When you look at the cover of Superwoman #1, you’re going to think to yourself, “OK, I get what this is about.” You would be sorely mistaken. While writer/penciller, Phil Jimenez gives away a helluva lot on the cover, none of it actually makes sense until after you read the issue. And boy is it shocking. In fact, it’s probably the most surprising issue of the entire Rebirth reboot.
It starts predictably enough. Newly imbued with dead Clark Kent’s powers, New 52 Lois Lane (not the one who’s currently married to pre-52 Superman from the main book) seeks out Lana Lang because she helped Clark learn to control his powers back in the day. Lois–ever plucky and excitable–banters at Lana until she heaves a frustrated sigh and agrees. It’s all very Betty and Veronica—slightly adversarial but with an undeniable sense of affection beneath.
Soon enough, some horrible event threatens to destroy Metropolis and Lois flies to the rescue, but what happens is so unexpected that you’ll turn back to the cover to make sure you read the book’s title correctly. Far be it from me to spoil a great twist, but let’s leave it at this: Lois Lane is a red herring. Even so, the surprise is really exciting, but just when you think finally understand what Superwoman is about, Jimenez blows what’s left of your mind. And while I’d love to talk about them right now, the surprises the issue holds are worth experiencing unspoiled.
That said, it’s not perfect. Jimenez has to perform a lot of narrative acrobatics to keep the twists a surprise and the way it jumps back and forth through time can be a little disorienting. There’s also a crushing amount of dialogue and exposition that can make reading it feel like a bit of a chore. Still, you have to admire Jimenez’s ambition and DC for letting him play. The Rebirth books thus far have been pretty standard, with those related to Superman being the weakest. Action Comics has spent nearly half a dozen issues on the same fight sequence with little to no character development or actual plot to show for it. Say what you will about Superwoman #1 (and people will have a lot to say), but nobody can accuse it of being boring.