No matter what else happens in this book, I’m just happy that Bibbo’s back! Your Major Spoilers review of Superwoman #4 awaits!
Previously in Superwoman: After the demise of Superman, both Lois Lane and Lana Lang found themselves empowered, working together as Superwomen. Lois-Superwoman died (in a manner very reminiscent of how her Superman did), leaving Lana to carry the mantle alone. Along with her paramour, John Henry “Steel” Irons and his niece Natasha, Lana has protected Metropolis against the latest grave threat, but now she finds herself haunted by the ghosts of her past…
THAT’S NOT A EUPHEMISM
This issue opens with Lana visiting the Lang farm in Smallville, trying to regain her calm, when she is suddenly confronted by the fallen Superwoman, Lois Lane. Cutting back and forth in time, this issue show us Lana dealing not only with the fact that her dead partner is speaking to her, but a missing Lex Luthor (who, as you may recall, has been swanning about calling himself Superman in an armored suit), a strange conspiracy having to do with the treatment of superhuman prisoners at Stryker’s island, Lena Luthor’s whereabouts, a question about magic in Metropolis misbehaving… Oh, yeah, and her own powers killing her. This book is a really complex creation, with a lot of characters in play: Steel, Natasha, Maggie Sawyer and more are important to the plot this time around, and as the issue ends, Traci 13 arrives with a grave warning: Lena Luthor is coming and only Superwoman can stop her.
THE NEW LOIS/SUPERMAN STATUS QUO *IS* CREEPY
This issue also makes a plot point of one thing that’s been bothering me: How incredibly disturbing it is that Lois Lane and Clark Kent effortlessly stepped into the roles of their deceased doppelgangers, without anyone questioning or noticing the change. I’m glad that, at least somewhere in the DCU, the humanity of the fallen New 52 characters is being treated as a serious matter. This issue’s art is likewise quite solid, especially given a lack of big fight sequences and choreography, leading to some excellent storytelling and layouts. Conversations are had in Bibbo’s bar, in John Henry’s lab, at a crime scene in Metropolis, and none are boring or static, an impressive achievement. Jiminez’ script actually makes a point of having Lana and Lois openly discussing the fact that so many female superheroes end in death, madness and other tragedies, another use of meta-continuity to strengthen Lana’s story.
THE BOTTOM LINE: THE BEST OF THE SUPER-BOOKS
Every issue of this book has been surprising, and it has featured some of the best twists and turns since Speed Racer left the air, including bad things happening to Lex Luthor (which I’ll always sign off on.) With so many ongoing series set in Metropolis, it can be hard to keep everything straight, but Superwoman #4 is polished, well-drawn and engaging, featuring an interesting main character trying hard to balance all the parts of wearing an S-shield in the DC Universe, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. If you’re only reading one super-title, as I am, this is the one that I recommend…