Whether you're a die-hard fan of the New Gods, or you're looking for a way to follow one of DC Comics' best female ensembles, Female Furies #1 is for you. The debut issue, which hits comic shops today, is equally a natural continuation of the decades of Fourth World stories that have come before it, and a feminist parable that could not be more relevant to today's day and age.
The first issue in the six-part miniseries follows Granny Goodness and her titular team of women warriors as their treatment from the men of Apokolips shapes their actions on and off the battlefield. After a series of physical and emotional trials, one of the Furies reaches her breaking point, and it's safe to say that the DC universe won't be the same because of it.
Sandwiched between those events are flashbacks to the early days of Granny Goodness, which elevate the issue to an entirely different kind of territory. The sequences, which are bathed in visuals that feel ripped out of Jack Kirby's Fourth World, end up being wonderfully profound, and add a context and color to the life of one of DC's most arguably polarizing characters. While humanizing Granny Goodness is no easy task, the issue mostly succeeds -- not necessarily excusing the way she treats the younger generation, but highlighting the cycle of abuse that got her to that point.
That topic of abuse has been increasingly prevalent in New Gods-related work, most recently through the candid discussion of trauma in Tom King's Mister Miracle. Female Furies embraces that conversation in a way that only a female-led and female-written project can, saying a lot in both the text and subtext. In the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, there's something refreshing about dissecting the intentional and unintentional ways that sexism exists in our society, and what happens when that cycle begins to be broken. The way that Cecil Castellucci explores it goes from amusing to infuriating to heartbreaking at the drop of a hat, with a sort of intensity that hasn't really been seen in comics since Image's Bitch Planet. (It's also safe to say that this miniseries will probably be required reading for general audiences once Ava DuVernay's New Gods movie becomes a reality.)
What proves to be one of the issue's biggest pleasant surprises is the art, which Adriana Melo brings to life in a truly stellar way. Both the modern sequences and the Kirby-inspired flashbacks clearly have so much thought and nuance to them, and the various subtle design shifts that occur between the two could be dissected for hours.
The colors by Brian "Hi-Fi" Miller play a huge part in the narrative landscape as well, working in perfect harmony with Melo's art. While all of the issue's colors are dynamic and breathtaking, the retro pops of color in the flashback sequences are genuinely gorgeous. Carlos M. Mangual's lettering gives the story's different settings and tones a sense of timeless cohesion, while also being very creative with certain onomatopoeia.
There's no shortage of works written on the topic of female anger, but having it explored in a mainstream comic -- and through characters with decades of legacy -- is something to behold. While it's unclear exactly where Female Furies will go with the remainder of its six-issue narrative, this debut installment signifies that journey will absolutely be worth it. With truly inspired art choices, a love for the characters, and an all-too-relevant undertone, Female Furies crafts a poignant story that needs to be seen to be believed.
Published by DC Comics
On February 6, 2019
Written by Cecil Castellucci
Art by Adriana Melo1comments
Colors by Brian "Hi-Fi" Miller
Letters by Carlos M. Mangual