If you’re going to enjoy the new series Superman/Wonder Woman (why does he always get top billing?), you have to accept the New 52. Yes, it is unnerving to see Wonder Woman and Superman involved in an intimate relationship. DC Comics has spent 75 years weaning us on Superman & Lois Lane, Wonder Woman & Steve Trevor. Now, the two most powerful beings on the planet are hooking up. That’s the New 52. This is the future.
If you can embrace the New 52, then Superman/Wonder Woman is a solid debut issue. Writer Charles Soule plays this very smart. Issue #1 is a volley between heavy action and setting up the budding romance of these two heroes. Too much one way, it becomes all action and nothing special, too much the other way and we have an episode of Smallville, complete with relationship angst. The story opens in the middle of a massive storm, always a good sign.
The storm is threatening to destroy whatever is in its path, so Superman and Wonder Woman fly to the rescue. As our Amazon hero tends to a crashing plan, crippled by the storm, Superman flies into the ocean, to find the center of the storm and end it. Problem is, something knocks Superman out of the water and through the plane Wonder Woman is trying to save. Fear not, they rescue the pilots – sort of. In response to the plane being destroyed, the Navy fires on Wonder Woman and Superman. As Superman rushes to get the pilots to safety, Wonder Woman has a rather visceral chat with the Navy ship that fired on them.
Yep, the old rock head stands ready to whoop Wonder Woman’s ass, and does a pretty good job of it. What is really bizarre are the dead bodies Doomsday has at his feet. The ripped up corpses of the pilots Superman just flew away with. Is Doomsday Superman? Did Doomsday already beat the piss out of the Man of Steel? Soule ends Superman/Wonder Woman on a curious mystery, one that leaves enough of a cliffhanger to generate interest in issue #2.
Wrapped within all the action is the relationship. Wonder Woman and Superman have very different ideas on how to handle their courtship. Wonder Woman has no secrets, she proudly displays her power so that none will fear her or question her. Superman is all about secrets. That tension will no doubt become a problem in future issues. I was keen on Soule’s commentary about Superman. Wonder Woman essentially calls him out on having only power, but no training, no real idea how to fight. Somebody who can take on Superman and win? It’s a strong angle.
Tony S. Daniel handles art and does a superb job. Daniel has a scope that a lot of comic artists don’t have. His pencils open up the world the characters are in. Big splash pages, larger panel sizes – Daniel likes room to work. This direction helps the action seem bigger, the threat of Doomsday more insurmountable. Daniel’s always had good line work and an eye for detail, but it is his scope and ability to convey movement that makes his pencils stand out.
Superman/Wonder Woman could end up seriously redefining the idea of a power couple.
(4.5 Story, 4 Art)