When I think Superwoman I think about the intricate processes of the industrial prison complex… said no one EVER! Editorial over at DC must have fallen asleep behind the wheel because half way through a fight scene between comic book characters I get Phil Jimenez’s personal opinion on the privatization of the American penal system. WTF?!? How does this fit into a Superwoman action story? One second I’m reading about superman’s BFF, Lana Lang, fighting a villain made of nuclear energy (Atomic Skull) and the next I’m reading a discussion that would be a better fit in a USA Today Op-Ed section than a kid’s comic! Again, WTF DC?!?
DC has been the home to some amazing comics that have attacked real world social issues. Denny O’ Neil’s run in the late 70’s on Green Lantern/Green Arrow is the stuff of legends, Superman has devoted entire issues to equality and race relations, but this is the most ham-fisted attempt at social commentary I have ever read in a comic. It threw the issue into a full stop for me. It would have made more sense to have Superwoman just break the fourth wall; turn to the reader and say, “Hey Kids! Let’s take a moment to rap about prison.” Then she could have wondered off panel to a waiting soapbox and started spouting the writer’s rhetoric. It would have been less disruptive to the story.
Amid all of this, there is a beautiful comic to be had. The artwork that Emanuela Lupacchino puts on display is stunning. Each page was a joy to look at. I can’t wait for her next project. Sadly I feel that she is being wasted on Superwoman. Jimenez has a convoluted mess on his hands and I don’t see him being able to write his way out to a satisfying conclusion. It all means the fans are going to walk away from this title and that means less comic fans getting to enjoy magnificent comic book art. This is a true disservice to such a talented artist.
I haven’t even touched on Lex Luthor and his sister Lena. After years of trying to awaken his sister from a coma Lex may have accidentally created the next big villain in the DCU. Lena is backed by the power of a tainted mother-box and an army of super powered clones. She quickly disables big brother and dons a badass version of the Luthor armor. Smarter than Lex, Stronger than Lex, and maybe even more vicious too! Welcome to the DCU Ultrawoman!
Final Thoughts: There are tons upon tons of untapped potential here. I fear that we will not see this title last long enough to get out of its own way to make use of it. Wonderful art is saddled with a piss poor story.
Final Grade: 2 Stars
Story: Phil Jimenez
Art: Emanuela Lupacchino
Inks: Ray McCarthy
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics