Friday, August 12, 2016

Review: Superwoman #1

I have been reading comics for a very long time. I thought I had seen every twist and turn. I thought I could anticipate where a story was going. It has been almost 2 score years since I started this hobby. I have seen it all.

So when I comic actually surprises me, when I am gobsmacked by a plot twist or cliffhanger, it is akin to gold.

Phil Jimenez's Superwoman #1 came out yesterday and it surprised me twice. Maybe in retrospect I should have only been surprised once. But nope, twice. That alone made this a great opening issue to a book I had been looking forward to.

But when I add to that the layers upon layers of characterization that Jimenez puts in this first issue and I have a winner. But Jimenez also did a fine job of mixing old classic tropes with this new universe, the very purpose of Rebirth. And when I take a step back and realize that this is a heavy read, almost two issues for the price of one when you think of what happens, a compressed story in a world of 2 minute reads, I was even happier.

This is the first chapter of an ongoing serial. There is a lot to digest. There is a lot to mull over. But from an entertainment point of view, I was thrilled. And entertained. And surprised. And impressed. And frankly, the older I get the harder it is to do all of those things.

The issue runs parallel timelines as we work our way through the action.

One bit is Lois and Lana talking about their futures while Lana spruces up the Kent farmland.

Lois confesses to Lana that she now has super-powers. And she needs someone to teach her how to effectively use them. Lana has a long history of that, not only teaching Clark how to manage things when he was a kid but also more recently in terms of her friendship with him.

It is interesting to see these two interact. Lois has to cajole Lana into this idea, throwing out catchphrases and scenarios. Lana seems less interested. In fact, she almost seems irritated with Lois. How well do these two know each other in this continuity? Are the acquaintances? How does Lois know all this?

In fact, initially I was wondering why Lois even went to Lana. Surely there were others she could go to for this advice - Steel, Diana, even Supergirl (who unfortunately is never mentioned in this issue). But more on this decision later.

We then cut to Metropolis were the Daily Star is putting together a package of Superwoman clips as they report on the new superhero defending the city.

Jimenez does a great job of immersing us right into Superman lore. We see the Guardian, he name drops Kurt Schaffenberger. We see classic scenes like helicopter rescues and talking to kids. It drips with 'classic' Superman, a nice way of showing that Lois is honoring that ideal of the Man of Tomorrow.

I also liked that there are no clean shots of Superwoman's face, it always seems blurry. That seems to be an homage to the earliest Byrne issues where we learned he vibrates slightly to keep pictures out of focus.

It all reads like an homage. And the television screen motif here is a bright reminder of things, not the usual dismal fare we see with this format in dystopian, Miller-ian books.

As for Lana, gone are the days of her being an adventuring electrical engineer. She is back in front of the camera as a science reporter for the Star.

Once again, this has a nice patina of old school Bronze Age to it. Back then Lana was the co-anchor on WGBS news. Here Jimenez melds that old with the new identity of Lana being a science whiz. I like it! It makes more sense than her being an independent contractor who ends up in all sorts of mischief. And it gets her out of the sorrow of Smallville.

Lana is on hand to report on Lex Luthor's latest monstrosity The Gestalt, a military ship designed to help defend the city.  While it looks like an aircraft carrier, it has more of a feel of one of the helicarrier airships Hydra was going to use at the end of Captain America:Winter Soldier. I can never trust Lex.

The ship and all adjacent technology suddenly goes haywire. Lex's armor shuts down, the ship begins to lilt and move, planes begin to fly off the surface. This is a job for Superwoman.

Talking to Lois via comlink, Lana tells her 'partner' that the time has come to make an appearance.

Once more, Jimenez gives us some old school fun. Lois actually says 'This is a job for Superwoman' as she streaks in. When she saves this plane, we get the classic 'who's got you?' line, this time delivered to Lois rather than from her.

This all feels like light to burn away the dreariness of recent years.

Back in the past, Lois and Lana continue to debate Lois' idea of going into the super-hero business. They still squabble a bit with Lana calling out Lois on revealing Clark's identity. Here, Lois admits regretting it.

But then we get the flashback of the famous panel where the New 52 Superman died, exploding in energy and striking Lois and Lana. This is the origin of Lois' powers. And she intimates that Lana might have more to herself as well.

