Ever since the New 52 Superman perished, there’s been Superpeople showing up all over DC Comics: There’s the Pre-Flashpoint Superman and his son, the Chinese Superman and, as has long been teased, Lois Lane as the new Superwoman. But Superwoman #1 has already changed that line-up in some major ways.
Ever since DC started teasing Phil Jiminez, Matt Santorelli and Jeromy Cox’s Superwoman, they have made it clear that Lois Lane (the New 52 version of the character, not the Lois Lane née White that’s married to the Pre-Flashpoint Superman) is in rough shape. Just as they killed Superman in the end, the Kryptonian powers she’s been granted in the wake of his death have slowly been ravaging Lois’ body, too.
Since Superman died, Lois has been getting some pointers for her newfound ability from Lana Lang, Clark’s closest confidant. But as Lois mentions above, it’s not just her that was affected by the blast that killed Superman. Lana was as well… and it turns out that Lana is every bit the Superwoman Lois is…
Except that she’s basically Superwoman Red, an homage to the bizarre time Superman split into two electricity-based heroes, Superman Red and Superman Blue, for a brief time in 1998. It wasn’t a great moment in Superman’s long history, so it’s especially weird to see it invoked here in Superwoman #1.
While Lois got all of the traditional Superman powers — heat vision, freezing breath, superhearing, all that — Lana got the powers Clark generated in that time he was Superman Blue, manipulating electrical fields at a whim. When she and Lois work together to stop Lex Luthor’s new battleship from smashing into a bridge (oh, by the way, Lex Luthor — who is ALSO A SUPERMAN because practically everyone is these days — built himself a giant battleship to monitor Metropolis while he was off doing Superman stuff. It doesn’t go well!), Lana acknowledges that while she doesn’t have the strength enhancement or fancy moves Lois picked up, she’s every bit a Superwoman as Lois is.
It’s an unlikely bond, given that the two women have rarely been fond of each other in the New 52. But throughout Superwoman #1, we flash back to Lois and Lana forming their dynamic duo as Superwomen regardless of that fact — and what we learn is just how much Lana leans on Lois as a source of strength. She’s constantly telling Lois that if they want to do this Superwoman thing together, they have to be there for each other — neither of them can do it alone, but Lana especially, still raw over the loss of Clark.
There’s gonna be a bit of a problem with that, though. Turns out the twist of Superwoman #1 isn’t that Lana Lang is a superhero now.
It’s that Lois Lane is dead. It is, after all, called Superwoman and not Superwomen. There can only be one!
After the day is supposedly saved, Lois and Lana discover that the mysterious entity behind the attack on Lex’s battleship is still sneaking around — a new female villain. And she’s more than a match for Lois, still getting used to her powers… and she quickly dispatches her right in front of Lana. Lois goes into a supernova, just as Clark did before her, and is left as nothing but crumbling ash.
So say hello to Lana Lang, DC Comics’ new Superwoman. Let’s hope she survives a little longer than her predecessor did. Not been a good few weeks for legacy characters related to Superman, has it?