|First appearance||(Lois Lane as)
Superman (Vol. 1) #45 (1947)
|Alter ego||Luma Lynai
- "Diana" (Earth-Three)
- Kristin Wells
- Dana Dearden
- Lois Lane (Antimatter Earth)
- Lois Lane (Earth-3)
- Lucy Lane (New Krypton)
Superwoman is the name given to several fictional characters published over the years by DC Comics, most of them being, like the popular Supergirl, a woman with powers similar to those of DC's highly popular Superman. The name "Superwoman" was originally copyrighted by Detective Comics in an effort to prevent competitors from using it. As was the practice, an ashcan copy was created with the title of Superwoman. The cover was a reproduction of More Fun Comics with the interior content being a reprint of the third issue. The first true appearance of Superwoman, which is usually thought to have been one of many trial runs for the future introduction of Kara Zor-El as Supergirl years later, was printed in Action Comics.
The first appearance of the name "Superwoman" in a DC comic was a story in Action Comics where Lois Lane dreams that she has gained superpowers from a blood transfusion from Superman and launches a career as Superwoman.
The theme would be revisited in a 1947 Superman comic in which a pair of fraudulent magicians cast a "spell" on Lane, making her believe she has superpowers. Superman is forced to play along with the ruse for a time, using super-speed to invisibly intervene in Lane's adventures, supporting the illusion. She briefly sports a costume modeled on Superman's before the spell is "broken". A story from Action Comics has Lois actually gaining superpowers thanks to one of Lex Luthor's inventions, and launches a short-lived career as "Superwoman."
Later stories would sporadically feature tales in which Lois gained superpowers and functioned as a "Superwoman" of sorts, but all of these were, like the 1951 tale above, only temporary, with the powers wearing off by the end of the story. A typical example of this is "The Turnabout Powers" from Superman Family, where the Earth-Two Lois Lane gained powers from her husband (the Earth-Two Superman) through the unexpected effect of an exotic extraterrestrial plant Superman had brought into their home. The plant's death reversed the effect. Another example would be in the Batman/Superman: World's Finest mini-series where Mr. Mxyzptlk briefly transformed Lois into a "Superwoman" with costume and powers.
At the end of All-Star Superman #2, Lois Lane is presented with a formula called "Exo-Genes" created by Superman that allows her to have his powers for 24 hours, and she became Superwoman. During her adventures with her new Kryptonian powers, she was wooed by two superhumans named "Samson" and "Atlas", and was captured by a time-Ultrasphinx. Her powers faded away at the end of the day. Notably, her costume seemed to be exactly the same as that of the Anti-Matter Universe's Superwoman (see below), but in Superman's colors. Both outfits were designed by Frank Quitely.
A woman from the distant planet of Staryl, Luma Lynai wins the heart of Superman. Just as Superman derives his powers from a yellow sun, Lumisa derived her gifts of super-strength and flight from an orange sun. Their romance doesn't last, as Luma becomes deathly ill under the rays of a yellow sun, and Superman can't leave Earth undefended. She physically resembles an adult Kara Zor-El, with a similar costume, except instead of being blue-and-red with a pentagonal S shield, Luma's costume is white-and-green with a circular S emblem.
Crime Syndicate of America
In 1964, an evil counterpart of Wonder Woman from a parallel universe named "Superwoman" was introduced. This Superwoman was a member of the Crime Syndicate of America, a villainous counterpart of the Justice League of America from the parallel world of "Earth-Three" (vs. the Justice League's world of "Earth-One"). Superwoman, like Wonder Woman, was an Amazon, and possessed similar powers of super-strength and flight. Unlike most/all other versions, her magic lasso could change shape into any form she desired, including a giant winged serpent. The Crime Syndicate first came to Earth-One when they felt they were becoming too soft as they were receiving no real challenge to their powers and Ultraman discovered Earth-One after gaining the power to gaze between worlds after exposure to a hunk of Kryptonite. Wonder Woman defeated Superwoman on Earth-1, Black Canary defeated her on Earth-2 and tied her up in her lasso, but like the other JSA members was transported to Earth-3 when she says she won due to a vibratory force Power Ring had placed in their bodies, and in the showdown on Earth-2 Superwoman was defeated again by Wonder Woman making her grasp both lassos, meaning she couldn't control them and was knocked out by her foe. The Crime Syndicate were defeated and imprisoned between Earth-One and Two by Green Lantern in a green bubble.[volume & issue needed] Later the Crime Syndicate were freed by the time travelling villain Per Degaton after he was caught up in a time-storm, discovered their bubble, and freed them. They tried to get him, but he revealed he had made sure he and his Time Machine would vibrate at a different speed to them, meaning they couldn't touch him. They helped him change history and conquer Earth-2 by stealing nuclear missiles from the Cuban Missile crisis of Earth-Prime, and when the Syndicate betray him they are sent to 1982 of Earth-1, as he had made sure this would happen when they touched him. They materialised on the JLA's satellite headquarters, and defeated the heroes. The JSA were imprisoned in their prison, but the combined powers of Starman and Doctor Fate got them out. They helped him again when the JLA tried to restore history, though were planning to betray him. When Degaton was defeated this timeline was erased and the Syndicate was re-imprisoned.
