In the early '40s, DC first trademarked the name "Superwoman" to keep anyone else from using it and riding Clark Kent's coattails. Most of those early stories just involved Lois Lane somehow gaining Superman's powers, then losing them at the end of the issue - it would be decades before there was a real, recurring Superwoman like there was a Supergirl. A new Superwoman was introduced in Superman/Batman #23, however, part of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness' "With a Vengeance" storyline.
The female version of Superman from a parallel universe,
Superwoman is her world's greatest hero. Together with Batwoman, her strongest ally, she jumps at the chance to stop Darkseid and the Joker.
Depicting male characters as female is nothing new. The X-Men have been doing it for years, but even that is a recent thing when compared to the story of Tiresias from Greek myth. A priest of Zeus, Tiresias was out for a walk when he happened upon two snakes going at it (as snakes are wont to do). He smacked them with a stick to break it up, which pissed off Hera, the constantly jealous and bitchy wife of Zeus. She transformed Tiresias into a woman, a condition in which he lived for seven years. After being changed back ([s]he saw another pair of coupling snakes, and this time left them alone), he got caught up in an arguement between Hera and Zeus about who gets more pleasure from sex, men or women. He said "women," siding with Zeus' assertion. This again pissed off Hera, who blinded him for revealing women's greatest secret - they get 90% of the goodness, while men only get 10%.
[Well, maybe if you do it right. --ed.]
Suprisingly, unlike their male counterparts in the "Public Enemies" line, Superwoman and Batwoman aren't based on the same body. Yes, they look very similar, since they're both designed to look like the same artist's work, but there are more obvious differences between these two figures than there are between the men. There are differences in body structure and muscle tone, even if Superwoman still has giant thighs. One unfortunate feature she does share with Superman? That ridiculously short cape. Hers has the appropriate yellow S shield on the back, though - Clark's didn't.
Superwoman is more blatantly "cartoony" than Batwoman was, since you can actually see her face - the giant eyes, the stylized hair, all that. The paint helps, of course, eschewing pupils for silvery irises and giving us a few hard-edged streaks of blue for highlights in the hair. Of course, the McGuinness Superman had those same streaks, so let's just be glad she doesn't share his mighty squint. The cartoonish look isn't a bad thing - it's just the way she was drawn.
When Batman teleported into this alternate reality via Boom Tube,
it was easy to assume that we were just looking at adult versions of Supergirl and Batgirl - like we saw in Elseworld's Finest. But nope, that's not the case - this really is Superman as a woman. Clara Kent, Kansas farmgirl. Easiest way to tell? Supergirl always has blonde hair, while Superman's is black.
Articulation is sadly average: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees. DC Direct, if you can't figure out yet how to put a balljointed neck on every damn figure you make, it's time to stop making toys. Especially when that character can fly. Toynami figured that one out for their Space Ghost figure in the late '90s, and they had nowhere near as much experience as you do. Do a better job, DC. Cripes.
Superwoman is a decent figure, but not great. She makes a great companion for Batwoman, but doesn't stand up as well as a solo figure. She'd probably make a great addition to diehard Super-fans' collections, though.