Of course, we've known this for a while since blog friend Mart Gray pointed out this actual panel from The Final Days of Superman.

Back then I was worried that Lana might be the villain of this piece.

But in my first surprise, we see that Lana also has powers.

I really really shouldn't have been surprised by this. But I was.

Again, riffing on classic tales, Jimenez as split Superman's powers into a sort or Red and Blue version. Blue Lois has the 'tank' powers, flight, superstrength, breath weapons, etc. Red Lana (perfect) has solar energy manipulation powers, more of the electric side of things. This is a new spin on an old (and rather wonky) idea. This makes more sense than any of the other takes on Red/Blue.

Lana needed to spring into action because Lois alone couldn't stop the Gestalt from careening down the river, potentially leveling a bridge. Working as a unit, invoking crossfit, the stop the ship.

It is a fun moment.

But it is contrasted by the sort of uneasy alliance the two have. Lana seems to be in a bad place. No big surprise given the recent events of her life. Her parents died. Her town was literally dug up and moved. And then Superman died. She is in a dark place.

And she isn't even sure if she likes Lois. They aren't enemies. They aren't friends. They have nothing in common but Superman. (It reminds me of that great line in Moore's Swamp Thing where Liz Tremayne says to her husband 'we have nothing in common but the horror in our lives'.)

And then Jimenez really hits that point home. Lana has been having anxiety issues. She is taking medication. She isn't sure that she deserves these powers, attaining them more by accident than by Superman's wishes.

Lana talks about needing Lois to be there as a sort of rock, to keep her together. Lana has always been fiery. She hates that Lex is corrupting and co-opting the Superman legacy.

Lois agrees to be there for Lana. But Lana needs to honor Clark as well. She needs to help the world.

It is a powerful scene, dripping in sepia and orange, evoking nostalgia. We've seen this scene a number of times before (my fave being Pa telling Clark he wasn't put on Earth to score touchdowns).

But then, the big big big surprise.

Investigating the ship, Lana and Lois come across strange Bizarro-like women. And when Lois engages one, she seems to overload her powers. Like Clark did before, she explodes in energy and turns to sand.


I mean whoa.

I did not see that coming. This book has been touted as a Lois as Superwoman book. To have her 'die' at the end was like having the rug pulled out from under me. It took me a second to process it.

Now I doubt Lois is truly dead. Much like the dead Superman, I get the sense she will eventually come back.

But it opens up a lot of story possibilities for this book. Because now we have a rudderless Lana, who now has to deal with more tragedy, set loose on the world. And that will be a fascinating book to read. I hope we at least get a couple of issues of that. I want to read a Lois book ... trust me. But I want innovative stories too.

So all I can say is kudos to Jimenez. Action. Characterization. Surprises. This one has it all.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

This truly was a treat, a meaty book that feels familiar and new at the same time. I loved the interplay between the woman, and don't doubt they'd have become like sisters - not perfect siblings, but supportive friends. But the swerve, wow!

Was there two evil superwomen? I saw Bizarro (Earth 3-style) Superwoman and the mystery person in the green face tiara... maybe I'm not parsing the art properly.

I really like Jimenez's take on Lana, she's a bit Julianne Moore.

Libby said...

"I want to read a Lois book ... trust me. But I want innovative stories too." So a Lois book couldn't have been innovative? You say this as if those upset that this isn't more of the Lois-centric story it was introduced as are against innovative storytelling. That's not fair.

I think you're far too lenient about the relationship dynamics and characterization here. Lois has just as much reason, maybe more, to be upset as Lana. She lost her friend in Clark, too, and just went through the year of hell after her reveal of Clark's secret. She was punched by Lana, which has been recalled but never apologized for. She has new powers that, unlike Lana, she doesn't understand or control as well. Oh, and they're also giving her nosebleeds. Other versions of herself and her friend Clark, including a son, exist on this world; so she's likely questioning her destiny and place, including not working at the DP anymore. Lois also previously lost her memory of a year of her life where she was taken over by Brainiac. Lana's parents may have died, but Lois knows, from looking at the news, that she killed people as Brainiac. She also, like I said, lost memories and time. Lois also recently lost John Corben who died sacrificing himself.

