You know, there have been more than a few Supergirls, but the only Superwoman I can name was a villain.
Well, that was before we got a new version of Lana Lang in this new Rebirth title, with the first volume subtitled Who Killed Superwoman?
Look, the bait-and-switch here for the Superwoman title is fairly well known at this point, but the bottom line is when the New 52 Superman died, he gave off a solar flare that gave superpowers to the two people standing closest to him: Lois Lane and Lana Lang. Both took on a Superwoman identity with different powers. Lois gained superstrength and speed, standard Superman stuff, while Lana gained energy powers. From there, we get an adventure that starts off with the first issue ending with Lois’ death at the hands of a female Bizzaro. From there, Lana and her boyfriend John Henry Irons, AKA Steel, look into who sent the Bizzaro that killed Lois without necessarily revealing Lois is dead…or at least that Lois since there is another one after all. And what connection does the whole thing have to Lex Luthor and his longlost sister Lena?
You know, I like the Rebirth titles in general, but…not this one. Phil Jimenez is a talented artist, but here he does double duty as a writer and artist, and the one thing that struck me most about this volume was how crowded it was. There are a lot of characters being juggled here beyond Lana, Lois, Steel, Lex, and Lena. There’s also a host of Bizzaros, the Kryptonite Man, Atomic Skull, John Henry’s niece Natasha and her mystical girlfriend Traci 13, various cops, reporters at Lana’s job with a Buzzfeed type news agency, and an English bulldog that I guess is Lana’s but is mostly just standing there in various panels. Lana addresses the dog once, but…am I supposed to know who these people are? Much of this, for a new title, seems dependent on readers already knowing who these people are and where they came from, and while one or two moments I knew like a reference to the New Super-Man volume I just finished. Very little is explained, and it’s outright frustrating. Factor in also Lana acts as narrator, even for things she shouldn’t know about, and she has a lot to say, and I felt like there was just way too much on display here. Plus, Lana knows her powers will kill her, and then she spends a lot of time going back and forth over whether she should act and save the day (and die) or hide because she has anxiety.
Really, there’s too much here.
So, I’m gonna say 6 out of 10 “Who the Hell was that?” moments.