Superwoman has been a roller coaster of a series. Phil Jimenez has given us bombshell plot twists and developed some of Metropolis’ key characters in very interesting ways. We’ve also seen over the course of the seven issue story arc — titled “Who Killed Superwoman?” — that Jimenez needs to grow as an author. As the story arc finale, Superwoman #7 continues to provide some really interesting moments of character development, great action sequences, and positive momentum towards the next story arc. But there are unfortunately many weaknesses that accompany those positive aspects.
Lana Lang is a strong female character. She’s complex. Jimenez portrays her as strong, conflicted, and, at times, insecure about her role as a hero. Issue #7 is titled “Never Be Satisfied” and it becomes clear that Lana takes that concept to heart. When everything appears to be going Lena Luthor’s way, Lana musters the mental strength to tear down Lena’s villainous motivations. Jimenez constructs a heartfelt monologue for Lana that emphasizes Lena’s humanity. Lana uses Lena’s success as a scientist and strength as a woman to contrast how selfish becoming Ultrawoman was to exact her petty revenge on her brother, Lex. The scene expertly contrasts Lana’s old life as a farm girl from Smallville with her new role as Superwoman.
While this progresses the main character well, there are other moments of absolute absurdity throughout the dialogue that you can’t help but wonder if Jimenez lost a bet when he was drafting this. Very early in the issue, Lana along with Atomic Skull, Mercy Graves, the head of Kryptonite Man, and a rogue Bizarro Superwoman clone rescue Lex Luthor from Lena’s temporal cage. As Lex waxes egotistical about his greatness, Atomic Skull notices the Superman armor Lex wears like his favorite pajamas has stopped functioning.
At this point, Jimenez clearly had no clue where to go with the scene, so Kryptonite Man suggests a simple computer system reboot. A moment after that brilliant deduction, Lex is up and professing his dominance over everything. Really, Phil? Lex, the self-proclaimed super-genius savior of Metropolis couldn’t come up with that solution without the help of a disembodied head floating in a temporal cube?
The visual structure of the issue is also a problem. From the very beginning of the issue, the panel layout is so dense that it’s hard for the narrative to grasp a consistent flow. It looks like Jimenez planned for a cinematic quality to the visual structure, but it just doesn’t work. Some pages contain rapid-fire panels that represent key moments in the puzzle of how to defeat Ultrawoman, but there’s no clear flow. Switching scenes in such a dense and quick fashion forces the reader to read and re-read pages in varying directions to figure out what makes the most sense. While this issue should build momentum as it moves to its conclusion, it flounders in chaotic arrangements.
While Jimenez packs each page with scenes, the issue does have some amazing action sequences and artwork. Ultrawoman’s armor stands out as an imposing threat. There are multiple instances where the reader gets a widescreen shot of the armor that helps emphasize Lena’s turn from tragic mortal to deluded diety.
The visual structure completely derails the narrative driving Superwoman #7, but there is plenty of potential within these pages. Hopefully, Jimenez will grow as a writer and maybe take more steps away from the artistic duties. A clear separation between the two creative aspects could prove to bring this series into the upper echelon of Rebirth titles.