Lana has new powers that Clark never had, but she can still figure them out easily. Her parents died, yes, but we already saw her get months of comics in Pak's "Haunted" arc showing us her working through them. This book invented a brother of Lana's to kill him off as a contrivance to weigh her down further. Lana also has people in her life while Lois is alone. Lana has her boyfriend, Steel, for example. She lives with him and with Natasha. Lois has no one. At best, she was with her boyfriend Jonathan, who Jimenez seems to think she was once engaged to, but he hasn't been in the picture for years.

The power dynamics are off, too. Lana gets to insult Lois and unfairly bring up Lois' reveal of Clark's secret as something regrettable, when it's nothing to regret. In fact, Clark forgave Lois for because it was clearly to save his life. Lois' heroism has to be filtered through her basically begging and needing Lana to explain everything to her. When Lana needs encouragement to get involved herself, Lois has to frame it as her being needy.

The end result is a Lois who the narrative robs of equal footing as a hero and as a complex human being. Any new reader who picked this up would have very little idea about who this Lois is, because Jimenez doesn't explain her backstory, like he does for Lana, and he doesn't give her an inner life either. Lois and Lana also continue to grow more similar, as Lana acquires a link to the military and takes on the role of reporter grilling Lex so similar to formative Lois scenes we've had before in, for example, Superman: The Animated Series, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Geoff Johns' Secret Origin.

Lois is largely a prop for Lana, and that should be unacceptable. It is to me.

Godzylla said...

While it's a helluva bait and switch to "lose" Lois at the end of the first issue, She seems okay by the third (at least, there's a dark-haired woman in a flowing red cape on the cover).

Lots of story, gorgeous art, this is definitely worth checking out for a few issues to see where it's going. (Though I don't quite buy Lana as trainer of Clark, and the retcon of the Truth storyline was not appreciated.)

I do agree that for a Lois-promoted book Lois was surprisingly secondary to Lana. Doesn't bother me as much with the Red/Blue reveal, but Lois has been way down the priority list in Action and Superman, so I was expecting her to be at the forefront of characterization here. Playing against expectations is good, though!

Maya said...

I loved the return to storytelling. I am so so so sick of decompression thanks to the 90s mania. This felt like an old time comic book. I also liked some of the callbacks to previous generations and stories.

That said? I didn't like this story at all. I just do not like the dynamic between Lana and Lois. I didn't have a problem with the story being told toward Lana's eyes. I just felt Lana was written as this perfect person who can do everything and everything and is never wrong.

Lois seemed like a contrite hat in hand person. "Please help me oh perfect one"

I deeply resented how the conversation around the outing of Clark which just added to what I felt was Lana's self righteousness.

I thought the training could have been more fun. Blind leading the blind if you will which shows a friendship instead of this unpleasantness.

I don't think Lois is dead and if she's not? I hope that this Lana/Lois relationship is portrayed better. Give us two friends, not an echo of the rivals they were in the Lois Lane books I read as a kid.

Anonymous said...

The riff on Superman: The Movie's line of "You've got us? Who's got you?!" definately cements it for me.
I'll stick around and see how this goes, but there's definately things to like, and things to see how
they go.

Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Lana being Lois's partner in this story really surprised me, but considering the history of Lois and Lana I guess this was the right thing to do. It is a distaff version of the red/blue Superman, Lois being the blue Superwoman and Lana the red Superwoman. And it is a relief that the mysterious Ultrawoman is somebody else and not Lana.

Anonymous said...

The Lois Lane brigade appeared particularly mad about this issue, the stuff I read on Bleeding Cool and Twitter was full of vitriol and salt to say the least. Not very flattering to the female geek side of the fanbase IMO. Surprised to hear you say you were caught out by the end of the twist, it may have been unexpected but ultimately it was still for shock value which might not be the best way to maintain readership interest. Nonetheless, just like two versions of Superman are extraneous, keeping both Lois' around would be equally extraneous. A superpowered Lois takes away from the supporting cast normalcy the character is supposed to contrast with so it's better that the Pre 52 Lois is still around and going back to work at The Daily Planet IMO.


Martin Gray said...

