T. Kyle King’s published work ranges from newspaper columns to film reviews and from short stories to law review articles. Most notably, he served as a site manager and staff writer at DawgSports.com, a daily weblog devoted to University of Georgia athletics, from 2006 to 2013, and he is the author of a book about the history of the college football rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers published by Clemson University Digital Press in 2013. Kyle is a lifelong comic book fan whose thoughts on comic books previously have appeared at ComicsVerse, Progressive Boink, and the Superman Homepage. Kyle is a Superman guy.
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Superwoman #7 completed the series’ opening arc on Wednesday, bringing the Who Killed Superwoman? storyline to a conclusion perhaps as shocking as the ending of the initial issue. Phil Jimenez contributed the script and the layouts for the chapter subtitled Never Be Satisfied. ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King brings you this review of the dramatic finale.
Superwoman #7 Review:
Lana Lang has a complex plan to take down Lena Luthor, but the convoluted scheme involves multiple contributors — including supervillains, a converted clone, and a ghostly Lois Lane — and has many moving parts. Can Ultrawoman be beaten before a second Superwoman dies?
(Warning: Spoilers follow!)
Superwoman #7 Synopsis:
With the Atomic Skull’s aid, Lex Luthor has been freed. The pieces are in place for Lana and her compatriots to take the battle to Lena. Traci 13 magically taps into the Metropolis power grid to counter the temporal displacement cubes keeping the city out of chronological synch with itself. In the meantime, John Henry and Natasha Irons combat the Bizarro clone army with the assistance of armored and ordinary citizens alike.
This conflict allows the team led by Lana and Lex to assault the airborne Gestalt, which Ultrawoman has reconfigured. Lena lets Savior loose from her menagerie of Stryker’s Island inmates to contend with her brother while the Atomic Skull releases Ultrawoman’s other captives, including Clark Kent. After Lana bests Lena in a clash of opposing energy bursts, the noble clone now known as Bizaress catches the falling Gestalt and tosses it harmlessly into Hob’s Bay. Lois — or a Lois, at any rate — appears to Lana in the flesh just as Lang begins the final fatal collapse that Lane experienced shortly after they became teammates.
Superwoman #7 Analysis:
The graphics of Never Be Satisfied are the handiwork of various artists: Matt Santorelli contributed the finishes for the first five pages and the last four pages of Who Killed Superwoman? — Conclusion, Jack Herbert pencilled and inked the middle eleven pages of Superwoman #7, and Andy Kubert produced both the standard and variant versions of the issue’s cover. Nevertheless, the imagery has a unified appearance thanks to Hi-Fi’s vibrant colors, which vividly give life to the final battle between Superwoman and Ultrawoman. Jimenez’s phenomenal layouts, which effectively replicate significant scenes and set up sequences whose shifts can be read in more than one direction, also lend coherence to the work. Josh Reed’s lettering works serviceably, but is marred slightly by the ostensible omission of a narration box on the second page and the repetition of a speech bubble on the fifth.
Jimenez’s plotting is dense yet precise. Although the science and the sorcery of Superwoman #7 are equally inscrutable, the script is as impressively immense in scale as the artwork is minute in detail. The players’ personalities come through clearly in Lana’s paean to the sisterhood that might have been — explicitly, with Lena; implicitly, with Lois — and in Lex’s petulance toward the Atomic Skull and Kryptonite Man. Never Be Satisfied likewise is loaded with allusions, ranging from a modern update on the Insect Queen of the Silver Age to the “Electric Blue” era’s Savior and a display case containing Superman’s cape in Dan Jurgens’s current Action Comics run.
Who Killed Superwoman? — Conclusion ends with Lana and John Henry in a place that leads naturally to where we see them again in Action Comics #973, but it otherwise is unclear how the earthshaking events surrounding Ultrawoman’s attack integrate into the other Superbooks. Where was Superman while Metropolis was under assault? Does Clark’s capture by Lena contribute to the riddles regarding Kent in Action Comics? As anticipated, a live Lois emerged at issue’s end, although her short hair and her mention of “the other Lois” suggest that she may be the pre-Flashpoint Lane. The Bizaress yet may prove to be the ghostly New 52 Lois with whom the clone clearly shares a connection. All this is leading up to the Superman Reborn storyline intended to explain Rebirth’s uncertainties — a prospect made newly ominous by Lois’s closing line that she suffered the same fate that befell another Lane and now is befalling Lang.
The deceptive fridging that gave Who Killed Superwoman? its name after lying in wait at the end of the book’s debut issue has not been redeemed, may not even have been reversed, and leaves loyal readers understandably leery of being ambushed again. The story arc’s more than mildly worrisome cliffhanger conclusion consequently encourages a wary audience to take the titular warning of Never Be Satisfied at face value. With all those caveats in mind, though, there is reason to believe Lana’s impassioned oration to Lena was more than lip service. The tightly written and visually refined Superwoman #7 hopefully suggests Jimenez is hitting his stride in this series.
Will you be sticking with this Superbook now that the Who Killed Superwoman? arc has been completed?
Share your thoughts on Superwoman #7 and ComiConverse with us in the comments!
T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.
Source: DC Comics