Open Mike Night - Superwoman #1

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Superwoman #1

Written And Pencilled by: Phil Jimenez
Inked by: Matt Santorelli
Colored by: Jeromy Cox
Lettered by: Rob Leigh

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Mike Maillaro:  When DC started their New-52 line, the one line that really bothered me was Superman.  The character was basically a cynical loner and that isn’t really the type of Superman story I have any interest in reading.  Over the last year or so, DC seems to have gone a bit back to basics on Superman and his circle.  Just before Rebirth, I was starting to really feel a connection to this version of Superman.  So of course, DC went and killed him.

In his place, we’ve gotten a wide variety of new Super characters hanging around.  The Pre-Flashpoint Superman is back with his “Super Son” in tow.  We got a New Super-Man in China.  And Supergirl plus SUPERWOMAN.  

This series was teased as Lois Lane with superpowers, though very quickly this book turned out to have a few more tricks up it’s sleeve.  The comic reveals there are two Superwomen who got their powers from Superman before he died.  Lois as your “classic” Super template (flight, super strength, etc).  And Lana Lang, who seems to have gotten Electric Superman’s powers.  This issue further shakes up the status quo by seemingly having Lois get killed at the end of the issue by what seems to be a Bizarro Supergirl.

Mike Weaver: Maybe I’m jaded, but I wholly agree with all the “seemingly” involved in this.  I have a hard time taking the end of this issue at face value.  Lana gets talked into being Superwoman by Lois, including a pledge to never die, only to be forced into continuing to be Superwoman while Lois is dead.  

I feel that the Lex plot is pretty important too.  Lex Luthor has proclaimed himself Superman by putting on a battle suit and building a Super Aircraft Carrier to help out, but his powers and his ship get sapped away by some entity, assumedly the Bizarro Supergirl or whatever she is.  What I like about this plot is that it’s very Lex, trying to push his way into the lead role and flexing his wealth, but then at the same time, everyone immediately thinks “How is this possibly a good idea?” even before the ship gets hijacked.  Lexcorp stock takes a hit, assumedly because of Lex’s predilection for running out like an idiot and pretending he’s Superman.  I also liked that this immediately blew up in his face too, because it’s nice to see Lex’s smug smile wiped off that fast.

Maillaro: Lex has been a real unique character in New-52.  A total wannabe hero who has even been part of a Justice League since Forever Evil.  He’s still evil at the core, and none of the heroes trust him, but they have to admit, he’s actually kind of good at being a hero when he wants to be.  I wasn’t expecting Lex to be a big part of this book either, but I thought it worked real well.  He’s also had a pretty big role in Superman, where a lot of people assumed he would be taking on the mantle.

I was real curious how Lana ended up with “Superman Red’s” powers.  That seems so random.  During Super-League, we saw another Superman who got powers in similar ways, only his powers were fire-related.  This New-52 Superman seems to be a real font of different super powers for people who come in contact with him.  I am not quite sure how I feel about that.  Supes has had HIGH power levels for a while, but for the most part, they are fairly consistent. Well...other than when he became Electric Superman for comic science reasons…

Weaver: Hopefully, it isn’t Superman’s destruction that gave Lana Binary powers.  There’s other possible explanations...correlation doesn’t mean causality.  

Maillaro: Very good point.  It’s clear this series is holding back a lot of it’s cards, which is a good thing as long as they don’t drag it out too long.

Weaver: I think there’s always a temptation to do a “new” spin on Superman, because he’s seen as a very boring white bread character by a lot of people, many of whom have only the most passing familiarity with him.  Lana being a Superwoman with energy related powers gives you the Superman “in”, and the Superman legacy, while still doing something different.  However, Superman works for a reason.  He isn’t the longest tenured comic character for nothing.  I think that they need to be a little careful about where they head when they try new spins because ultimately, people reject things that aren’t “Superman enough.”  It’s a very Catch-22 character.  

That said, I enjoyed this issue mostly.  It didn’t really do much for me that broke new ground or caught my attention, surprisingly even the Lois death wasn’t that big of a deal for me.  Still, the dialogue was good, I liked them calling out the Superman “blurred face” deal, and Lana as a reluctant hero...although I’m not sure how she developed this reporting career as a farmer engineer that never left Smallville.

Maillaro: Yeah, I tend to agree with you.  Enjoyable comic and a solid first issue, but definitely not sure it broke enough new ground.  I say this all the time, there are over a hundred comics that come out every month from Marvel and DC alone.  In order to survive, a new series needs to be able to do something new, and Superwoman didn’t quite do that.  Especially since we have a Supergirl book coming out next week that will likely be far higher profile because of the TV series.  Not saying there can’t be more female heroes that get their own titles, but do we really need to have them all tied into Superman or Batman?   Part of me would have preferred that they have just done a book starring Lex Luthor…

Scores?

Weaver: Eh, Lex Luthor couldn’t last as a concept...but would be neat while it lasted.

I’m giving it the 3.5 of “slightly above mediocrity” in both art and writing.

Maillaro: I think I might go a little higher in the art, just because I loved the designs for the Superwomen and Bizarro Supergirl. I will agree that there wasn’t a lot that stood out for me in terms of the art though.  3.5 writing, 4 for the art.  I liked what was here, but it’s not anything that will rock the industry.


Maillaro: For next time….well...we can do that aforementioned Supergirl Rebirth?  We’ve been on bit of a “DC woman” trend lately...

Weaver: There’s worse trends to be on.  I like that comics are actively trying to do some gender diversification.  I’m for it.

Maillaro: If nothing else, I am a huge dork for the show, and glad to see it getting a second season and tying more into the comics.

Weaver: Sounds good.  Until next time.


Final Scores

 

Maillaro – Story (out of 5)

Weaver – Story (out of 5)

Maillaro – Art (out of 5)

Weaver – Art (out of 5)

Superwoman #1

3.5

3.5

4.0

3.5

Summary: Lots of surprises in this one; it is definitely not quite what you would have expected from the solitications.  But, for the most part, this book is still kind of average.  DC Rebirth has a lot of terrific comics, and I think there is a really good chance that Superwomen will just be lost in the middle of the pack.  I actually genuinely hope that I am wrong, and this book will continue to surprise me.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0