Story: Phil Jimenez
Art: Phil Jimenez, Matt Santorelli
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Rob Leigh
What They Say:
“Who Is Superwoman?” part one! Lois Lane takes flight! Now powered up with the abilities of Superman, Lois pledges to carry on the super-legacy as Superwoman! There’s only one problem: Lois’ new powers are killing her, and neither she nor her friend and confidant Lana Lang know what to do about it. Will Lois even survive long enough to learn the deadly secret of Ultra Woman?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having not read any of the mainline Superman books since the New 52 kicked off as I couldn’t connect with what was being done there, coming into this particular mini-universe of titles has been interesting. I’ve been reading New Super-Man but have avoided the other titles under this character banner until this one came out, owing to the strength of Phil Jimenez over the years and the curiosity as to how this would work. I haven’t kept up with the mainline book or Action Comics and that means this book has to get me up to speed while dealing with its own story, which Jimenez and Santorelli do pretty masterfully even with the dreaded flashbacks mixed in throughout the book. The end result is a chaotic and busy piece that weaves some intriguing things that got me to hit the subscribe button.
With the recent Doomsday attack throwing things into a mess and a big dose of Kryptonian energy hitting, we’re now in a position where Lois Lane and Lana Lang are working together. Lois went to get help from Lana about how to handle her powers, which she realizes are far more powerful and impressive than she ever realized, because she learned that Lana was the one back in Clark’s Smallville days that helped him to master them in a sense and to find the right path to being a hero – including leaving Smallville. Lana’s not exactly eager to work with Lois as the two have some longstanding issues between them, but since she’s in the same boat by being powered up in a different way from the energy, the two have more than enough reason to work with each other – and to ensure that Clark’s legacy isn’t left to Lex Luthor to claim.
This installment works a lot of setup and foundational pieces to show us how Metropolis is coping after the Doomsday attack and how Lex is playing the role of Superman now that he has his armored suit. There are a lot of creative nods to variations of the past here, including the classic helicopter sequence and lines from it, and I really like seeing how Lex is seemingly a force for good at this point, though you can’t be quite sure how real it is. Lex being Lex is what we do get here, however, as he basically builds a massive aircraft carrier to help protect the city that ends up being taken over by some other force, resulting in most of the installment focusing on our two Superwomen figuring out how to stop it with their different abilities.
This serves two big purposes when combined with the flashbacks. The first is that it really does establish the difficult working nature these two have because of their pasts and very different personalities. It’s not the usual kind of working relationship we see as it’s not exactly antagonistic but it’s not friendly or even neutral. And it doesn’t revolve around men and relationships, though obviously it deals with Clark and his legacy. There’s a lot of appeal in how different their dynamic feels because we get so many books where the female characters are either just bland/nice with each other or they’re just going at it, often over a male character, leaving you rolling your eyes. The other purpose all of this serves is that we get a good handle on the dynamic of the city and this post-Superman world and how a variety of people are trying to fill that void. Both women present some very different ways of handling themselves as heroes, especially with Lana being truly reluctant to do all of this, and it leaves me wanting to see a lot more of them separately with how they’re dealing with it and how they’re dealing with their normal lives.
The opening installment of Superwoman packs a lot of material in here, making it a pretty dense experience with so much going on. Jimenez has a lot to cover with the story he wants to tell and setting up big swaths of it here makes for some pretty compressed and rushed moments that really needed more time to breathe. Hell, all the flashbacks could have gone in the second issue with expansion as the sole story and we’d still have a very packed first issue. I like what he’s doing and where he’s going with it and am definitely up for the ride but I’m also looking forward to some time to breathe and really get into these characters without focusing so heavily on the near-antagonistic elements as a primary character piece. This is a book that I quickly put on subscription mode after finishing the first issue as i want to see what’s in store for these characters.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: August 10th, 2016