Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Superwoman #3 Review and **SPOILERS**
Script: Phil Jimenez
Pencils: Emanuela Lupacchino
Inks: Ray McCarthy
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover By: Phil Jimenez and Jeremy Cox
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: October 12, 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
I bet when Lana Lang was in grade school, people loved taunting her with the “Name Game:”
Lana, Lana, bo-fanna
Banana fanna bo-banna
Me-, mi-, mo-manna
I don’t know if this refutes any canon, but I’m calling it now—her middle name is “Anna.” Lana Anna Lang. And if I went to school with her, I guarantee I would annoy the crap out of her by greeting her with, “Dang, Lana Anna Lang!” every single day. And it’s a good thing I didn’t go to school with her, because now she’s got weird magneto-electric Superman powers and could cook me like a frankfurter. I wonder what she’s up to now? No need to wait around for a class reunion, we can find out by reading this review of Superman #3, right now!Explain It!
Lana Lang continues right where last issue left off, all hot-headed and angry and boring down on the Atomic Skull who is in the throes of destroying Metropolis. But wait! Says John “Steel” Henry, Atomic Skull is protesting and he’s got something to say! Ol’ Mister Skull just broke out of Lexcorp-operated Stryker prison and he’s got information about John Henry’s brother, and any loss of life is acceptable if a superhero’s personal agenda is at stake! Speaking of Lex, he remains cripped and incarcerated in his own underground lab by his sister Lena, who has been manipulating Lex’s Apokoliptan armor and the Bizarress clones from behind the scenes, because she’s a mean little sister. She gets up from her wheelchair, fully able to walk, and uses that to tease her prostrate brother. But I’m sure if Lex was being bullied by bigger kids, she would come running to help him! Which she can do, now.
On the surface, Steel and his niece Natasha finally get Lana to take a chill pill and stop flinging deadly energy beams long enough for Atomic Skull to explain himself. He says that Stryker’s has become a real Lord of the Flies situation: wardens allow prisoners to beat each other to death, folks are kept in solitary confinement for months at a time, and they hooked Atomic Skull up to the power grid and used him to keep the prison running. Sounds like a normal, modern prison to me! Lana isn’t hearing any of this sob story, and she and Steel get into a political argument about whether penitence is possible and the culpability of corporations that own the prison industrial complex. So to speak. The important thing to know is that Atomic Skull isn’t the only weirdo to escape, and Natasha thinks she can track the rest down using the power of a computer! Will wonders never cease? Unfortunately, all of the brouhaha has led to a citywide blackout.
Back in the subterranean lab, Lena continues to talk lots of smack to her broski, while she simultaneously reveals her redemptive tale by hijacking the news media. Lena tells Luthor the real story, however, and it involves her being jealous that he made all of these other super-beings but left her helpless in a wheelchair like the vindictive, egomaniacal prick that he is. Well at least she can’t say she was surprised by his behavior! On the surface, Atomic Skull jump starts the city’s power generations with some nuclear zaps—isn’t this the very thing he was made to do at Stryker’s that he railed against?—and with the help of Lana, the lights come back on. This gives her a bloody nose, and while Lana contends with that Natasha asks after Lana’s partner, Lois, who died in the first issue. Nice timing, kid. Back in Lex’s lab, Lena finishes her evening of breaking Lex’s balls by putting on a set of green plated armor—that looks suspiciously like the green Robby the Robot costume Lex use to wear in the long ago!
I very much appreciated learning more about Lena Luthor, though some of her origin story seemed to be given over to reminding us of other Superman-related titles DC is currently putting out. I thought the formula of flitting back and forth between Lana Lang & her Posse and Lena’s acerbic belitting of her brother got stale about halfway through the issue, and perhaps could have been paced better. I don’t love the way Lana is behaving, but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to love the way Lana is behaving, so good on you, Jimenez. All of the components are here to make a good comic, but nothing within takes it to very lofty heights. We progress a few hours more in the story, and that’s all there is to it.
Bits and Pieces:
Some flashbacks, some new information, and about 120 minutes worth of actual in-story time makes for a fairly reasonable comic book (particularly at $2.99!) Some revelations are surprising, but not really shocking, and the ending is somewhat flat. The art is terrific, though the layouts seem crowded in this whole series. Overall, this issue is better than getting punched in the mouth, which will probably entice some of you degenerates to check it out.