So what’s Diana been up to this week. Well, normally, we can rely on Charles Soule and Tony Daniel to liven up our months with their regular Superman/Wonder Woman. However, in case you’d forgotten, we’re in the middle of ‘Superman: Doomed’, and so for once, the title has lost some of its sheen, thanks to an extensive cast of guest characters, including the Red Lanterns. Still Wonder Woman did get to enter the Games Grid again – you’ll see what I mean.
Meanwhile, back in the future, Lord Superman and Wonder Woman are having a really incomprehensible fight in Justice League Beyond. But we can talk about that after the jump.
Superman/Wonder Woman #9
While Superman tries his best to fight the Doomsday infection, despite being weakened by the kryptonite he was gassed with…
…Diana recruits her fellow Amazon and noted healer Hessia to aid in recapturing Superman and returning him to normal.
Hestia has some Amazon armour to help her in getting close to Superman.
Unfortunately, Hessia’s plans are different from her friend’s.
When Hessia reveals that she was the one who revealed the Power Couple’s relationship to the world to annoy Superman, she succeeds. Fortunately, Diana slips off her bracelets and Tron’s up.
She drags Superman in outer space, away from the kryptonite gas, allowing him to overpower the Doomsday infection and recover his mind. He decides to stay away from the Earth for its own safety.
A good plan, but unfortunately the Red Lanterns don’t know and try to stop him.
Superman/Doomsday gives them a general kicking. Wonder Woman is… nicer.
But Superman’s all on his own in outer space for now…
Is it any good?
Compared to the normal high-quality, densely-packed stories we’ve come to expect from Soule in Superman/Wonder Woman, this is really just a load of fights: Superman having a mental fight with Doomsday; Hessia and Superman/Doomsday having a fight; Wonder Woman and Superman/Doomsday having a fight; Superman/Doomsday fighting the Red Lanterns; and finally Wonder Woman having a fight for superiority with the Red Lanterns. It’s not really Soule’s fault, more the nature of any long-running crossover comics series, but it is a decidedly slender affair compared to the normal Superman/Wonder Woman.
All the same, there’s a lot to enjoy and a few plot advancements in the issue, even if it they present us with a few puzzlers. Once again, the issue puts Wonder Woman centre-stage, although Soule does give us enough Doomsday-free moments for us to see the real Superman. Diana’s relationship with Hessia is the axis around which the first-half revolves, with Diana discovering that her friend has betrayed her – with the best of intentions – by releasing the footage of Superman and Diana kissing. How on earth did she know to be there and why did she have a camera? Your guess is as good as mine.
Hessia then betrays Diana again by trying to kill Superman, again with the best of intentions. I’m guessing this is going to strain their friendship somewhat, but at the very least, it highlights not only how Diana’s implicit trust in other Amazons seems to always come back to bite her at some point but also that the Amazons as a whole have a different morality to both Diana and ‘Man’s World’.
Notably, we get to see what is presumably another set of Hephaestus armour, which may (or may not) have been found in Tartarus by Hessia. How did she get to Tartarus, which is the prison section of Hades? And, more importantly, how did she get out? Again, puzzlers that aren’t answered, but I’m not sure they especially need answering and it does highlight once again the now-nu52 Amazon duty of preventing the denizens of Hades escaping.
And then, of course, Diana ‘Trons up’. We’ve seen this a few times now and it’s becoming evident that rather than being the Golden Age requirement that all Amazons forever wear their bracelets to avoid going mad, the nu52 bracelets are purely for Wonder Woman and restrain her power. The implication now is that it’s to hold back her godliness – that without it, she might lose some aspect of her humanity. Given that she can remove them and not go all Tron-like, one must presume that the bracelets only restrain her when she’s really pushing herself and this is the only time she’s at risk of losing it, like a berserker; and since she is still herself when talking with Superman later on, despite not having replaced her bracelets, it’s by no means something that will inevitably overwhelm her.
Nevertheless, notably Diana can swat Superman/Doomsday like a fly when she removes them, so clearly her power genuinely is godly when fully unleashed.
Despite the general theme of ‘twatting people around’ that permeates the issue, Soule still manages to fit in some Superman/Wonder Woman interplay, with the two showing their devotion and faith in one another and Diana even calling Superman ‘darling’ at one point, which is sweet.
I’m not entirely sure if there’s supposed to be a double meaning to the ‘we’ve only danced once’ – while we’ve seen Superman and Wonder Woman hit the dance floor together, is this supposed to be a reference to their fight this issue as well? It seems a little odd and inappropriate, if it is, but given Wonder Woman’s Golden Age history, maybe something’s up there…
While there are enough elements of the usual high quality Soule writing and excellent Tony Daniel artwork, this is more of a filler piece for ‘Superman: Doomed’ than an issue worth getting in its own right. It’s certainly one of the best entries in that crossover, but it still is a diminished work next to the usual Superman/Wonder Woman fare.
Justice League Beyond #22
You can pretty much summarise the whole issue in two lines: Lord Superman and Wonder Woman have a fight, Wonder Woman loses and is saved by their mutual son, Zod; meanwhile, the rest of the Justice League escape from their cells and have a ruck with the Justice Lords.
It’s not a great issue and although one can always argue that age and lack of practice could have weakened Wonder Woman, to be defeated in just a few panes is somewhat ridiculous, even given the pre-nu52 continuity in which this operates:
I have to admit it took me quite a few re-reads of that dialogue to work out what’s going on: Lord Superman thinks his world is nice, thinks Wonder Woman, regular Superman and co wanted to conquer it, rather than to stop him from oppressing it; he thinks their world is rubbish and so now he’s going to make it nice like his world. From the continuity dumps in previous issues, it’s not exactly clear that that was how he perceived it, so it almost felt like the dialogue was the wrong way round, but it does actually make sense if you think about it from Lord Superman’s perspective.
Of course, things are left on a cliffhanger when Zod shows up to save the day and discovers who his real parents are:
Honestly, it’s not that great an issue, particularly from a Wonder Woman point of view. It doesn’t add much, but it’s all right and if you’re already involved in the story, it at least won’t make you want to stop.