Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Superwoman #1 Review and **SPOILERS**
Super Powers More Likely than STDs in the DCU, Say Doctors
Art By: Phil Jimenez, Matt Santorelli, Jeromy Cox
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: August 10, 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Naw, it’s a bird…if you mean “bird” as a derogatory term for a WOMAN! What’s the matter, Chester? That flap your necktie, the idea of a woman having super powers? Does that curdle your shoe trees, huh bud? A little unsettling to have a lady behind the heat vision? Oh sure, you might point to Supergirl, or Power Girl, or Big Barda, or Wonder Woman, or Wonder Girl, or Poison Ivy as other super-powered females in the DCU. But none of them wear the Superman “S” on their chest! Except for Supergirl. Look, I’m trying to make a point here, okay? This concept of a woman with powers is mind-blowing and if it turns you off, then maybe you need to check your privilege! It costs a dollar, you can leave it with the girl in the lobby and retrieve it after my review of Superwoman #1. Be sure to retain your ticket!
You know, there’s a couple of ways they could have played this gimmick of replacing New 52 Superman with a more likeable version from the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Universe. They could have just swapped one for the other and played it off like something only Clark-1 and Lois-1 would know, but otherwise allowed him to punch space slugs as per the usual business. They also could have dragged out an arc of Clark-1 trying to legitimize himself before a suspicious public and narcissistic Lex Luthor—they seemed to be going down this track, but recent issues have pulled back a bit. I like what has happened thus far from what should be a pretty monumental switch in character: it’s completely screwed everything up, not just by introducing two Lois Lanes to one Earth, but by giving one super powers.
See, when New 52 Clark went supernova and died at the end of the last volume, Lois was standing nearby with her old hatefriend Lana Lang. Lois got super powers…and oh, I’m just going to reveal it now that Lana Lang got powers, too. That’s right, there are two Superwomen involved in this comic book, despite the misleading title. Most of it is given over to flashback scenes of Lois and Lana in Smallville, Lois asking for some training like she gave Clark when they were young, juxtaposed with scenes from the present where Lex Luthor is revealing his super-huge aircraft carrier to the press and public, and of course Lois is there in her capacity as a reporter. As we go back and forth, Lois seems to be exhorting Lana to do something more than train her, and it’s all a big secret until terrorists take control of Lex’s armor, rendering him immobile, and then nudge the aircraft carrier on a collision course with the shore. Lois springs into action as Superwoman, and takes direction from Lana (who is also hanging out because they are BFFs by the way…also Lana is also a news reporter now?) who is whispering instructions from the dock. Lois is able to stop the ship from crashing into the shore, and rescue everyone aboard, but it begins to drift towards a bridge and that’s when Lois gets Lana to help—as Superwoman Red!
That’s right! She’s more like one of the electrified Supermen that resulted in the Electric Superman of the late 1990s, being somehow used to super powers since she trained Clark? Anyway, this experience, plus I suppose the fact that she’s an electrical engineer, allowed her to morph her powers to Maxie Zeus levels, which is useful in telling Lois and Lana apart. But wait, what happened to Lana’s bug-spawning powers she revealed during Future’s End? WHAT ABOUT THOSE?! (I know, it was Earth-2 Lana Lang, just breaking balls.) Using their fancy powers, Lois and Lana save the day and promise never to be bitches to each other again except for all the time. Later, they go inside the giant flight carrier to find some kind of Bizarro Lois, maybe? And the end is a real shocker!
I didn’t really do this story a lot of justice in this recap, there’s a lot more attention paid to Lois and Lana’s characters, and when Lana reveals herself to be another Superwoman, it does come as a bit of a surprise. This book is situated sometime after what’s currently happening in Superman, and does show how Lois has ingratiated herself with the public and superhero community, which allows this book to hit the ground running with pure life-saving action. It’s a little clunky in the beginning, as things are being revealed, but by the last third of the issue it all comes together and is pretty enjoyable. I liked the patter between Lois and Lana, but perhaps the whole thing was a bit too wordy. I’m interested to see where this goes, particularly since there’s a whole other level of identity wackiness happening in the other Superman books currently on stands.
Bits and Pieces:
Some good storytelling and carefully-chosen dialogue allows for a surprise development towards the end of the issue. The chemistry between Lois Lane and Lana Lang is palpable and promises to get better. Their patter is fun, though there might be a little too much of it. Artwork is solid and consistent, making for a quality first issue with plenty of intrigue.