Review: Superwoman #2

At one point in this issue, Lana Lang -- the surviving Superwoman -- drops a head-spinning reference to a line from a recent Wonder Woman movie trailer. So, two things come to mind here. First, the current DC movies exist in the DC universe, which must be hugely confusing considering how wildly the films differ from current DC continuity. Second, it makes sense that Lana would borrow another woman's words to defend herself. To some, the reference might seem to be part of a dark agenda to undermine masculinity. In reality, I think it works well enough to illustrate the ways in which women -- even powerful women -- have to be on their toes to prevent anyone from undermining their own sense of agency. Lana is, as of issue two here, struggling to live up to the legacy of two heroes she had to watch die. And both of them projected seemingly flawless confidence. Phil Jimenez is writing something greater than a simple origin story, yet nothing particularly lofty in its goals. Superwoman is just a story about one person earning her position as a hero after the fact. Lana's scraping together whatever she can to build herself up as she goes along. swm_cv2_open_order_varThere's going to be a lot of understandable disappointment coming from Lois Lane fans. She gets shoved into a corner in favor of Lana Lang, a less prominent and far less beloved character. DC had an interesting opportunity here, now somewhat wasted for the sake of a simpler one-person title. Lois is often defined by the super people in her life. And in this instance, she's at least instrumental in setting events in motion. Lana is a less competent, less self-assured protagonist. She's a nervous wreck at times. And, though she has a nice safety net in the form of John Henry and Natasha Irons, Lana is trying too hard to prove herself as an individual. It's almost like she's running (or flying) away from the stereotypes people unfairly associate with Lois. Jimenez may still reintegrate Lois into Lana's story, but this is a one-woman show for the time being. That one woman is intriguing in her lack of obvious toughness and her history as a side character.

On a vaguely related note, Lex Luthor is a real buffoon here. In his lifetime he's gone from cackling madman to conniving a super scientist, then on to an overly-ambitious corporate snake, and now to this oddly anachronistic hybrid of the three. He's pompous and arrogant and unwilling to admit his faults. All of this, combined with an easily avoided late-in-the-issue plot twist, really paints the default Superman villain as a real chump of a Superwoman foil.  Luckily there's a greater threat lurking around the back of this issue.

Superwoman's journey toward confidence isn't new or especially mysterious in its presentation. However, every aspect of these first two issues is crafted competently. MI will admit some annoyance at Lana's behavior. As well, Luthor feels like he's here for a cameo, only appearing along enough to make the true antagonist seem tougher by comparison. Beyond that, and some questionable readability in the art (some faces are mushy, and many backgrounds are simply colored voids), this isn't difficult to recommend.

Superwoman has promise, but only if you can look past any disappointment at the loss of the first issue's potential.

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Superwoman #2 Writer/Artist: Phil Jimenez Colorist: Jeromy Cox Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital