Review: Superwoman Vol. 2: Rediscovery (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

May 3, 2020

K. Perkins and Phil Jimenez' Superwoman Vol. 2: Rediscovery is fine, as it goes. The story is wildly buffeted by the continuity changes in Superman Reborn, which it really only partially tries to address. Much of the book is then spent getting title character Lana Lang back in the position she was in at the end of the last book, which is a lot of going in circles for just the second volume. For fans of Lana, or Steel John Henry Irons, or some classic one-off villains from the Triangle Titles age, this is satisfactory reading, but it never rises to the level of anything truly shocking or surprising. Nothing about this book is offensively wrong; it just lacks gusto.

[Review contains spoilers]

Jimenez writes a single issue here that, at least to its credit, meta-acknowledges the vagaries of other titles that are affecting this book. Branching off Superman Reborn, the New 52 Superman and Lois Lane come in a dream sequence to a semi-conscious Lana, needing her to give up the red energy source of her powers so they can merge with their Rebirth counterparts (or whatever happens in Reborn). In story, Lana not only acknowledges the strangeness of two sets of Kent-Lanes and the understated continuity changes happening as they speak; she also questions why it is that her own reality (and Steel, and his niece Natasha, etc.) should have to change just to benefit Superman and Lois. The answer is, of course, because he's Superman, and of course Jimenez knows this, but there's something wonderful (almost Grant Morrison-ian) about his writing this relatively minor-ish character asserting her right to her own being just before Jimenez takes his leave.

Perkins' next three issues (of this short, four-issue trade) again mainly involve re-establishing Lana and her powers just after the first volume, Superwoman Vol. 1: Who Killed Superwoman?, did the same. This going back to the well slows whatever momentum this book had, and it seems especially wasteful given that Lana ends up right back how she was; Perkins probably could have gotten away with one single issue that showed that Lana was basically fine and then continued. There is certainly a plot to the final issues outside of Lana's power struggles, but a lot of those issues is taken up with Lana's hang-wringing and fretting about her powers and place as a hero that we just don't seem to need.

Said plot involves Lana, John Henry, and Natasha hunting both Clay "Crash" Irons, John Henry's brother and Natasha's father, and Skyhook, the ghoulish villain who kidnapped Zeke (Crash's son/Natasha's brother) after a dispute with Crash. Skyhook is a favorite from back in the John Byrne Superman days, but some of Perkins' conceptions are strange, like that Skyhook, previously a demon, now is some kind of mob boss that Crash could rip off. That John Henry even has a lost nephew named Zeke is new as of Perkins and treating it as if it'd been true all along is jarring. Equally, Perkins even places Lana into the Irons' early life, even before Natasha began living with John Henry, which is wholly out of sync with what we knew thus far. If ever there was a time to rewrite continuity, this is it, but at the same time I don't think it would have altogether altered the story to keep the relative newness of Lana and John Henry's relationship as is and Lana would still have cared about the fact that his nephew disappeared.

But again, among things that work here are simply that the book stars Lana Lang in a pseudo-Electric Superman costume, and also Steel; I'd love for DC to give Christopher Priest another crack at a Steel series but any time John Henry semi-leads a book is a good thing. Perkins also gives a lead role to the Atomic Skull, which is random but continues the "spotlight on Superman's supporting cast" aesthetic of this book begun with Jimenez. Villains this time (after 1994's Savior last time around), include old Superman, Blue Devil, and Booster Gold enemy Shockwave, and Remnant, who's only other appearance was Dan Jurgens' 2002 Superman: Day of Doom miniseries. For those who remember the 1980s-1990s Superman era well, Superwoman continues to offer a fun dose of nostalgia.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Superwoman Vol. 2: Rediscovery

After Superwoman Vol. 2: Rediscovery, the next and final volume collects six issues, to #18. I haven't seen Lana popping up in the Superman titles by Brian Michael Bendis, so I'm guessing she's in some sort of limbo; even if de-powered, hopefully Lana and John Henry are still together. Once upon a time, speaking again of the Triangle Titles, Lana was a mainstay in the Super-books, if something of an awkward one given Clark's burgeoning romance with Lois. I'd be impressed to see another writer do something useful with Lana; again, it's nice at least that she gets a spotlight here.

[Includes original and variant covers, cover sketches and character designs]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Superwoman Vol. 2: Rediscovery
Author Rating
3 (scale of 1 to 5)

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