In Review: Superwoman #7

If this is the way all Superwoman stories will go, this character will gain quite the following.

The covers: I believe this is a first. The Regular cover and the Variant are drawn by the same artist and colorist, Andy Kubert and Hi-Fi. The image is even the same, just a slight change in perspective. The Regular cover shows Superwoman going nuclear, energy exploding out of her. The reader is ten feet above the hero, looking down at her, with her reaching up for some kind of aid, any kind of aid, to help her, but she’s obviously too consumed by lethal energy to touch. Kubert has made her look absolutely consumed with pain and Hi-Fi sells the heck out of this visual with some intense coloring. This is great. If a reader felt they were too far from the hero, the Variant cover is about two feet away from Superwoman who’s in the same situation. This image is a bust shot of Superwoman, her arms held up in a plea for help, energy exploding out of her, most notably her fingers. This is more horrific a portrait of pain because her face is more easily seen and the proximity to the character makes the pain more vibrant. Kubert kills it again, as does Hi-Fi; I especially like how the crimson of her costume is turning to orange to show the outburst of power. This, too, is great. Overall grades: Both A

The story: The conclusion to Who Killed Superwoman? titled “Never Be Satisfied” by Phil Jimenez has got a lot going on and it wraps things up very neatly without any character being untouched. Lex and Lana are trapped in one of Superwoman’s cubes. They need the assistance of the Atomic Skull to be freed, but there’s a price. Steel is trying to defend what’s left of Metropolis from the Bizarro women clones. How Lex is able to overcome his powersuit’s lockout was brilliant; I was so pleased to see that the simplest solution had never crossed his mind. How Steel was able to overcome all his enemies was terrific, but my focus was not really on him and his peril. I also really enjoyed who Lex ended up battling, because every reader knew that Superwoman was going to have take on Ultrawoman herself. The battle between Luthor and this villain was unexpected and exciting. The big confrontation was writing magic from Jimenez. Yes, there’s fisticuffs to be had, but first there’s some great commentary by Lana. That was the high point of the book for me. What she says to Lena was outstanding — it’s exactly what I would expect Superman to do in such a situation and Lana is amazing. Jimenez is to be applauded for writing dialogue that cuts the heart of the villain to pieces. And as a hard core Legion of Super-Heroes fan, I cannot thank him enough for the reveal on 16. Naturally, after the protagonist’s speech, things go explosive. With the threat over (and be honest, that’s no spoiler), Jimenez is not willing to leave the heroine unscathed and the last page leaves her in the worst possible state. This is a solid conclusion with a good preview of trouble to come. Overall grade: A- 

The art: The layouts for this issue are provided by Phil Jimenez, with the finishes being done by Matt Santorelli on Pages 1 – 15 and 17 – 20, with Jack Herbert penciling and inking his work on Pages 6 – 16. The change between artists is barely noticeable and I wouldn’t have noticed it had it not been stated in the credits. The previous issues have had several panels on a page with an incredible amount of detail in each and this issue closes out in exactly the same fashion. Every page has a treasure of some kind, be it the fearsome visage of the Atomic Skull, Lex Luthor’s sneers, Steel’s plight, those that help Steel, and Lana’s fantastic stare down. The layout of the pages is so unlike anything in current comics, with a perfect example of this shown on 2 and 3. There’s even eleven panels on 4 and nothing seems too small or fluff — each panel contains a terrific illustration. The character that Lex spars with is terrific looking. This character is new to me and I enjoyed his abilities and the ferocity on his face as he battled the bald baddie. I love the character’s suit in the sixth panel on 16 and I really hope this shown again at some point, in this book or some other DC title. Herbert kills it in this moment of the story! The first panel on 18 must have been a bear to design, given what it’s supposed to entail, but Jimenez and Santorelli pull it off. The final page is somewhat spoiled by by an earlier visual in this book, but it still is a visual heart attack as a character is in dire straits. This artwork is good. Overall grade: A

The colors: Continuing to show why they are the gold standard in comic book coloring, Hi-Fi does a sensational job. Look at the fantastic cool blue used to create the cubes of Lena. Notice how sparse use of reds, pale purples, and oranges draws the reader’s eye so well. I enjoyed how colors are used to set off some text, such as the Atomic Skull’s dialogue and scene settings. The real stand out of the issue is how Lana is glowing rosy red — perhaps a precursor of things to come? The two stand out moments is that panel often mentioned panel on 16 (which continues to thrill me) with its spectacular yellows and blues and the top of 18 which needs, and gets, colors to sell the moment — I love it! Hi-Fi beautifully assists the visuals and raises the intensity of the story tenfold. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, the story’s title, the book’s credits, transmissions, yells, sounds, B-Zero-S’s speech, and the tease for next issue are crafted by Josh Reed. I’m very impressed that he’s able to place all the dialogue in this issue, given that the some of the panels are small. Really, really small. Reed should be stepping all over the art, but it doesn’t happen once, and trust me, I checked! He also places sounds expertly, with the book’s KRRRSSPPLLLASSSH being outstanding. Reed deserves applause for doing such a tough job. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A great conclusion with every character getting a moment. If this is the way all Superwoman stories will go, this character will gain quite the following. A great story and a visual feast. Overall grade: A

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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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