Written by: Phil Jimenez
Art by: Emanuela Lupacchino
Phil Jimenez launched Superwoman at the start of DC’s Rebirth. Jimenez has bounced between DC and Marvel handling marquee characters like Wonder Woman and Spider-man and having a hand in DC’s mid 2000’s crossover Infinite Crisis. Moving to a new series and character is a way for Jimenez to creatively stretch, while still making use his knowledge of the DC universe’s supporting characters. Superwoman makes great use of the supporting characters in Superman’s roster and provides opportunities for them to shine under the bright lights of the yellow sun.
Issue #1 saw the New 52 Lois Lane team up with Lana Lane to use their newly found super powers to carry on Superman’s legacy. The first issue ended with a stunning conclusion and allowed issue #2 to focus on the ramifications while expanding the characterizations of the super women. Issue #3 includes appearances by Steel (John Henry) and Lex Luthor. Luthor’s been battling his super suit’s technology since the first issue and readers find out why in issue #3. There has been a lot going on in the Superwoman series considering this is only the third issue, but here in issue #3 Jimenez slows down the action and provides opportunities for the reader to catch up.
Jimenez has used flashbacks to help explain situations within the story arc while keeping the action moving forward. Superwoman is trying to determine who attacked the city, while coming to grips with being a super hero. She is filled with anger and rage, but Steel and his niece provide a centering presence to remind Superwoman that being a super hero goes beyond super powers. There is a meaningful dialog with a traditional Superman villain, Atomic Skull, where Superwoman is quick to judge the Skull in spite of him being abused as a prisoner. John Henry’s Steel provides the traditional moral compass, but Superwoman’s fiery stance may create conflict in future stories. Eventually, Superwoman cooperatives with the Atomic Skull to restore power to the city.
Emanuela Lupacchino art is slightly stylized and fits Superwoman’s character well. Emanuela’s fights scenes pulse with a sense of energy, but some dialog scenes with Luthor are inconsistent. In one panel they are tender and vulnerable, yet in another the style prevents some character details that could convey emotion. Overall, Jimenez and Lupacchino create a solid artistic team that fits for the character.
This story provides some closer to this small story arc, but the small arc feels like a distraction to the larger plotline of the past two issues. In addition, Jimenez uses a lot of explanatory dialog around Luthor and the revealed true villain of the story arc. The story almost buckles of the dialog heavy backstory, but Jimenez cuts between Luthor and Superwoman in order to keep driving the narrative forward. By the end of the issue, Jimenez has created a powerful villain with a strong justification for revenge (along with some megalomaniac tendencies). Jimenez has created a really interesting character with Superwoman and her journey of discovery and struggle of responsibility should provide another strong character in the Rebirth lineup.
Superwoman started off strong, struggled in issue #2, and now is finding the voice of this new super hero. Jimenez and Lupacchino have work to do to keep readers engaged with this Superwoman, but with his knowledge of the universe and her artistic style, readers should be in for a ride.