In Review: Superwoman #12

A price increase, a story that's unsurprising or rote, and visuals that are average have me discontinuing this series.

The covers: The Regular cover is an incredible creation by Ken Lashley and Hi-Fi. Superwoman battles Skyhook, with the villain’s torn wings eclipsing the background and his thorny appendages filling up the rest of the illustration. The art is amazing and the colors perfect. This is worth getting. Renato Guedes is responsible for the Variant cover. This has Superwoman and Steel flying forward between two buildings. She has energy crackling around her fists and he has his hammer held high. The illustration is fine, but it’s colored way too darkly. It’s not overcast, as proven by the white background, and I know that tall buildings can shade the people below them, but this is too much. Brighter colors would have made this better. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant C+

The story: Scripted by K. Perkins, this issue opens with the previous issue’s conclusion: Superwoman empty handed in her battle with Skyhook. The next day, Lana Lang is at the Daily Star and is spoken to by an editor about her science column. “…I expect the copy to be a tiny bit dry, but this piece on fundamental fermions is, well, missing the flair our readers have come to expect from you. I haven’t seen your writing affected so much. Got a lot on your plate, huh?” She’s surprised by his comments and says she’ll rewrite the piece. Her loss of powers, Clay Irons hunting Skyhook, and the villain’s continued reign of terror does have her stressed. That night at Steelworks, Lana needs to fix her exo-armor, which allows her to continue as Superwoman. Something in the computer’s compilation of data from her previous fight catches her eye and has her conducting a test while alone. The book then moves to the Atomic Skull apprehending a C-level baddie to learn the location of Crash Iron, aka Clay Iron, John Henry Iron’s brother. It seems the illegal tech seller is trying to kill Skyhook and Metropolis Special Crimes is worried that his vendetta will destroy a significant portion of the city. Crash does find Skyhook, Superwoman and the super powered Irons arrive on the scene and fighting occurs: between the villain and the heroes and between members of the Iron family. 18 is the big reveal of the issue, but it doesn’t really have any strength because it was going to happen eventually and it seems wasted on Skyhook. The Iron family conflicts don’t hold much weight either, because I just don’t care. The book concludes neatly and provides the perfect exit point for me to leave this series. Overall grade: C-

The art: When the super heroes are in action, this book looks great. When the protagonists aren’t flying or fighting, artist Stephen Segovia and inker Art Thibert falter. The first page has a good transition between the previous issue and this one, with Superwoman shown side-by-side with Lana Lang. The editor that speaks with Lana loses weight and ages between panels. The pages involving the Atomic Skull are sketchy: Page 4 has the runaway in an awkward pose, while the skull look unfinished in every panel. The layout for 5 and 6 isn’t great because three of the panels are lost in the gutter of the book, obscuring the fight. Both armored characters come off as generic because of their costumes. The Skull looks great in the third panel on Page 7, but the woman in the panel before this looks bored, when she shouldn’t. What’s with Crash’s hair in the two pages of flashbacks? It’s writhing about like he’s Medusa; dreadlocks only move like that if he’s whipping his head about. The point of view for the panels on 10 and 11 is odd — Did John come from the basement or the second floor from those stairs? Can’t tell from that angle. John looks terrible at the top of 11. After this, the visuals change for the better. Skyhook looks terrific and Crash’s battle spectacular. Superwoman’s arrival is awesome and her rematch with the antagonist tops. The battle pages show a skill with layout and execution that is thrilling and what readers want from a hero book. The final page is a full-page splash and it’s marvelous. This is the way to end a book! If only the first eleven pages were as good. Overall grade: C-

The colors: As with the art, the colors excel in the closing fight sequences, more so than in the opening pages. Hi-Fi colors Lana’s narration in red, allowing anyone to instantly recognize whose text their reading on the page. The coloring of the electricity that streams out of Superwoman’s body is positively electric, which is how it should look. Antiseptic blues are used for the Steelworks, giving it a clean futuristic feel. This color allows Lana’s locks to pop on the page. The Atomic Skull is drowning in violets, both from the flames around his skull and his costume. Having his dialogue colored green is cool, though. Once Skyhook appears Hi-Fi really gets to show off, with some terrific yellows and oranges in the opening skirmish, adding in orange and red, plus a neat blue-green for the sky. Overall grade: B- 

The letters: Narration, the story’s title, the book’s credits, dialogue, an AI’s voice, scene settings, sounds, yells, and the tease for next issue are created by Josh Reed. There’s an impressive variety of fonts that Reed employs on this issue, with sounds in the book’s final fracas very cool. I really like the gunshots from Clay’s weapons that look powerful. Overall grade: A

The final line: A price increase, a story that’s unsurprising or rote, and visuals that are average have me discontinuing this series. I looked forward to seeing what could be done with Lana Lang, but after twelve issues, there hasn’t been a consistency that begs my return. I’m sad. Overall grade: C+

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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.
    One Comment
  • Nathan Biornstad
    25 July 2017 at 7:43 pm -

    I appreciate and agree with your assessment of this issue.

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