In Post-Crisis continuity, as established in the 1998 graphic novel JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison, Superwoman (and the rest of the Crime Syndicate) comes from a parallel world similar to Earth, but located in an antimatter universe (also home to the planet Qward).
Superwoman continues to make occasional appearances as a member of the Crime Syndicate, most recently appearing in storylines in the Justice League and Superman comics. Unlike her pre-Crisis counterpart, her magic lasso doesn't change shape, but releases the inhibitions of anyone tied with it (just as Wonder Woman's compels victims to tell the truth). She also possesses heat vision, as Superman and Ultraman do.
Taking the alias Lois Lane, Superwoman is an Amazon by birth, and has risen through the ranks to become the chief editor of the Daily Planet in what she calls "Patriarch's World". This disguise resembles Wonder Woman's secret identity of Diana Prince. At the Planet, Superwoman is shown to upset her colleagues; the antimatter-Cat Grant refers to Superwoman as "Queen Bitch", and negatively alludes to her "friendship" with the antimatter Jimmy Olsen. In her later appearances, it is stated that prior to taking on Lois Lane identity, Superwoman was born on Damnation Island, presumably the Antimatter counterpart to Themyscira (or "Paradise Island"). It is mentioned that she had killed off all of her fellow Amazons, and upon meeting Donna Troy, she becomes ecstatic over the prospect of being able to kill another one of her kind for the first time in years.
Jimmy Olsen is the only civilian who knows of Superwoman's secret identity. A compliant sexual deviant, he does what she tells him in exchange for the favour of watching when she changes her outfit and receiving pieces of it for his "disguise kit". He is so besotted that he ignores her gibes and insults, even when she tauntingly refers to him as, "Superwoman's Snitch, Jimmy Olsen," and prints it in the Planet.
Also in the Earth 2 story, her lover Ultraman hates Superwoman's frigidity towards him. Meanwhile, she is carrying on a torrid affair with Owlman, and they sneak trysts whenever they feel Ultraman is not watching. However, from his floating fortress (the antimatter counterpart to the Fortress of Solitude), Ultraman doesn't hesitate to fire warning bursts of heat vision towards them whenever he catches them together.
In 52 Week 52, a recreation of Earth-3 was shown as a part of the new Multiverse. In the depiction were characters that are altered versions of the original Justice Society of America, including Wonder Woman. The character is not identified in 52, but later in Countdown to Final Crisis, which identifies her as Superwoman of the Crime Society of America, on an alternative world which is a reversed version of Earth-2. Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-Three, making this a new character unrelated to previous versions. Grant Morrison also suggests that the Earth-3 and Antimatter Superwomen both exist post-52.
Like the antimatter iteration of the character, she is indeed both a Lois Lane and Wonder Woman counterpart, despite possessing Kryptonian abilities such as heat vision. In Countdown, she is recruited into the Monarch's army but has her eyes gouged out by Red Robin (Jason Todd) of New Earth, who may or may not have been carrying Kryptonite.
In Superman #349 ("The Turnabout Trap!"), Superman returns from an interstellar mission to find that everyone on Earth is of opposite sex. Among them are Penny White (a female Perry White), Jenny Olsen (a female Jimmy Olsen), Louis Lane (a male Lois Lane), Batwoman (a female Batman, rather than the actual character), Wonder Warrior (a male Wonder Woman. DC comics could not use the name Wonder Man at the time because Marvel Comics holds the trademark and copyright. A later character did use the name Wonder Man however— see below.), Black Condor (a male Black Canary), Superlad (a male Supergirl), and Superwoman (his female counterpart) herself. Believing he crossed into a parallel universe, Superman flies back to space to find a dimensional portal, but is blocked by an invisible barrier. He notices the parallelism fails when he sees Superwoman and Clara Kent (Superwoman's presumed secret identity) are two separate people.
