In Review: Superwoman #11

A decent super hero outing with the focus on helping family.

The covers: Superwoman delivers a powerful right to Steel, who’s able to deflect much of the punch’s power with his hammer. Energy is flying off in every direction from the blow and both characters have their mouths yelling in rage. An incredibly strong image from Ken Lashley who’s really delivered the goods with this Regular cover. The colors are also really powerful, but knowing this is by Hi-Fi, would a reader expect anything less? The reds are particularly strong, set off by the white energy and the blue background. This cover is aces. The Variant cover is a surprising creeper of a frontpiece from Renato Guedes. This has Superwoman crouched down with one hand to the ground to see if she can spot anything the police have missed, given she’s crossed crime scene yellow tape. Her head is quickly raised as she realizes she’s not alone: the monstrous form of Skyhook is behind her and he dominates the cover with this arms and wings open wide. Excellent artwork with both figures looking awesome and the coloring incredible, with the backlighting making Skyhook pop. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: Starting “Some time ago” in Metropolis, little Ezekiel Irons wakes up screaming that there’s a monster in his room. Uncle John Henry comes in with Lana Lang to tell the youngster all is well so he can back to sleep. Once that’s done the adults return to the dining room where Natasha Irons is studying for an exam she has tomorrow. This is when father Clay comes home with a paper bag brimming with money. Clay reveals he stole the cash from Skyhook. When confronted by his brother, Clay says, “Not all of us were blessed with brilliant scientific minds.” John and Henry leave the man clutching his ill gotten gains, unaware that something has opened the closet in Ezekiel’s room and its glowing orange eyes are looking down upon the child. This story, scripted by K. Perkins, then moves to the present as Lana, now with the abilities of Superwoman, wants to catch Skyhook to find out what happened to Zeke as well as deal with another family member. The battle with the villain is good, with Pages 16 and 17 being the best. The story is left unresolved, but realistically so. Another perk of this story involves the Atomic Skull interrogating a super villain. The Skull is quickly becoming a very different and extremely interesting supporting character. When all is said and done, this issue is a traditional super hero outing. Overall grade: B

The art: The visuals on this book have stepped up considerably with José Luis on pencils and Ray McCarthy on inks. A full-paged splash greets the reader, looking at Zeke sitting up in bed screaming. The room is full of super hero items one would find in practically any boy’s room: super hero bedsheets, slippers, pictures on the wall, etc. The shadows falling on Zeke are nice. The fourth panel on Page 2 has some great emotion on Zeke’s face that could found on any child’s face when they have a similar realization. Pages 3 and 4 have four people with a lot of dialogue around a table and the artists skillfully move the point of view around to make the conversation visually interesting. The full-paged splash on 5 is a terrific counterpoint to the first page. Though only on a few pages, the Atomic Skull looks great: he’s creepy as hell, but his dialogue tones down his fright considerably. Skyhook is the villain of the issue and he looks great, especially with the veiny work done on his wings — gross and cool. When the characters clash, 16 and 17 look the best. First, the energy that’s crackling out of Superwoman is awesome. Sometimes artists use the same type of sparks that now writhe around the Flash, but Luis and McCarthy don’t do that here. In fact, it looks as if she could explode any minute. Second, Skyhook’s tattered clothes and wings make him look like an ancient horror. With this pair battling in the sky, with the city in the background, things look incredible. I’d be more than welcome to seeing this pair of artists stay on this title for the long haul. Overall grade: B+

The colors: The first page has some neat coloring with the elements of the image in shadows darkened, but still retaining a lighter shade of what their colors should be. I also like that Zeke’s bedspread has some highlights in it. Take note how the background goes a hot yellow and orange when Clay’s money becomes part of this story; this nicely ups the tension in the scene. Some dynamic blues are used for the background of the news broadcast, a visual clue that the Irons home is no longer the setting. The third panel set inside the MSCU has some nice work on the walls and floor to age the facility. I am loving the light violet used for the Atomic Skull’s suit — the color really makes him stand out on the page. The battle between the characters is full of bright colors, such as the energy that Superwoman emits and the heavy blue on Skyhook’s tattered clothes. The final page is filled with beautiful colors: the clouds, her skin, the costume — just wow! Way to go, Hi-Fi. Overall grade: A

The letters: Josh Reed creates scene settings, screams, yells, the story’s title, the book’s credits, dialogue, sounds, a broadcast, an editor’s note, and the tease for next issue. There’s a quite a bit of dialogue in this issue and Reed places it perfectly, without having to shrink its size or cover up important elements in the art. The first page shows him using four different types of font and it is incredibly visually pleasing, especially Zeke’s wail about a monster. The only contribution that looks a little off is the CRREEAAKK on Page 5: it’s too neat. I needed it to be more visually creepy. That’s a minor nit, because Reed’s work is sharp. Overall grade: A

The final line: A decent super hero outing with the focus on helping family, not saving the city or the world. I’m grateful for this change up in the story. The visuals are also good, with the battle sequences looking particularly strong. Overall grade: B+

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Superwoman-2016-11/digital-comic/505198?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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