Superwoman #1 (DC Rebirth)
Smallville, Kansas? Let me tell you, there are spoilers if you haven’t read the other bits of DC’s Rebirth, like me. If you have but have forgotten (if you haven’t, you’ve been warned), let’s recap: Clark died in the presence of Lana Lang and Lois Lane, Lex Luthor is a “Superman,” and some weird stuff is happening.
Let’s look at Smallville first. Lois visits Lana at the Kent farm, which has a “For Sale” sign on it, presumably due to Clark’s death. The comic cuts back to this visit in other panels, but the important part of this conversation happens on the first page: Lois asks Lana for help mastering the powers she has acquired. But how did she acquire them? There’s the rub. Here’s what those of us that haven’t picked up other Rebirth issues have missed! Lois Lane acquires her powers when Clark dies. It’s a great storyline and I can’t recall if it’s been done quite this way before. Sad that they’ve killed off Clark for the purpose of this storyline, but I have a feeling I know where this is going and I kind of like it. Moving on…
So, the question everyone is asking is “Who is Superwoman?” Lana interviews Lex and there’s a mishap with his new battleship. Oh, right. Lana is a reporter for the Daily Star, a science correspondent and Lex’s ship is state of the art. It makes sense, then, that she’s there for his unveiling. Lex must operate as “Superman” in a battle suit and it malfunctions at the same time his ship goes crazy. (Actually, the suit reminds me a little of Iron Man or Buzz Lightyear…)
Well, Lois has to stop it the mishap but she can’t without help. Lo and behold, who else acquired powers? Lana. Lana helps out and they discover something terrible below the decks of Lex’s ship. Okay, that’s enough of that. Any more and you won’t need to read the book and I really want you to read it.
There are a couple things going on in this issue that give a silent shout out to previous appearances and titles. Lois’s first appearance as Superwoman mimics that of Superman in the opening shot of All-Star Superman (the movie not the graphic novel). The Daily Star goes back to the early days of Action Comics’ very first issue and with the Daily Star its original editor, George Taylor. I never read the first issues of Action (while I’m as old as dirt, I missed the original issues of those) and it makes my heart happy to see bits that were discarded for trivial reasons pulled back into the fold. And in case you didn’t know, back in Action #23 (1940) the Daily Star was referred to as the “Daily Planet” so there would be no confusion with papers that already had “star” in the title.
Being a writer myself, I’m always more critical of the writing and the story, but as I stated before: while I’m sad that Clark was killed off, I understand the “why” behind it. The writing is really good and the story great. I like the opening sequence and how it’s interwoven through out the narrative. (I was worried for a minute that it would be really jarring, but it was like a flashback, one or two small panels dropped into the larger scheme of things.) I really like that it’s told from Lana’s point of view. I think Lana Lang has been an underserved character and I didn’t really like how they handled her in the TV show “Supergirl,” so I’m glad she’s getting some much needed love here. If you’re asking yourself, “But how well were they written, really?” Don’t worry. I went in with zero expectations of bad characterizations. Jimenez did a wonderful job. Lois was a much better person than I expected her to be. Why? Let’s face it, Lois can be a bit of a monster when chasing down a story, and that’s what I was expecting. (No, I didn’t realize I was expecting that. Isn’t that wonderful?) She finally understands Clark and the light bulb clicks on, causing great personal growth in just one issue.
One more thing… I really like the design of both costumes. One is the more traditional blue, red cape and belt (but modern) and the other is more modern with no blue at all. Kudos to the artists for fabulous designs.
I give this book 5 out of 5 capes!