I was going to chime in and argue against the 'Lois Brigade', but I've been there too many times with Libby and Shades of Limelight and co - there really is no point.

Anonymous said...

@Martin,, there is absolutely no reason to target Libby and I here. That's incredibly mean. I hadn't even commented on this thread and wasn't planning to because I respect Anj and didn't want to rain on his parade. I don't comment on your blog, I don't tweet you and I don't read your twitter. I do not bother you. If you want to have a podcast with your friends where you talk about how great you think this is, no one stops you from doing that. Libby and I do not impact you at all and targeting us here in a comment thread (one that I didn't even participate in?) is totally out of line. Libby's comment also doesn't mention you at all. She's simply sharing her thoughts. She did nothing wrong.

There are a ton of women on both tumblr and twitter who were upset about this this week. Libby and I are two of many. Women you DO NOT know who don't have blogs. They are not a "Lois bridgade"---they are fans with opinions and feelings that are equally important as yours. Their voices matter and they don't deserve to be talked down to like that.

@Louis, personally I think your comment is unfair. Let me be clear..I block Bleeding Cool. The reason I block them is because I do think that site incites drama and I don't like when they take tweets like that and post them because it tends to invite harassment. So those weren't my tweets on there. However, your judgement of the women who WERE is not fair. Let us not forget here that there is not one female writer or editor in the Superman office and that is serious. I don't think it's unreasonable that people were upset about the bait and switch and they are allowed to be upset about on their OWN TWITTER without being shamed for it. Bleeding Cool goes out of their way to incite controversy which, again, is why I block them. Those girls are not to blame for that.

Anj, I apologize for the response but truly....this is really upsetting. I agree with Maya above. The art is stunning on the book. I love a dense, packed issue because I love when comics actually take longer to read. (If I read one more comic that is just splash pages with a few words...) All of that is great. I would welcome a friendship between Lois and lana but it has to be done right. This was not done well and I agree with Maya that the way "Truth" was handled was unfair and poor. I also agree that the bait and switch was particularly cruel. There has been talk of a Lois Lane solo book for years and this feels a rather mean trick to play on fans, particularly after Lois was so underserved in the new 52. I will be back for issue 2 because I like Phil very much (and have always enjoyed talking to him) but I did not enjoy this issue. Thanks Anj and hope you have a safe and fun time with the girls at Boston Comic Con.


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I won't pick this up until this coming Wednesday, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the Jimenez art. But I'm still trying to figure out the whole idea of two Loises. The Lois of the N52 wasn't that great, but a mini-series would have been nice. I think they made Lois different as a contrast to Wonder Woman, I dunno.

So now we have older Lois, so the connection to her and the preF Superman would be noticed by more than a few people, like Batman and Luthor. I'm more baffled as to why DC thought the best thing to do was to kill off the N52 Superman and then follow with Lois. Why can't there be the other Lois just living in upstate NY?

I do like the idea of Lana in the book, from what I read in the review. It just makes me think that everything is being undone to push us from the Superman/Wonder Woman thing. N52 Lois has no reason to die, really.

Maya said...

So.. I am a proud flag wearing Lois brigade. I have been for 47 years now. When my dad bought me my first Lois Lane comic book from the drug store. Please stop tarring all "female" fans by the same brush won't you?

I did not like this issue at all. However? I loved the story telling because it reminded me of that time when stories were told in one comic book vs 5. I am not enjoying Action or Superman for this reason. It is being pushed out to the point of boredom.

I think the problem in this book is that Lois and Lana are written in homage to the silver age rivalry. And I think that was a huge misstep.

And to go meta here? I might disagree with Martin, Keith and Anj? But two of them I've met and broke bread (one, multiple times) and the other I still feel I know and respect.

I might not agree with what they say all the time but I love them and respect their thoughts.

This is a subjective medium. The minute we lose sight of this? Is the minute we lose a lot more than I can express.

Maya said...

PS? When I say Lois Brigade, I forgot to say. I'm talking to you Louis. Stop stereotyping us all in to one mold. Please.

Anonymous said...

That's more direct responses to me than expected, guess I'd better get to it.

