WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Supergirl short story "Last Daughters" by Tom Taylor, Yasmine Putri, Tom Derenick and Deron Bennett, as seen in the holiday anthology book DC Nuclear Winter Special #1, in stores now.
For the past two years, DC has released 80-page anthology comic books filled with holiday tales to help get you in the Christmas spirit. However, this year's DC Nuclear Winter Special #1 is a bit different, given that it features short stories that take place in a dystopian setting. These are all dark futures to be sure, but, somehow, these stories manage to find the light and the warmth that comes with the best Christmas tales. And nowhere is that more clear that in the Supergirl short story, "Last Daughters."
In the "not-distant-enough future," the Earth is now a desolate wasteland where very few survive. In what is undoubtedly eerie timing given recent news (where scientists suggested to avert climate change by dimming the sun), there is no more sun that shines through: The entire sky is covered in a radioactive cloud, and it's slowly poisoning any and all who are still alive.
Meanwhile, Kara Danvers is not exactly the Supergirl we are used to -- in fact, she may be even cooler. She wears a coat, scarf and goggles that would make her a perfect fit in Batman v. Superman's "Knightmare" sequence. She's got short hair and Kryptonian tattoos on her arms (more of this Kara, please). But the biggest change is that now she has an adopted daughter, Lucy, whom she rescued from something called Blighted Ones (seriously, we need to find out more about this future, please).
For the past two years, Kara has protected Lucy, and she's been trekking through North America in the hopes of getting to Denali mountain, in Alaska. Since the yellow sunlight is no longer shining through, Kara doesn't have much of her powers left, and the radiation is getting to her. Her only hope is to give Lucy a chance to survive. According to her sources, Denali is the highest mountain in North America, and her one hope of getting Lucy above the radioactive cloud. Although it almost kills her, Kara manages to reach the top, and the sunlight is enough to give her her powers back.
Without wasting any time, Kara blasts off through the sky, taking Lucy to Superman's Fortress of Solitude. And this is where the true heart of this story reveals itself. In no more than six pages, it's clear that Lucy is Kara's entire world now. That everything she does has been for her, and that she is all that matters. There is palpable love between the two, and it gives this story its emotional crux. The reason Kara brings Lucy to the Fortress is so that she can take Kal-El's Kryptonian ship -- the one that brought him to Earth as a child, all those years ago.
Her hope is to send Lucy to another planet where she will have a chance to survive -- just like her parents had done for her back on Krypton. To save her, Kara's parents had sacrificed themselves so she could have a chance. And this is exactly what Kara intends to do to save Lucy. But then, she changes her mind. She remembers how scared she was to leave Krypton all alone, and she doesn't want to put Lucy through the same fear -- to send her, all alone, across the universe to live on an alien planet.
Instead, Supergirl lives up to the 'S' on her chest and hops aboard the rocket. It may only be built for one, but Kara breaks the rules and squeezes through so that her daughter doesn't have to be alone. And, together, they leave the Earth behind.
When Kara is faced with the same situation her parents faced, she demonstrates the love and the strength inside her heart -- the strength to be there for her daughter. Lucy means everything to her and now, the two of them are heading into uncertainty. If only we could find out where they will end up next.