When he confronts Superwoman he discovers that he is regarded as a super-villain in this gender-reversed world, which leads to a battle with Superwoman, Superlad, and Wonder Warrior. They manage to trap Superman with Wonder Warrior on guard, but he manages to escape and takes Wonder Warrior's magic lasso with him. Superman figures out that his foe Mr. Mxyzptlk is behind this gender-reversed world. This was partly due to the discrepancy of Clara Kent and Superwoman being different people. However, Mxyzptlk's biggest mistake was being too vain to give himself a reverse-gender counterpart in Superwoman's rogues gallery in The Daily Planet morgue; all of Superwoman's foes were reverse-gender counterparts to Superman's foes (Leslie Luthor (Lex Luthor), Bizaress (Bizarro) and the Toywoman (Toyman)) - except for Mxyzptlk. Superman discovers as well that he was never in a parallel universe, but rather on Earth, which Mxyzptlk had altered with his magic. After using Wonder Warrior's magic lasso to make Mxyzptlk say his name backwards and thus returning to his native dimension, the effects of Mxyzptlk's magic (including the existence of Superwoman) vanish, returning the Earth to normal. Upon his return to his Clark Kent identity he is startled to discover there is still a Louis Lane, but he turns out to be Lois Lane's cousin.
A new Superwoman named "Laurel", apparently a female version of Superman from a parallel Earth (now identified as Earth-11), appeared for the first time in Superman/Batman, and was featured an issue later. In Earth 11's alternate universe, much like in the one featured in "The Turnabout Trap!", reversed-gender characters exist relative to those resident on New Earth: there is a Batwoman (female Batman), Superlad (male Supergirl), and a female Darkseid known as the "Dark Queen". (It is notable that in pre-Crisis continuity, "Laurel Kent" was the name of a 30th century descendant of Superman who occasionally appeared in stories featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes, and was replaced in continuity by Laurel Gand.)
In December 2007, Superwoman and Batwoman were featured in Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman #1. It features Earth-11 as part of the new DC Multiverse and presents a male version of Wonder Woman called Wonder Man, who originates from a society of male Amazons. It also depicts that world's version of Amazons Attack!.
Another version of Superwoman, this one a heroic character, came about in the form of Kristin Wells, who was created by Superman comic writer Elliot S! Maggin. Wells first appeared in Maggin's Superman novel Miracle Monday, but he later introduced her in the pages of DC Comics Presents as Superwoman. The character Wells is a 29th-century descendant of Jimmy Olsen. Wells time travels to the 20th century, where the technology she had brought from the future gives her super powers. It is this iteration of the character which appears briefly in Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?.
Obsessed Superman fan Dana Dearden dated Jimmy Olsen to get close to Superman, and when that didn't work she stole mystic artifacts which granted her the strength of Hercules, the speed (and flight) of Hermes, the thunderbolts of Zeus, and the sight of Heimdall. Dana donned a green-and-purple uniform, with "Superwoman" written down the leggings, and called herself Superwoman, and tried to get Superman to fall in love with her. He rejected her advances, and Jimmy called her Obsession. She vanished attempting to help Superman rescue people from a burning ship. When Superman was split into his Red and Blue energy forms, Superwoman returned hoping that one of the Supermen would return her feelings, but Maxima intervened, and used her telepathy to convince Superwoman that she would destroy Superman with her love. The telepathic illusion wore off and she would try to win Superman over again, this time in a red-and blue costume very similar to his, and claimed to be his wife in response to a recent photograph of Superman wearing a wedding ring. During a subsequent attack of humans using the DMN drug- which turned the users into violent demons until the 'high' was over-, Superman convinced her to help him stop the DMN users, arguing that, if she truly loved him, she would help him do his duty rather than attack him for potentially picking someone else over her. She died trying to protect him from one of the DMN users when it almost struck him in the back while he was distracted, since she knew he was vulnerable to magic.