Shades - Yes I'm familiar with your penchant for blocking, I'm not surprised you'd block Bleeding Cool as well. I don't disagree that they incite drama and click bait, even if I didn't live near Rich I know the kind of person he is. It doesn't change the fact that the responses Rich posted can be easily found with a quick Twitter search and if you look for the certain fan circles on social media. I wasn't being unfair in pointing that out, I have seen some constructive criticism of Superwoman #1. I have also seen a load of emotionally immature and petty vindictive rants jabbing at the expense of Lana. I'm sure you wouldn't like that when female fans call a female character they don't like names. I know the deal about Berganza but outside of him why is a lack of woman in the Superman office a problem? Surely a job in comics as in any job should be determined by qualifications, an understanding of the character and a passion to deal stories about that character. It just so happens most of those qualities are found in men as comic books is still a male dominated hobby. I don't hear this problem from female fans with Rucka on Wonder Woman.

Maya - I'm afraid it's quite hard not to notice the rather negative and unappealing traits displayed by female comic fans in this instance. You don't fit that typecast because you have spelt out your thoughts more reasonably than the other Lois Lane fans. Many of the Lois Brigade did not follow your suit. I think I recall a conversation you were tagged in where most of them were acting like catty mean girls. One Clois shipper you probably know claimed she had her dog urinate on her copy of Superwoman #1 and then burnt it. Hopefully that's not true because if so, that doesn't indicate a great deal of emotional maturity or reasonable discourse does it? So I'm not trying to stereotype the Lois fans, the mould has made itself of its own accord.


Anj said...

Wow! Lots of comments. Thanks very one!

I know the issue has been a bit if a lightning rod. So let me say this.

1) I am a Lois fan and agree she has been given the shirt end of the stick since the New 52. I want to see her as a star, not forgotten. And I certainly don't want to see her dead as a character.

2) This universe is Ina weird place because of the fact that there are 2 Lois Lanes. So maybe there was some decision to get it down to 1 and concentrate on the older one for now. Most have assumed that the dead Superman will return. Why not assume this Lois will be back too.

3) I liked the Lois/Lana tension in the issue. Lois clearly had the moral high ground, was acting more mature, was the better person. So she wasn't treated badly in my mind.

4) Lastly, I can't get away from the fact that I was floored by the story. I thought the ending was shocking. It is like the death of Janet Leigh in Psycho, the star killed unexpectedly early. So while the content of the surprise my not be desired, the effect was there.

One more thing, thanks everyone for discussing the book and not devolving into name calling. Emotions might be high. But the discourse is wonderful Thanks!

Maya said...

Louis: The problem is when you call out people as "Lois Brigade" and lump all fans in to "Female" fans. Why not talk to the people you disagree with directly. Not all male fans feel the same way. Not all women fans feel the same way. We are individuals. And frankly, as Anj just posted, he is part of the Lois Brigade, as is Keith as is Martin. Just stop lumping women in to one group in order to dismiss us. I am frankly sick of it. I'll repeat. I've been reading these books for 47 years. I have no idea if I am older than you or not. However? I've had to defend myself and my knowledge because I'm a "female" geek too many times since the 90s. Yet I never had to do that before. So? Just stop it. You take issue with a certain poster, fine, but do not make it in to a gender issue. Not cool. At all.

(Sorry Anj. I don't mean to derail but this just really really annoyed me)

Libby said...

Sorry, Anj, but your response to this issue and to the comments on your review don't sit well with me. It's not that I don't appreciate the work you put into the review, the civil nature with which you engage with others, and your right to have a different, in this case, positive reaction to this issue. I do. Nonetheless, we do have two very different reactions to this story. My apologies for my long response that I’ve broken up into a few different posts due to a character limit.

Before I get to the story, however, I want to address what you said in your last comment. You expressed gratitude for the fact that the discussion here hadn't devolved into name calling, which I found strange, because quite clearly it did. Calling people the "Lois Brigade" and lumping fans into groups like "female fans," as Maya's post discusses, isn't civil discourse and it is name calling. I don't know how to feel when the person whose analysis of a story I am engaging with (an analysis that takes on a sunny outlook on the narrative told) shows a pattern of missing or putting a positive spin on things that, to me, are clearly negative, especially when it involves characters or fellow fans I know and believe you admire and respect a great deal.

