"Superman Wonder Woman" written by Charles Soule and drawn by Tony S. Daniel launched with plenty of fanfare and controversy back in October. Issue two opened where issue one left off, effectively pulling me into the action with the first page. Daniel got a thunderous assist from letterer Carlos M. Mangual. I was jolted backward by the towering KATHOOOM with which Doomsday (off page) launched our Amazon Princess. It actually hurt. Mangual continued to lower the boom at different points throughout the issue.
As it turned out, Doomsday was still imprisoned in the Phantom Zone though Wonder Woman confronted him in the North Atlantic. So how in the world could he have escaped? The thought of the Phantom Zone bleeding villains from that dimension into Earth's has been well-tread in past Superman stories. However, Soule employed this device to foreshadow the escape of it's most infamous prisoner in a reveal made at the end of the issue.
Though he was drawn well in the panels on the second and third pages, I didn't get enough Doomsday. The fight between Wonder Woman and the monster wasn't really even a fight. It was a one-two punch. I wanted more action. All I got was a broken arm and a fist full of sunlight. You'll know what I mean later on if you read this issue. Accordingly, the use of the "One Punch" joke during the fight between Superman and Apollos was cheap and inappropriate. It originated from the Justice League International days circa 1987 when Batman KO'd a loud-mouthed Guy Gardener. Blue Beetle bursted in laughter, "One punch!" That was a humorous book. This...not so much.
Unlike his narrative for "Swamp Thing," Charles Soule's writing here felt constrained. I too felt forced to imagine that this new relationship could actually work; that this should happen. Readers walking into this comic for the first time without having wrestled with the implications of Clark and Diana in a relationship may be unfamiliar with some key departures from years of continuity; mainly that Superman and Lois Lane are no longer complements to one another. Moreover, Clark no longer reports for the Daily Planet, hence alleviating the working relationship readers and movie-goers alike have experienced for well over 70 years. I miss Lois and Clark.
There's still a lot to unpack and flesh out in terms of story development. The relationship that Clark and Diana shared in these pages also felt strangely matter-of-fact. Nothing has changed my mind that the whole thing wasn't contrived. In no small way does Soule contribute to the revisionist history and deconstruction of the Superman and Wonder Woman mythos.
The bottom line is that I picked up both issues of "Superman Wonder Woman" because I've enjoyed Charles Soule's run on "Swamp Thing." Perhaps this book presents an opportunity to challenge readers on what it truly means to be complete equals. I will continue to read it with the hope that the story will improve, will provide more action and will delve deeper into their unspoken tensions; but I'm not sure that it can. The unimaginable stands in the way.
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