Never Be Satisfied - Superwoman #7 [Review]
Script and Layouts: Phil Jimenez
Finishes: Matt Santorelli
Pencils / Inks: Jack Herbert
In general, I like what DC has been doing with its Rebirth continuity. It's good. I did not have a lot of heartburn with the New 52, either, though. There were plenty of good things, and a handful of great things; more than I could afford to read every month for a person who reads DC, Marvel, and several of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 publishers. The same is true as far as my regards for Rebirth. Superwoman has been a bit of an aberration, though. It's an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Lana Lang character out of Greg Pak's Action Comics run during the New 52, I guess. But it has been curious to me that they [DC] would take a risk on seeing whether or not she could carry her own title.
This issue closes out the conflict between Lana and her team and the big bad that is Lena Luthor. A Lena that is a far cry from the version that we have been exposed to on this season of The CW's Supergirl. Lex found her awakened from her (cryogenic?) sleep a few issues back. But rather than being thankful, she was pissed. So the team's grand strategic plan is being brought to its culmination in issue #7. An old friend shows up. And Lana delivers a powerful monologue on the expectations of women of great power.
This issue is incredibly busy. There are lots and lots of word bubbles. Tons of characters. And a lot of different tactical threads. Think about those battle scenes in Star Wars movies where the heroes are split up into three or four teams and there are the sliding panel cuts between each of their scenes, but not as well done. There's a lot in this story that I did not understand the rationale for, and a big trope at the end that left me further befuddled. With the Lois Lane plotline, DC has done one of its famous undoings of a previous event that make me feel like I should not have bothered reading the previous issues. So the book starts back at issue #1 with Lois Lane as Superwoman. Then she gets killed almost immediately, and Earth-2 Lois Lane from Convergence shows up and starts working at the Daily Planet. And Lana Lang becomes the new Superwoman. In this issue, old Lois just shows up. And then they kill Lana. So will Lois go back to being Superwoman? Is Lana actually dead? Is this new Lois just going to be another goofy character like mystery Clark Kent who is parading around in Superman books, but clearly is not the current DC Superman, whocannot fathom who this doppleganger is? It just feels like the issue tried to throw in the kitchen sink and it just makes the whole thing feel like a Game of Thrones episode, with more characters than I could ever possibly care about.
Art is pretty decent, but there are some design issues I take umbrage to. Lana's Superwoman costume often looks like a one piece, but then suddenly near the book's end starts to look like a two-piece. Lena's design is really out there as a 4-armed Vishnu looking rendition of an apparition inside Lex's armor. Some characters float through who are unrecognizable and the art makes them look very anonymous and non-descript; at least one utters some cryptic line and then disappears. Superwoman's bright orange glowy look, which is I guess is a more persistent sheen from her prepping to go solar-flare or amping up or something (a thing I wish they had never introduced in the Superman New 52 run) feels weird and out of place given what her power-level already is. Steel I've always thought of as being more slender than the really bulky, blocky look he has here. A character who looks like Clark appears imprisoned in some kind of cosmic cube jail cell of what I guess is Lena's creation. The whole thing is just all over the place from the baseline of the story, and the art does not really help with the story-telling.
Superwoman #7 is just a bit of a mess. I've been off and on with this book, and I did not come away from this with a compelling reason to stay on. There are a lot of other comics coming out that have cleaner and tighter storylines. It's a lot of noise and it was hard enough for me to filter that out and latch on to what was really important, to the point that I stopped caring. I wish Jimenez had chosen a more basic set of elements to focus on. As it is, this was one of the regrets in my pull. It will be interesting to see how well this series does in sales numbers and how long it can last as an ongoing.
SCORE: 6.5 / 10.0
A bit of a muddle, Superwoman #7 attempts to tackle a swarm of plotlines and does not really do any of them well. Lana's monologue did appeal to me, but I'm not sure it will ring true with female readers. Who is this book for? I'm not certain the creative team has quite figured that out, which I was hoping they would do by the 7th issue. The road ahead may be quite rocky. I wish the series the best; I feel like this is a book that DC needs in its lineup, but it is definitely not clicking on all cylinders after this issue.