Now, to the comic itself. My first reaction to your praise for the shocking effect of Lois' apparent demise at the end of the issue is that I wish that it could have been shocking. Sadly, the reason it wasn't is the reason why I think it's a problem. Female characters dying for shock value or as a plot device is awful when it’s to motivate a man (i.e. fridging), especially if it’s permanent; so this isn’t that, fortunately. Nonetheless, it still carries the stench of something rotten when it’s done to who was thought to have been the titular character in her debut issue, particularly when it's so common not to just kill female characters as plot devices and for shock value, but to kill Lois Lane who is killed this way at least a few times every decade or less. It's a gimmick, in other words, and not a well-told and character-driven death.

With New 52 Lois, my expectations are already very low. She's been marginalized and exploited, never to her benefit, for years now. I'm used to her getting this kind of treatment, using her for the kind of shock that creates controversy and the loathsome "buzz" DC seems to crave. Consequently, when I got to the death my reaction wasn't shock or worry about whether or not Lois will live again. Rather, it was disappointment that, in my view, Jimenez thought Lois' dead body, her death, was much more important and interesting than giving that body a spirit and character (i.e. as much or more character development as Lana) in the narrative preceding it. So, to me, it's not shocking at all. No, it's business as usual, and a dirty business it is.

I also take issue with your view that, since Lois was given the "moral high ground" as you saw it, the narrative didn't treat her unfairly or badly. The quality or quantity of a character's good treatment in a narrative isn't about whether they are presented as good, right, or likable. It's about whether they are developed as a real and complex individual. Superman, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was on a higher moral plane than Batman, but that doesn't mean that he was given as much development or treated well by the storytelling. Jonathan Kent is often a strong moral voice, but that doesn't make him a well-written protagonist, and that is the issue here. It's not whether Lois was written as appealing. In fact, I'm concerned that in your rush to defend Lois' characterization here, you've also done a disservice to Lana.

Libby said...

CONTINUED: Lana may not be a character I'm as passionate about as I am for Lois, but that doesn't mean I think it's fair to describe her characterization in this story as lacking in its moral high ground. It isn't less virtuous or righteous to have anxiety, to be irritable, or to be cautious about becoming a superhero. Once again, your assessment about whether Lois and Lana were well-served by Jimenez seems to rest on whether they were presented in a way that was appealing and not whether these characters were written with depth and realism. The problem with the issue's imbalance, in my view, ironically is that Lana was written to have flaws. She was allowed to express her point of view in her narration, have complex feelings about what she's experienced in her life, and was given what good protagonists are given: choices. By the end of the issue, she got to make a decision. Lois wasn't written like a protagonist or co-protagonist. She was severely underwritten: her backstory and what should have been her point of view and complex emotions were absent from the story.

What do I mean by that? While Lana lost her brother years ago, Lois lost her mother who died of cancer when she was a child, forcing her to grow up early and raise her little sister, Lucy, while they followed their father, a General in the United States army, around the world. The incident that killed Lana’s parents was one that deeply affected Lois, too, but in a totally different and horrific way. Lois was the one who killed Lana’s parents. She was possessed by the supervillain Brainiac at the time, but he used her to do it all the same. While Lois doesn’t remember what she did as Brainiac, she was able to find out by doing some research of the news and consulting friends and family. So not only did Lois spend a year in a coma because of the possession, she also lost a year of her life—it’s a complete blank—with only reminders that it was through her that mass death and destruction was wrought. While Lana got an arc in Action Comics where Clark helped her work through her grief, Lois was ignored and her trauma was never discussed again.

From there, things got worse. Lois discovered that her best friend, Clark, had been lying to her for years about being Superman. When she tried to help him protect himself and his secret, she was punished for it. In Superwoman, this incident is reduced to Lois making a regrettable decision. After that, Lois lost two important men in her life and her own life changed forever. First, her ex-boyfriend John Corben sacrificed himself to save Superman and the world; they had been enemies during the time he was the villain, Metallo, but he had reformed and become her friend and bodyguard during the fallout of Clark’s secret reveal when she was receiving death threats regularly. She then lost her good friend, Clark, and her hero, Superman, the same time Lana did. Except Lois also found out at the same time that she had a double on this Earth who was married to another Clark with a son, which was bound to make her question whether her destiny had been lost. Lois also has acquired superpowers that she, unlike Lana, doesn’t know how to control and which are apparently giving her worrying nosebleeds.

