Written by: Phil Jimenez
Art by: Emanuela Lupacchino and Ray McCarthy
Color by: Hi-Fi
There is a lot going on in this issue of Superwoman. Internal dialog, hallucinations, corruption, prisoner abuse, god complex, and medical tests all make an appearance within the pages of Superwoman #4. There’s been a lot going on during the first three issues as well (check out the review of the last issue to catch up). There were other developments in the world of Superwoman that took place over in Action Comics #965 and #966.
Writer Phil Jimenez creates both a wonderful narrative device by having Lana catch the readers up through a hallucinated dialog with Lois Lane. In other situations, this narrative device of a visualized internal dialog may feel contrived, but here it plays nicely into to the growing illness that Lana is experiencing. Hallucinations, nose bleeds, and Lois Lane acknowledgment that she was dying create a sense of tension to the continued existence of this Superwoman. Jimenez blends this narrative in and out of a number of other character interactions and subplots, but he continues to return to the looming health issue.
Jimenez’s handling of Lana, her health, and her relationship with John Irons are the real strengths of this issue. His off the cuff comment from a prisoner about pocket time and a single page of Lex being stuck out of time feels forced. This issue could have left Lex Luthor on the sidelines while Lana dealt with the aftermath of the past few issues. Readers were provided a Lex update, but it did not move the plot of Lex and his sister forward at all. Jimenez also uses a dialog heavy news cast to provide updates on the city after the black and to remind readers of Lex’s disappearance. This works as a catch up for readers coming into the series, but also dilutes the main narrative. The subplot of getting prisoners back after the breakout in issues #2 and #3 only serves to hint at something that is directly stated by another character by the end of this issue. There is a strong central plot in this issue, but readers may get distracted by the toss away mentions at future plot points.
Even with that criticism, this title remains an worthwhile addition to the Super titles. With Action Comics and Superman featuring Superman’s immediate family, Superwoman provides an opportunity to develop other characters in Superman’s orbit. Even though the creative team has provided a convenient end to the series with Lana’s health, the development of her character has readers caring about her. While this title still feels like it is getting rolling, there’s a lot for readers to enjoy.
Superwoman #4 provides a quick catch up for readers, but in doing so creates a scattered feeling. There may be a lot going on in the issue, but the characters at the heart of the title are worth caring about and returning for.