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Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman #1

Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2007
By: Shawn Hill



Writer(s): Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist(s): Andrasofsky, Haun, Rapmund, et al

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: Kyle, Donna, the Hood and Bob the Monitor’s search for the Atom brings them to a world where boys can be girls who are girls who love boys…or something like that.

Comments: If only Ryan Sook’s gorgeous cover bled over into the inside. He’d just have much more fun with this particular brand of gender switcheroo goofiness. I actually thought at first that this title would reflect the Elseworld’s Finest Batgirl and Supergirl, who were interesting enough variations on the theme that they recently rated their own action figures almost a decade after their one appearance. But, my bad, these are the characters from Superman/Batman, which means they have nifty Ed McGuiness designs and a rather simplistic remit: They’re just like the guys, but in their world women rule and men are the objects of desire.

That leads to some passably funny business in the issue, and our Earth 1 protagonists adapt pretty well to the surprises, just as the heroines adapt pretty quickly and professionally to them. First they’ve got to deal with their immediate problem, however: Wonderman is upset that nobody understood why he had to kill Maxine Lord, and he decides to lead a horde of Attacking Amazonians to take on the mainland oppressers.

The Justice League responds with Queen Aquawoman, Green Lantern, Red Tornado, Superwoman and Batwoman and they’re shortly aided by the Freedom Fighters, including Columbia as their spiritual driving force, a very frisky Phantom Man, and an equally sex-obsessed Demon. There’s also a tease of Alexis Luthor, but not nearly enough.

While the ridiculous cavalcade of artists (4 pencillers? 6 inkers?) does their best to keep things clear, Wonderman’s costume is the most glaring misstep. Here’s your opportunity to cash in on some of that unassailably macho and still immersively homoerotic 300 timeliness, and instead you make sure to give him a buxom chest plate and a silly sub-Centurion skirt? He’d have been funnier if NOT played for laughs - after all, wasn’t the point of the story on Earth 1 that Wonder Woman was actually right after all?

The best move that Palmiotti and Gray make is that, once “Dino” is chastised and our “challengers” make their case, these women act like the JLA, and get quickly down to business. Our Atom was here but he’s moved on, and the journey hasn’t yet ended. Which is to be expected, as he’s just the excuse that powers these world jaunts. Meanwhile this was a fun, mildly diverting, totally slight and missable stop along the way.



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