Wednesday, March 16, 2016

CBR JLA: Tomorrow Woman

I've been really meaning to review some smaller comics from the past for a while. So why not have a look at the only sole issue DC Comics gave to Tomorrow Woman?

Remember her?

Comic title: GirlFrenzy! JLA: Tomorrow Woman #1 or simply JLA: Tomorrow Woman 
Written by Tom Peyer
Drawn by Yanick Paquette

Published by DC Comics 
From June 1998
Lineup GirlFrenzy series/JLA
Format: One-shot special issue GirlFrenzy! JLA: Tomorrow Woman #1.

So, Tomorrow Woman. How about her?

In case her name doesn't ring any bell, she was a pretty minor character from late-90s DC Comics. Like many other similar characters I like, she was only really intended for a small one-not minor story arc, yet she kinda developed her own fan following around that time. But I'd be lying if I said there were still that many fans of the character out there nowadays wishing for a comeback. (DC did a ton of those back in the day, remember Cir-El?)

She originally first appear in Grant Morrison and Howard Porter's Justice League back in JLA #5 in 1997. Got a few appearances here and there before her true purpose was revealed. And then she got "destroyed".

You see, she was in fact a robot created by two DC evil scientist by the name of Professor Ivo (creator of Amazo) and T.O. Morrow (creator of Red Tornado). She got accepted into "Blue Superman's team at the time (remember that? Another by-product of the 90s...). Become a great addition to the JLA. But it was revealed she wasn't a metahuman and was programmed to unleash a powerful EMP to fry the brain of the superheroes. They programmed her artificial intelligence with a loophole - not understanding the word 'freedom'. I imagine, just because they were dicks. But in the end she understood the meaning of that word and sacrificed herself to save the rest of the team.

JLA: Tomorrow Woman marks the character's sole main-starring comic.

It was part of the GirlFrenzy! lineup, a 1998 "fifth-week" mini-event consisting of several one-shots, each dedicated to a different DCU superheroine. There were 7 of those: Batman: Batgirl, Birds of Prey: Ravens, Starman: The Mist, Superman: Lois Lane, Wonder Woman: Donna Troy, Young Justice: The Secret and Tomorrow Woman's quick return to comics!

The story takes place during - that's right, during! - JLA #5.

Back when TW had just joined the Justice League, pretending to be a "simple" meta-human girl with telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

The plot revolves around the arrival of this alien being, the Sole Jurisdiction, that can can induce anger into other people's mind. It starts spreading a sort of "virus" that infects children all around the world who go on a rampage wherever they go.

At first our heroes can't seem to get their hands around this problem, but TW soon discovers she can use empathy to clean the kids, by projecting thoughts into their mind.

Ironic, wouldn't you say, for a character that has been hiding her true "Trojan Horse" role all along.

But the clock is kicking down, and even Tomorrow Woman knows without her short-term deductive precognition her days are numbered as the evil plan created by Professor Ivo and Professor T. O. Morrow is coming to a close and soon she will have no choice but destroy the newly formed JLA!

Tom Peyer's "never before told" tale "Tomorrow Never Knows" is a pretty interesting look into a very rarely used forgotten character, the well-derserved spotlight she didn't get before her eventual demise.

It's a bitter sweet conclusion, only adding more context to her tragic nature.

She was pretty interesting, as far as characters go. Despite being as quickly dispatched as she was introduced. She wasn't meant for much more than that! But she resonnated with readers looking for something more than Blue and Red Supermen or Aquaman missing an arm...

Her design always seemed silly to me, but in a good way. Like a big kid trying to fit in as a superhero while coming up with something that would take everyone's attention from the fact she was an evil murder-robot in disguise.

How Professor Ivo and T.O. Morrow's creation even fooled Superman's x-ray vision is another question that wasn't explored much. Certainly she was more of an artificial being than a sophisticated machine.

The lovely art of Yanick Paquette was certainly fitting for this story. He's a very talented artist. And while there's a lot of pin-up style poses and panels, cute and sexy works just fine for the "last days of Tomorrow Woman". (They really should have titled this one-shot like this..)

We also have a gorgeous cover in line with the rest of the GirlFrenzy! lineup (give these issues a look if you're able to find them back!), illustrated by Leonard Kirk and Karl Story.

Overall, JLA: Tomorrow Woman is a sad sweet tale of a DC heroine long forgotten. She had a really short-lived career, since she was just intended for a short story arc. So she probably already was forgotten by most readers at the time this issue hit the stands.

It's a decent nice look into the character, what made TW "tick" so to say. I still believe she had some more potential in her, sadly this was the only time they gave her a main role in a comic. Not long after she would completely disappear from the DC Universe...

The character proved popular enough to get a few odd appearances over the following years after her death. A first memorable cameo in the third Hourman's series, a story about androids, and a great appearance in a short story arc in the series Trinity #22-24, but that featured another timeline's TW.

Sadly, I doubt we will ever get to see her again in the pages of DC Comics...  (Maybe the CW finds a way to use her in a live action role!)

I give it:
2 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

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