Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Superwoman #15

Superwoman #15 came out last week and was another very interesting issue in this run by writer K. Perkins. I am an unabashed Lana fan and I have been very intrigued in seeing her as a super-hero. I sort of suffered through the slapdash, ill-focused early run of the book. And Perkins has done her best to try to shore this book up. Lana is much more likeable under her pen than she was before.

This book has always been about Lana discovering herself and dealing with her personal issues. And it was feeling like Perkins was bringing Lana to a place of stability. She was dealing with her anxiety. She was reconciling with Steel. She found out her powers were from Red K exposure. Turns out that stability was a fake-out. Lana is back on unsteady ground again. And while I understand all too well that life's ups and downs can bring peaks and valleys in your personal life and sanity, I keep hoping this book gives Lana a chance to breathe a bit and just do some heroing.

The art on this issue is by Sami Basri, someone I know mostly from the tail end of the last Power Girl book. It has a slightly cartoony, slightly anime feel to it but it works.

And heck, I haven't even talked about the new villain or the guest stars in the book. Let's get there!

We start with a nice back and forth between Lana and the new villain called Midnight. The panels work well with similar composition but mirroring each other. And both are questioning who they are.

But immediately we hear that Lana's powers are not from Red K. And it wasn't the Insect Queen suit. The power is inside her. We hear her theory later. But I would have been fine with the Red K explanation.

Meanwhile, we see this electronic entity basically be born and asking who she is.

Okay, I am going to guess that this is some remnant of Lena Luthor's embedding herself into the world's digital infrastructure? Maybe not Lena herself but some self-aware AI from that first storyline.

We see that even several hours later Lana is still at her desk. She is trying to write something but you can see her train of thought racing out of control down the tracks. That simple repetition of the things on her mind rang true to me. Who hasn't fretted over deadlines and personal time and felt some anxiousness.

What I liked is that George Taylor is there for Lana, telling her she should take a break and get some rest. I like that he isn't another name on her list of worries. That is a good boss and a good friend.

And then we get a scene I have been clamoring for. Lois returns. Remember that this book started with two Loises on earth. And one died! Now we are still sifting through the Rebirth/Mxyzptlk continuity wipe. This Lois was never a Superwoman. But these two should be friends.

Lois is in town investigating some missing persons. But she heard from Steel about how Lana is still suffering and Lois wants to help.

And here we see that Lana has taken a bit of a step back. All the questions she thought she had answered are back to being unanswered. At the very least, Lana thinks her powers still came from her exposure to Superman's flare.

Now I hate to bring up the Rebirth Superman Reboot again in the same panel discussion but did that happen? That flare happened when the New 52 Superman 'died'. In the new DCU there has never been two Supermen. I don't even know if the current Superman can flare.

Hopefully we get an answer and move on. I'm ready.

Maxima has stuck around from last issue and I hope she remains a supporting cast member for a little bit. At Ironworks, Lana and her team scan the city and discover there are tiny black holes or energy sinks scattered around. Lana realizes they must be the missing people taken away from this reality/dimension.

But how cool is this picture!!

I know Chris Samnee is doing the Terrifics, a take on the Fantastic Four. But what about these four??

Maxima = The Thing
Superwoman = The Human Torch
Natasha = Reed
Traci = Crystal

The villain somehow blips into Steel's apartment where he is having a heart to heart with Lois. It is clear that Midnight somehow absorbs people.

And she must gain knowledge that way as she is speaking clearly now, not in binary. And she definitely has a female form.

To say it again, I have to believe, given all the tech shenanigans from the first arc, this has to be related.

Midnight continues to chase the two eventually engulfing Steel.

Back at Ironworks, the fantastic four continue to prep for investigating these missing persons.

We get to hear a bit about Maxima and how she is jealous of the open relationship that Traci and Natasha have. And Traci praises Maxima for keeping Crucible as a safe space.

I'm glad that Perkins gets to write Maxima again and fill in some more of her story. The Perkins/Johnson Supergirl run ended all too quickly.

But we can't delve too deep into relationships because Lois staggers in. She hasn't been absorbed by Midnight but she didn't escape uninjured. Something is going on.

I can't help but fear the book is going away soon. I am interested in reading more about Lana who is trying to keep her life together. As a hard working, overworked doc in a stressful job trying to be a decent husband and father and son and friend, I can tell you that if I added super-powers to the mix I'd me a mess. I think that Lana reads very 'real' ... maybe too real for people who often turn to comics for escapism.

And I wouldn't mind some of the details being settled. Give me an origin that sticks!

But I like this book. I hope I get to review Superwoman #24 some day.

Overall grade: B/B+


Martin Gray said...

The u-turn on Lana's powers felt like a real step-back. At this point what's going on behind the scenes has to be more interesting than the series itself, I want to know why this comic continues to be a dizzying back and forth ride. I'm with you, enough with the constant questioning of powers, just give Lana some space for adventures.

I like Max, but this book is crowded enough, and after a few issues away, Natasha and Tracey should have been properly introduced... give new readers a chance.

I remain a big fan of Lana and K Perkins, and seeing Sami Basra art again is a huge treat, but this wasn't my favourite issue - Kilg%re-type villains aren't my favourite!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, January's solicits have confirmed Superwoman has been cancelled.

Decent issue, but I agree Lana should be given a bit of breathing space. and her powers' origin's mystery is dragging out. We should have one answer for now instead of a string of red herrings.

Anonymous said...

Curious to see how all this wraps up given the cancellation we got yesterday....on the other hand it may not be time enough for the creatives to decide on the exact source of Lana's superpowers...and why again am I supposed to care about that?

I wonder if this means "Superwoman" gets a reboot with another character taking on the mantle/trademark...or will DC let it all abide for a while?


Martin Gray said...

It’ll be Cir-El’s big return ...