After the previous week’s glut of Wonder Woman appearances, the Amazon princess only clocked up three appearances this week, two of them not especially great, although one of them’s particularly interesting. We had the continuation of the 'Superman: Doomed' plot in Superman #31, which involved a bit of hand-wringing by Diana; the Justice League Beyond ‘The Return of Wonder Woman’ storyline also continued with yet another marriage flashback.
But more intriguingly, over in the DC Licensed universe, we had the launch in Wendy’s and online of a new Superman/Wonder Woman title, complete with toys. And you can see how that differs from the regular DC Universe after the jump.
Lex Luthor is busily trying to find a cure for Superman’s infection by Doomsday. However, Superman doesn’t have much hope it’ll work so he calls in Lois Lane so that he can give the world a message. Lois is met by Wonder Woman and offers her condolences to her.
Superman can hear his best friend and girlfriend talking, of course.
Supes asks Lois to tell the world that he’s not safe to be around so stay away. Unfortunately, Lois is still infected with Brainiac, who gives Superman a subconscious message, resulting in Superman escaping from captivity. Wonder Woman can only hope that Steel can come up with a cure and that the Justice League can find Superman.
Is it any good?
Well, it’s a notch or two above Superman #30, not least because the artwork’s light years ahead of that embarrassment, but this is still a Scott Lobdell work, so don’t expect great things of it. Largely, it just fills in the gaps in narrative to explain why Superman might want to escape from custody despite being a nice guy, while building up Lois Lane/Brainiac and giving us a few Wonder Woman moments.
The Wonder Woman bits aren’t especially well handled in the art, with Diana mainly anxious and worried about Superman while looking helpless. But the Lois Lane/Wonder Woman meeting is handled well, with no cat-fighting, and both come across as generous to each other. The Superman/Lois Lane moments are more open to interpretation, with Superman musing on his relationship with Lois: although Superman is clear that Lois is his best friend, Diana his girlfriend, the artwork suggests something else. As well as Superman’s look when Lois first arrives, Lois’s actions are equally ambiguous:
While Lois’s motivation is partly Brainiac-derived and could also be taken as a sign of other feelings, and Supes has a beast in him and is not himself, I think Lobdell is trying to suggest something romantic's there, even if it’s “the road not taken”. Whether that’ll be continued once Doomsday is done and Geoff Johns takes over writing duties on Superman remains to be seen, but I suspect not.
Justice League Beyond #21
After turning up at the Watchtower last issue, young Zod is causing mayhem, which irks Superman, who demands to know the truth from Wonder Woman. She is also getting a bit irked by this.
However, it’s time for another flashback to explain Zod, so it’s time for a rapprochement and Diana reveals yet more backstory. It turns out Zod was produced… non-traditionally.
Alternative universe Brainiac then stole the baby who gave it to regular universe kryptonian and denizen of the Phantom Zone Jax-Ur.
Diana’s story turns Superman around… maybe a little too late, since that’s when Lord Superman and the other Justice Lords decide to turn up - and kill everyone, including Wonder Woman.
Is it any good?
It’s yet more beardy-weirdy sci-fi back story - hopefully the last of it - and Wonder Woman having fights with two different versions of Superman. There are a few character moments of note, including the divide then later reconciliation between the two, but this is another one of those “fit tab A in slot B” plotting issues to get a bunch of characters from one scenario to another, with a bit of fighting to lubricate the flow.
Fingers crossed, they’ll get on with the actual story now…
Wendy’s Superman/Wonder Woman #1
I don’t actually need to spell this one out for you, since despite being given away free at Wendy’s restaurants in the US, it’s actually available in a slightly enhanced version - the pictures move and everything! - over at this web site for all the world to see. But to summarise, just as Amazon princess Wonder Woman is dedicating a museum exhibition to the Amazons, Brainiac and his robots turn up. Fortunately, along with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent is on hand, covering the dedication, and he’s pals with Superman who might be able to lend a hand.
Is it any good?
Actually, as well as being beautifully illustrated, it’s surprisingly enjoyable and grown up, and features almost nothing you wouldn’t want your kids to read (provided you’re okay with punching and a bit of violence). Being set in the DC Licensed Universe, rather than the nu52 proper, it gives writer Josh Elder and artist Marcus To free reign to take whatever they want from any period of DC history (that has a tie-in product) and do with it as they wish.
So to explain to children the joys of co-operation and teamwork - particularly between men and women, especially if it involves punching bad guys - Elder borrows from both the nu52 and post-Crisis universes to give us Amazons who have protected the world from evil for thousands of years…
…from the nu52 the uniforms, and with a little invention of his own, a Wonder Woman who can produce a sword and, for a change, a shield from her bracelets…
… (yes, the Amazons had a wooden horse. Don’t ask me why) and from the post-Crisis universe, a Wonder Woman who invokes Hermes for good luck,
…as well as the always popular invisible jet rather than an invisible chariot, albeit one that’s invisible thanks to Amazon magic, rather than science.
Of course, given the message of the issue, neither Superman nor Wonder Woman can defeat Brainiac by themselves, so it’s a combination of the two that eventually saves the day.
It’s a respectful depiction of both Superman and Wonder Woman that, given the demographics of such things, is probably going to be the first comic that kids ever read featuring both Superman and Wonder Woman in the lead roles. As such, it’s rather a good start and lovely foundation for a series that looks like it’s going to be ongoing, judging both the book by its cover and from its end scene:
In part, the comic seems to be an effort to make Wonder Woman more appealing as a superheroine. Lois Lane is initially dismissive of Wonder Woman (in pretty much the same way Megan Fox was) but soon learns her mistake:
Diana’s given background, more gadgets than Batman and plenty of toys for girls to play with…
Her strength and courage is on display and she’s not depicted as Superman’s inferior. This is certainly the nu52 Diana at heart, though, given the sheer amount of fighting, and although she doesn’t fly in the story or demonstrate powers beyond strength and endurance, the cover gives us a flying Diana at least.
Given the choice of title, there’s clearly a tie-in with the DC canon Superman/Wonder Woman as well, and although there’s minimal romance at this point, although Lois is obviously Superman fan, that end scene suggests that future issues might well be giving kids their first hint of the nu52’s Superman-Wonder Woman relationship.
In short, a great title for kids that adults can enjoy as well.
- June 10, 2014: Weekly Wonder Woman: Action Comics #32
A look at the appearances by Wonder Woman in DC Comics in the week ending 6th June 2014