Libby said...

CONCLUSION: Yet, if you were to read Superwoman, you wouldn’t know this Lois at all. You wouldn’t understand what she’s been through or how she feels about it. You’d have little sympathy for her. You’d be under the impression that, for the most part, she’s been worry free compared to Lana, and that it’s Lana alone who has experienced hardship and needs support. It doesn't matter if Jimenez addresses some of this in later issues. This was the place to do it not only for balance with Lana in terms of introductions but also to build up to her death.

So when you praise Lois, and thus the issue, for treating Lois with respect by lauding how she got to be mature and better, you do a disservice to her and to Lana. They were both deserving of being written as complex women with flaws and difficult reactions to the challenges in their lives. They should have bonded over that instead of making Lois the untroubled one who needs technical support while Lana has the technique but lots of emotional troubles.

Ultimately, where I think we disagree is that, to me, Lois didn't feel like an equal in this story. She was more prop than character. You didn't see that, so you had a positive reaction, while I, like noticing the name-calling here on your review, did notice things that I felt were negative, and therefore can't adopt the rosy outlook you enjoy. I do want to try and follow your example and be more optimistic, though, so I will try to give the comic another chance. (Sorry for the wordiness!)

Maya said...

I know this is a subjective medium. I argue with my daughter even over things I shouldn't (no. Kory and Nightwing should never be). However? I agree with Libby in that I didn't feel Lois was given her due. I understand the flip side as it were, don't get me wrong. I see the argument that Lois was the more mature in the relationship. However? It is hard for me to step away from my lens which is for years and years and years Lois is used as a plot device as the unreasonable person in the equation. And it bothers me.

For me? (and this is just my opinion) Lana in this story was the voice. Through her eyes we saw Lois. And the Lois she saw is the caricature of Lois which I hear all the time.

I understand. This is Lana's perception. If it wasn't the perception of people who call those who love the character "Lois Brigade" it wouldn't be a problem. But there is a lot of baggage around this which is hard to express.

For me? The worst scene was Lana yet again blaming Lois for outing Clark. It infuriated me when Lois said she regretted it. Clark already said to her he understood why she did what she did. She did this to save his live. And to revise what happened this way? It really really bugged me.

Godzylla said...

*sigh* Even with Lois being cover featured on all four of the covers thus far solicited (#4 this week), there are still some on Twitter raging about this being a Lana book and Lois being "dead." It was a cliffhanger, we don't yet know what happened. It was one issue. Sure, there are some problems I had with it too (revisionist outing, hel-LO!), but I'm not assuming an entire story based on one chapter.

Libby said...

@Godzylla: People are calling it a Lana book because if it were a Lois book, then Lois would have taken center stage before her big twist ending. She didn't. Lana was the protagonist of the first issue. Comic book fans, like yourself, have long become accustomed to covers not reflecting the reality of the issue itself. The cover of Superwoman #1, for example, proudly displayed Lois Lane as Superwoman like she was the star of the book. She clearly wasn't the star. Lana's point of view and supporting cast placed her in the leading role. So why should Lois fans expect anything different from upcoming issues with potentially similar deceptive covers?

Lois fans have been asked to be patient with DC for five years now and have not seen anything to warrant our trust. Why should we trust the company and Superman editorial now? Phil Jimenez is a good writer, and I respect him, but I feel the same way about his work that I do about what Greg Pak brought to the table when he wrote for Action Comics. Both Pak and Jimenez are good men and good writers who have had to reconcile their visions and goals with the mission of DC Comics, and I don't think writers and the company are always in sync.

The first chapter of any story should establish its main character. If Lois is the main character of Superwoman, then the first chapter missed the mark. Can you imagine what Action Comics #1 would have been like if it had focused primarily on Lois Lane and killed of Superman in its final pages? If you read any debut issue for a superhero, the issue's focus is squarely on its lead. Superwoman #1 didn't follow suit. Under these circumstances, Lois fans, I believe, have every reason to be upset and skeptical.