Lucy Lane first appeared as Superwoman in Supergirl (vol. 5) #35 (January 2009), her costume a nod to that of the Bronze Age Superwoman Kristin Wells and containing a containment field that simulated Kryptonian powers. However, Lucy's identity was not revealed until near the story arc's end. During her tenure as Superwoman, she was blackmailed by her father, General Sam Lane, into performing acts of villainy such as killing Agent Liberty, who had been spying on General Lane and Lex Luthor. (This resulted in her being the focus of the Supergirl Faces of Evil issue.) She later attacked Reactron, which tipped off readers that Superwoman was not Kryptonian (in that that villain's Gold Kryptonite power source had no effect on her). Supergirl unmasks Superwoman, and accidentally kills her by rupturing the containment field of her suit, causing Lucy's body to contort and explode. In the Supergirl annual Lucy is brought back to life by the suit as it steals the life of another person. The suit is then revealed to be a magical creation of Mirabai of the Forlorn, ally of Sam Lane, who mystically infused in it the genetic abilities of several alien races of Kryptonian might: when Supergirl ruptured it, the backlash permanently altered Lucy Lane into being a composite alien being of human appearance herself, with inherent Kryptonian abilities. This Superwoman was last seen as a prisoner after Sam Lane's machinations during the War of the Supermen storyline came to an end, though it was hinted she would escape at some point in the future. However the launch of The New 52 has ended that storyline, and there is no indication of anyone in The New 52 line who has claimed the identity as of December 2012.
Various comic stories, pre- and post-Crisis, have offered glimpses of possible futures assuming that one of the various incarnations of Supergirl would eventually change her codename to Superwoman upon reaching what she considered adulthood. One example is a 1980 issue of Superman Family, in which all the stories are set in the then- near future 1999 or 2000 (the timeframe is cited only as "the turn of the century") with the characters aged appropriately, including an older Linda Danvers (Kara Zor-El) who divides her time between her career as Superwoman and serving as governor of Florida.
Alternatively, some stories assume one of Superman's female descendants would assume the name "Superwoman", like his daughter Kara and great-granddaughter Lara from the Elseworlds series, Superman & Batman: Generations.
In other media
- An adult film version of Superman was produced called Superwoman (1979). Directed by Joe Sherman, written by John Finegold, and starring Desireé Cousteau as the main character Superwoman/Linda Kent, a court action by Warner Bros. prompted the name of the film to be changed to Ms. Magnificent and most of the references to Superman removed or altered (such as Superman's iconic S-shield).
- A version of Superwoman appeared on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in the season three episode, "Ultra Woman." Superman lost his powers when a red Kryptonite laser beam hit him and transferred his powers to Lois. Both of them were unaware of the transfer, until Lois pulled down an iron gate with her bare hands. Martha Kent made her a costume and Clark introduces her to Metropolis as Ultrawoman.
- Gina Torres played the Crime Syndicate version of Superwoman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. According to writer Dwayne McDuffie, rather than being the counterpart of Wonder Woman, this version of Superwoman is an analogue of Mary Marvel. However, Superwoman and Wonder Woman still became rivals and the Amazon Princess easily bested her in combat during the final battle. Like in JLA: Earth 2, Superwoman has a relationship with Owlman, even collaborates with him of his plot to destroy the multiverse. However, she also develops a crush toward Batman, who rejects her advances. There is no mention of her being with Ultraman and she is presumably not with him. She is described as having psychotic tendencies, she even alludes to herself as a "Murderous psychopath". Superwoman is arrested after the Justice League and the United States Marine Corps led by President Slade Wilson defeated her and the rest of the Syndicate.
- The Lois Lane Superwoman is featured in the All-Star Superman movie.
- January 1942
- Issue #73
- Action Comics #3 —
- Issue #60 — May 1943
- Issue #45, in a story titled "Lois Lane, Superwoman!" — (March–April 1947)
- Issue #156 — released May 1951
- Issue #207 (May–June 1981)
- Issue #2
- All-Star Superman #3
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #1
- Greenberger, Robert (2008). "Crime Syndicate". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 89. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- "JLA: Earth 2"
- Justice League of America (vol. 2) #50
- 52 52: 11/3-4 (May 2, 2007), DC Comics
- Brady, Matt (2007-05-08). "THE 52 EXIT INTERVIEWS: GRANT MORRISON". Newsarama. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
- Superman, volume 1, #349 (in a story entitled "The Turnabout Trap!")
- Issue #23 — released November 2005
- Issue #24
- Adventures of Superman #538 — September 1996
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow, Issue #10
- Adventures of Superman #574 — released January 2000
- Action Comics #873
- Supergirl #38
- Supergirl #40
- Supergirl #41
- Supergirl (Vol. 5)#50(February 2010)
- #200 — released April 1980
- November 12, 1995 (Episode 7)
DC Comics Presents Annual #4 Superman and Superwoman (1985)