Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Superwoman Or Superwoman?

I made the trek down to Acme Comics of Greensboro NC, the best comics shop in the world, to catch up on some comics. Of the books I bought, I want to focus today's post on one particular issue, Superwoman#2. 

I was intrigued by the title when it was announced as part of the DC Rebirth relaunch. It helped to have a high level talent like Phil Jiminez associated with the title as writer and artist. Phil's run on Wonder Woman was considered as a high point for the character so Phil knows his way around a female centric series. The premise that was put forth was Lois Lane, intrepid investigative reporter for the Daily Planet, has gained Superman-level powers and seeks to put those powers to use to honor Superman's legacy.*

*Yes, Superman is dead and no, he hasn't gotten better but there's another Superman moving in so we're all good. Well, I think we're good. I'm still wrapping my thoughts around that one.  

The idea of Lois Lane seeing Superman's life from a first person perspective, actually having super powers and using them for good, I thought that would be very interesting. Yes, there was the derivative twist that Lois's powers are killing her. (Over at Marvel a year or so back, Jane Foster took over as Thor with the same burden that comes with her power.) But still, it was a chance to put Lois Lane front and center in the Superman mythos once more, a position denied her since the launch of the New 52 universe. 

Lois Lane as Superwoman? Yes, I'm sold. 

Except that's not what I bought. 

As I noted in this prior post, Superwoman#1 is told from the perspective not of Lois Lane but of Lana Lang, Clark Kents's former sweetheart back in Smallville. I haven't kept up completely with the developments of New 52 Superman but apparently Lana is now an engineering whiz and helped Clark in the early use of his developing super powers. Lana was also present with Lois when the Superman of the New 52 universe died. It seems that this event gave both Lois AND Lana super powers. Lois got the basic set of Superman powers while Lana gained energy powers along with a costume reminiscent of the infamous Electric Blue Superman look back in the 1990s. (Except red instead of blue.) 


Superwoman is an identity shared by Lois and Lana.  

Lana narrates the issue as she and Lois are drawn into a threat against Metropolis. At the end of issue #1, Superwoman.... rather, Lois Lane's version of Superwoman is dead. 

As Superwoman#2 begins, Lois is still dead and persists in remaining dead for the remainder of the issue as Lana Lang continues to narrate everything. Lana's Superwoman is front and center of the unfolding events of the issue.  

It would seem that Superwoman is the story of Lana Lang, not Lois Lane.

And I'm not sure how to feel about that. 

As presented by Phil Jiminez, Lana Lang is a completely engaging character, driven by varying levels of confidence and doubt. Lana is no dummy, she knows how to get things done. But this Superwoman thing is not something she's prepared to deal with. Watching Lana coming to grips with who she is and the circumstances she finds herself in are the makings of a really good dramatic arc. While Lois was new to the super power game, Lois still had a handle on being in the limelight, being the focus of attention, of making tough decisions in a moment of crisis. Lana has dedicated her life and her skills to being of help on the sidelines or in the background. Thrust in the role of super hero, Lana for all her natural talents and abilities, struggles to adjust to the role of having super powers. 

But this was not the book we were promised. All the promotional images of Superwoman were of Lois Lane. All the discussion was about Lois' journey in this new role and her efforts to cope with the resulting changes in her life. And I was cool with that. I wanted to see that story. Lois was overdue for a chance to shine in the DC Universe. 

But instead we get Lana Lang. Yes, it's a good story but should we be OK with this bait and switch? 

Of course, this being comics, Lois may not be as dead as dead can be. Lois could come back. Maybe this is Phil just setting the groundwork where Lana and Lois will trade off being Superwoman. 

But there is something to consider. New 52 Superman was taken off the board to make room for the return of the pre-Flashpoint Superman, the one that we've known since the John Byrne revamp back in the 1980s. And with that Superman comes his Lois Lane, his wife and now mother of their son, Jon. If DC can only have one Superman at a time, perhaps the same is true for there only being one Lois Lane. In that case, the Lois Lane in Superwoman may be deader than just comic book dead. 

Which isn't good news for Lana Lang who was only willing to be part of this Superwoman deal if Lois was in it with her. Lana did not like everything about Lois but she had come to regard her as friend and a confidante. And it may not be good news for the title if readers are put off by the change from what was expected to what they are actually getting. Even what they are actually getting is still rather good. For my part, I think I intend to stick with Superwoman for the time being, at least through the opening arc.

Tomorrow on the blog thing: Rats! It's the return of The Pixar Project as I recount my family's rewatch of the Pixar movies with Ratatouille. 

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.  

Some Sunday Stuff

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