In Review: Superwoman #10

This title needs some upgrades if it's going to continue.

The covers: Ken Lashley and Hi-Fi have created a strong frontpiece for the Regular cover. Lana is wearing a tee shirt sporting the S logo as she hammers out a giant version of the symbol in metal. She has a hammer in her right hand and some type of control device in her left. Sparks are coming off of the metallic S, while to the right of her is Superman in profile and to her right is Luthor, also in profile. The coloring on this is gloriously bright. Really cool cover. The Variant cover by Renato Guedes was the cover I had to get because it’s a take on the iconic Superman #1. Superwoman is striking the Man of Steel’s classic pose in an oval that shows the city behind her. There’s electricity coming out of her hands which is running around the edges of the oval. I love this cover and it’s the one I chose to accompany this review. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A+

The story: Superwoman is high above Metropolis during a rainstorm. She’s having a difficult time not because of the downpour, but the unseen individual who’s choking the life out of her with one hand. K. Perkins has this dramatic introduction segue into several years in the past as middle school student Natasha Irons is waiting to get picked up at school. Her father never shows, so she walks to the home of her toddler brother’s babysitter to call her Uncle John. The purpose of this story, coming at this moment in Lana’s life, serves to show her that existing with pain is fine. “It helps us become who we are and how we deal with things in the future,” she tells Natasha several years later after the young woman recounts her story. This recollection leads to a sequence days later, where Natasha and John want to test Lana. The leads to Lana learning something about herself as well as changing her current state of powerlessness. Give Perkins credit, this is a clever way to power Lana up after she lost her powers against Ultrawoman. I was pleased to see what happened on 12 – 16, as I’ve been waiting for this. And being a massive Legion of Super-Heroes fan, I was pleased as punch at the name used often in this tale. The dream sequence with Superman was okay, but I’d like to see Lana stand on her own for a few issues, rather than constantly focusing on Superman. The villain that Lana is fighting is revealed on the final pages, but the fight won’t conclude until next issue. Lana’s got a new attitude, thanks to the memories of this issue, so I’m hoping for a lot from the next chapter. There’s a lot of build, but not a lot of payoff. Overall grade: B-

The art: The pencils on this issue are by Stephen Segovia with the inks by Art Thibert. The opening page is a full paged splash from the villain’s point of view as he chokes Lana. The angle of the struggling hero is great and the rain looks fantastic. Natasha’s introduction looks good, but after her initial appearance, the backgrounds get very simplistic. Things improve when she goes to the house of her baby brother’s sitter, though the sitter loses a lot of weight in each progressive panel. The fourth page moves the action closer to the present and is at a dinner with John, Lana, and Natasha, who’s just finished telling the pair of the incident at school. John’s reaction to her tale is very well done, and Segovia is moving the point of view around well enough. The final panel on the page is looking down upon the characters, and is very detailed, but the bottom right has a lot of wasted space. Better still is the conversation between the two characters on the following page, with each being the focus of their respective panels. Page 6 is very interesting because it shows a nightmare of Lana’s, which shifts from her being in peril to someone else — this looks really good. What Lana endures at Steelworks is the highpoint of the art, with Lana giving some great emotions and the actions occurring exciting. The partial double-paged splash of 15 and 16 is terrific; this is the moment that fans have been waiting for. Page 17 looks as if it was illustrated by two different artists. It doesn’t fit in with the previous artwork, which could have worked given what it is, but when one character states where the meeting is occurring, it looks nothing like that previous page. This is not working. 18 also has issues, with figures unnecessarily hidden in silhouette and, again, wasted space, such as in the bottom left of the third panel and the left side of the fifth panel: it looks like the artists were unclear where the dialogue would be placed and how much of it there would be. The final two pages return to the present, but figures are again unnecessarily in silhouette (if the audience is waiting for the hero and villain to fight, it’s taken eighteen pages to get to the fight, and neither character is clearly shown, it’s going to disappoint the audience). However, the issue does end on a high point with Superwoman officially rallying to fight and she looks sensational. There’s some decent work in this issue, but there are several snags in the visuals. Overall grade: B-

The colors: The story has a wide variety of colors due to the story showing Superwoman’s powers and lack of abilities. Hi-Fi begins the issue with very warm colors in a downpour: Superwoman seems as if she’s going to go nuclear with all the oranges and yellows coming out of her. Contrasting her against a rainy blue sky makes her radiate heat and her narration boxes are also fiery red. This is a strong beginning. The colors change to those of the real world as Natasha’s flashback and the dinner scene are colored realistically. Lana’s dream brings the return of bright colors, with reds, yellows, and greens beautiful and frightening. What Lana looks upon at Steelworks is lighter than most elements in this issue, due to what they are. I really like the coloring in the final panel on 11 because it makes the action seem shocking and strong. 15 and 16 have the strongest colors of the book, as these pages are the climax of Lana’s journey. The colors on this book increase the emotion of every panel and page. Overall grade: A

The letters: Josh Reed is responsible for the scene settings, narration, the story’s title, the issue’s credits, dialogue, computer speech, yells, sounds, a television broadcast, and the tease for next issue. Reed shows himself to be a superior letterer with Lana’s narration being a different font from the characters’ dialogue and his sounds are excellent, with BRATATATAT and ZZRAK being my favorites. I also like that the last three words of dialogue in the book are in a unique font, making this character’s speech seem especially strong, making the reader excited to see what’s going to happen next. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is a transition issue where the hero makes a change, but, sadly, the outcome won’t be seen until the next installment. Standing on its own, the story is just okay. The visuals run from good to adequate, but at least the colors and letters are strong. This title needs some upgrades if it’s going to continue. Overall grade: B

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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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