Words & Drawings – Phil Jimenez (@philjimeneznyc)
Colors – Jeromy Cox (@jeromycox)
Letters – Rob Leigh
Review by Jesse Bowden
Since the announcement of DC Rebirth, Superwoman, written and drawn by Phil Jimenez, has been solicited as a super-powered Lois Lane story. When it was revealed that these new-found powers were slowly killing Lois, it began to sound strikingly similar to another title featuring a recently powered superheroine – Jane Foster in Jason Aaron’s The Mighty Thor. Jimenez dismisses these comparisons on the first page with an opening narration from Lana Lang.
Lana stands by, while Lois Lane uses one arm to lift a tractor over her head. She thinks to herself, “We don’t have all that much in common. Well except for one thing.” The New 52 Superman is dead; and for reasons due to comic books, Lois Lane has found herself with super powers. She has turned to Clark’s closest friend, Lana Lang, hoping to gain a better understanding of her new abilities. Throughout the issue, panels move back and forth in time. In the recent past, Lois tries to convince a reluctant Lana to join her super heroic efforts. While in the present, the two are seen diffusing a small disaster. The action is engaging but the budding relationship between the two protagonists is the beating heart of this issue. It concludes with a shocking final page that solidifies the bond between the two characters and sets tone for this new series.
Artistically, Jimenez fills every inch of the page. His panels are tight and often overlapping. The style would feel claustrophobic if not balanced by a very strategic use of whitespace. This gives the reader breathing room during action packed moments. His figurework soars with a kinetic elegance that shows off his incredible costume design. Finally, Jeromy Cox’s colors give the book a cinematic quality that is great to see in a first issue.
Moving forward, it’s clear that Lois will not be the sole focus of the series. For nearly 80 years the tenacious journalist has been chasing down leads, working angles and doing everything in her power to get the next big scoop. In the meantime, she has became an important representation of women in the workplace and arguable the most recognizable supporting character in all of comics. Lana’s character history is much less impressive than that of the aforementioned feminist icon. She was literally created to be a Lois Lane analog for Superboy before evolving into a Clark Kent super stalker. The New 52 has done her a lot of favors but Superwoman #1 elevates Lana’s character to heroic new heights. Jimenez perfectly captures all of the emotional complexity of the two women as they learn to rely on one another. By the end of the issue their affection is palpable and heartbreaking.
Consider the fact that these two characters were never intended to stand on their own. It’s refreshing to see their identities being explored in a Clark-less world. Issues like this are a reminder that characters just outside the frame might have the most compelling stories to tell.
Buy. This is a fantastic 1st issue. Jimenez is a veteran and it shows. He is using familiar character to tell a story that is refreshing and original. Come for Lois and stay for Lana!