atmosphere and bathe in the sun. It’s a gambit and a risk, but that’s what parents do for their children: the nigh impossible. Empowered and able to fly them both to Superman’s fortress, Kara is ready to send Lucy alone to the stars and away from the dead Earth, but makes a decision to go a different way.
That’s something Taylor drives home in just eight pages of story: that heroism doesn’t stop at saving the world at large, but also protecting the world of your family. We’re so used to seeing a younger Kara that it’s a more-than-pleasant change to see a more mature Supergirl who’s come into her own as an adult and exploring all manners in which she can be a caretaker and custodian of the universe. It’s also a commentary on the cyclical nature of myth and whether those myths–like the ones that created Supergirl and her cousin–can be altered for a new way to be forged.
Putri and Derenick’s art complement Taylor’s words beautifully, presenting a dark, decimated world that feels uncomfortable to live in, but always keeping the light whenever possible. It’s ultimately a story of hope and everyone involved seems to remember that. As for the adult Kara, Taylor gives her words a measured weight, while keeping her optimistic attitude in dire straits. Bennett’s lettering is crisp as always, adding a lovely readability that augments rather than distracts.
Why can’t we have an adult Supergirl series—or at least a miniseries—with this creative team spin out of this tale? Let’s make this happen, post-haste! This is easily one of the best versions of Kara Zor-El put to page in her decades-long history and one I’d read with pleasure and joy.
DC’s Nuclear Winter Special, featuring the short story “Last Daughters,” is on sale now from DC Comics.