Normally, around this time, I’d do a round-up of all of Wonder Woman’s appearances in DC comics in the past week. Unfortunately, given that both Superman and Wonder Woman were at the epicentre of a nuclear explosion not so long ago, I can’t do that, can I?
What do you mean they survived? How…?
Okay, we’ll talk about that after the jump. We’ll also be looking at a few alternative universes: the Smallville alternative universe, where Wonder Woman is flirting away with Steve Trevor, and the Justice League Beyond alternative universes, in which a slightly older Wonder Woman is off with Batman instead.
Gosh. Still, as long as she’s having fun, hey?
Superman/Wonder Woman #7
First off, we find out how Superman and Wonder Woman survived the nuclear explosion. Wondy was wrapped up in Supes’ indestructible cape, whereas Superman might not have been so lucky.
But Wondy soon realises that in the nuclear winter they’ve created, all that sunlight that normally powers Superman’s cells has been replaced by nuclear radiation and she just needs to top him up with yellow power somehow. That’s not the invisible jet/chariot there, is it?
After going their separate ways to recoup, the properly dynamic duo are reunited a few months later, all loved up, the L-word still hanging over things.
With so much to catch up on, including the fact Wonder Woman is now the Goddess of War, the lovers decide to spend some quality time together… dancing.
Unfortunately for them, a certain Mr Doomsday is getting ready for action and someone’s trying to help him…
Is it any good?
It’s still very good, but this issue is a little lighter than normal in terms of plot, it has to be said, although it contains some great character work.
Largely, it’s designed to do two things: catch the strip up with activity in other titles; and get us ready for the Doomsday crossover that’s coming in the next few months. To do that, we have a slightly strange jump of who-knows-how-long between the events at the end of last issue and now, during which Diana and Clark aren’t supposed to have seen each other at all. A bit unlikely, given the declarations and events of the previous issue, but given how isolated Wonder Woman is as a title and what has been going on there, a necessity one suspects.
Either way, writer Charles Soule and artists Paulo Siqueira, Eddy Barrows and Barry Kitson (standing in for Tony Daniel) do a decent job of addressing those events as swiftly as they can, with London, which was pretty devastated by the First Born in Wonder Woman, clearly being rebuilt in the background of various panels this issue. We also see Diana addressing a question that will have been pressing on the minds of Wonder Woman readers since that tumultuous issue and which Brian Azzarello naturally hasn’t even attempted to answer in any depth – what does it actually mean for Wonder Woman to be the Goddess of War? Soule gives us an answer that’s both interesting and in character for Diana, but I’m sure there’ll be more to come.
One especially nice touch this issue is Soule’s use of the two characters’ different methods of recuperation to tell us more about them as people. Superman heads off to his Fortress of Solitude and gets his Kryptonian technology to look after him. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman heads off to find her Amazon friend Hessia, who uses the Amazons’ purple healing power to heal her.
You remember the Amazons’ purple healing power don’t you? It hasn’t been used as part of the nu52 before, but it’s been a part of Wonder Woman lore since Steve Trevor crashed landed on Paradise Island and Diana used it to heal him in William Marston’s very first issue of Wonder Woman:
Soule uses this to show not just the difference between Superman and Wonder Woman as superheroes – one is very much a science-fiction superhero, the other a superheroine of magic and myth – but as people: Superman is used to being alone, to solitude, whether that’s as a twice-orphan, the near-last Kryptonian, as a blogger without many work colleagues or a man without many friends who don’t wear masks and capes; Wonder Woman is used to sisterhood, to being part of a collective and to giving and receiving aid from her friends. It is to some extent why she seems to drive and control their relationship, since by embracing togetherness, she basically knows how to navigate it better.
Soule shows this again in the club scene. Firstly, the club doesn’t look like the mosh pit of Wonder Woman #4, where Wonder Woman dressed very differently (and was conspicuously taller)…
So although this could still be Soule capitalising on that previous piece of character background, it seems more likely that Diana simply likes dancing at lots of clubs, which shouldn’t be totally unexpected in a character with Greek heritage (although one who clearly hasn’t hung out much in Greece if in her experience, not all men like to dance – or is that perhaps a dig at Steve Trevor?). Indeed, here, Diana is clearly loved by everyone in the club, wants to spend time with other people and wants to dance, and the warmer colours of her outfit versus Clark’s darker colours reflect their different levels of sociability:
All this shows us sides to both Clark and Diana that we’ve not seen in any other nu52 titles. Together with all the relationship details, it’s certainly an issue to squee over.
Artistically, the issue is a bit more variable than normal, thanks to Daniel’s absence: on the whole, Siqueira and co do a good job, but Siqueira’s artwork is notably starker than Daniel’s. That works well for ‘drained’ Clark in the first few pages of the title, but gives Diana a slightly harsh quality. The flipside of that is that Barrows’ and Kitson’s work later in the title is at least as good as Daniel’s, although not as precise, and facially, they give us a prettier Diana, albeit one who is a little more, erm, well endowed than normal.
As an intriguing footnote, I also wonder if perhaps the starred tanktop is a reference to Donna Troy, Diana’s pre-nu52 sister:
Something to think about, hey?
While not the usually action-driven piece – Doomsday largely just floats around in the sea a lot, while various baddies discuss how bad he is – it’s still a really good issue and things are only going to hot up subsequently as the next story arc kicks off in earnest.
In Superman #30 first, though. Ah, crossovers…
Smallville: Lantern #5
Over in the the Smallville universe, of course, ‘Diana Prince’ has only just arrived and is now working for the DEO with Steve Trevor. For the past few issues, the happily married Superman has been struggling to deal with the fact that the Green Lantern ring for Krypton’s sector has nominated him to be its latest Green Lantern. John Stewart is helping him deal with this and his new green light powers, all while a contingent of Manhunters is flying around, trying to take out this new cluster of Lanterns.
This issue, though, Wondy has been videoconferencing with Lois Lane while throwing paper at Steve.
It’s a fun enough storyline that introduces the Lantern Corps to the Smallville universe, but don’t expect to see much Wonder Woman in it, generally.
Justice League Beyond #16-17
And over in Justice League Beyond, it turns out an older Wondy’s been making an appearance (I’m guessing not a goddess in this universe). Or has she? After a surprise rescue of the future Justice League and Paradise Island at the end of issue #16…
…the big question is – is this really Wonder Woman, since we’re in the middle of a great big multi-universe crossover that incorporates Batman Beyond as well. Diana, it turns out, went off to the other universe to keep the nasty ‘Justice Lords’ in check – including an evil Wonder Woman.
Along the way, though, the attraction hinted at in the Justice League TV series between Wonder Woman and Batman actually bears fruit.
The big question then is which Wonder Woman has come back from the world of Justice Lords: this world’s or the Justice Lords’? And even if it is the right Wonder Woman, why has she come back and has she perhaps been corrupted by her time on the Justice Lords’ world?
I’m sure we’ll find out in the next few issues. And whether she and old Superman are going to hit it off, given how creaky Bruce is.