Well, what a week for Wonder Woman. Just yesterday, the return of Sensation Comics was announced:
That’s the first time in history she’s had three titles at the same time (AFAIK).
But we also have a great big crossover involving Superman – and, naturally enough, Wonder Woman – that continues Supe’s fight against Doomsday and shows its after-effects as Superman discovers that inhaling Doomsday’s remains probably isn’t the best idea ever. Leave it to Wonder Woman to save the day – using some of her shiny new god-powers and by visiting all the other women in Superman’s life, although she seems to have forgotten something…
After the jump then, we’ll have a look at Superman Doomed #1, Action Comics #31 and Superman/Wonder Woman #8. And in some parallel universes not far away, we get to glimpse one Wonder Woman of the future in Futures End #0, another Wonder Woman of the future in Justice League Beyond #20 and a Wonder Woman of the past/present in Smallville: Lanterns #10. Busy, busy, busy…
Superman Doomed #1
We last left Superman fighting Doomsday in the appallingly written and drawn Superman #30. Things considerably improve in Superman Doomed #1, once Diana turns up to help in the fight. And she has a score to settle.
Unfortunately, Doomsday’s now poisonous and heals quite quickly. Not that that’s going to stop Wonder Woman… or Superman.
Doomsday escapes, but it’s clear it’s after Superman, and Lex Luthor, who seems to have joined the Justice League (it probably would have helped if Forever Evil had finished already like it was supposed to), suggests that maybe Superman should leave the planet to stop it from killing any more civilians. And Superman thinks that’s a good idea, if he takes Doomsday with him.
In his absence, he gives Batman (and Wonder Woman) custody of the Fortress of Solitude. Batman, of course, is scared by that level of commitment in his bromance.
Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is going to miss her boyfriend. But never let it be said that neither she nor Superman can be romantic or tell jokes.
While the art isn’t great in the later pages, this is much improved over the consistently dreadful Superman entry in the Doomsday saga, and has some great moments for both Superman and Wonder Woman. Given the quality of the story as it’s continued in the other titles, it’ll be worth sticking with, I reckon.
Action Comics #31
Over in Action Comics, the fight continues – in Smallville – with Lana Lang and Lois Lane hanging out together on the outskirts of the fight, watching as Superman finally beats Doomsday into a pulp. As you might guess from their hazmat suits, Doomsday’s a hazard to everyone’s health, simply by being in their vicinity.
Superman is triumphant, but ends up breathing in Doomsday’s remains. Big mistake. Fortunately, Wonder Woman and the Justice League – and Lex Luthor – are on hand to help.
Infected with Doomsday and not exactly best friends with Lex Luthor to start with, Superman’s on the edge. With Lex suggesting that maybe they lock up Supes so they can study him post-fight, Diana senses Supes isn’t 100% happy and suggests maybe Clark leave before he does something he regrets.
Which judging by what Superman does to some hunters later on, is probably a good idea.
Again, this is an improvement over the previous entry in the series, with better art and writing (Grek Pak doing good work as always). But largely, it’s mere foreshadowing for the jewel in the crown of the series so far, Superman/Wonder Woman #8.
Superman’s flown off, of course, so now Diana has to go and find him. Where might he be and what’s happening to him that she can’t find him?
That’s the through-plot of the issue, which is told non-linearly, as first we see Diana finding Clark and then we find out how she found him.
Nice that she has a Superman keyring.
The issue does two fundamental things: continue the Doomsday story and comment not only on the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship but also Wonder Woman. One of the biggest criticisms of Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman is that it never touches on anything outside its own storyline and here writer Charles Soule completely reverses that by having Wonder Woman visit pretty much everything and everyone in the Superman universe, particularly its women, in order to locate Superman.
So Diana first visits Cat Grant, Clark’s work partner:
Grant’s also noticed that Clark’s been a bit out of sorts recently:
Diana then visits Lois Lane in the hope that she might know where Clark is. She doesn’t because she’s having fun dealing with some soldiers.
Fortunately, ‘Diana Prince’ is on the scene and ever since she became the goddess of war, it turns out she’s had a certain way with soldiers.
Still no Clark, though. So Wonder Woman visits her only true love rival: Batman.
Batman, of course, is a smart cookie and as well as having worked out that Superman might have been infected by Doomsday, he’s also figured out that Clark, rather than being at the Fortress of Solitude, could well be at his apartment.
Things aren’t going too well for Clark, though.
And he has a few questions about their relationship that the Lasso of Truth is going to reveal. Like why did she do the Solo thing on him? And why does she never invite him into her comic book, so he can help her fight the likes of the First Born? Does she think he’s not good enough for a princess?
In fact, it’s fair to say, there might be some repressed anger about all of that.
But despite Clark’s request that Diana kill him before he turns full Doomsday, thanks to Batman’s scientific knowledge, Diana knows that if she can help Superman think straight, he needn’t change. Although there might be a heavy window repair bill.
Is it any good?
It’s up to Charles Soule’s usual high standards, even though it is effectively Wonder Woman’s tour through the Superman universe. It also has some superb art by Tony Daniel.
Soule handles Diana’s meetings with all the various women in Superman’s life well. No one comes out of this looking bad, there’s no cat-fighting (not even with Cat), no jealousy, and all the characters are handled respectfully. We also get the first signs of some of Diana’s new powers as Goddess of War – she’s able to mind control soldiers, which is nifty. And as usual, in one issue, we get more detail about Wonder Woman’s everyday life than we have in the entire run so far of Wonder Woman.
We also get a sign of the strength of the Wonder Woman/Superman relationship as well as of its maturity – these are 20somethings months into a relationship, not teenagers worried about what their friends are going to think and dwelling on how everything’s just not fair.
Perhaps most notably, though, it establishes that Diana is essentially British now. Take a look:
She’s basically Emma Peel in The Avengers. No, not these ones:
These ones (why do you think it was called Avengers Assemble in the UK?):
She lives in London, has a 1960s Emma Peel look and, even though she has even less need for a car than she does an invisible jet, drives an E-Type Jaguar. She even has an accent which she can’t quite lose after six years off Paradise Island, and if Clark’s impression is accurate…
…those are elongated British vowels, not clipped or tonal modern or ancient Greek vowels.
I’m not complaining: it’s a nifty move that ties Diana into a greater modern cultural iconography than her Ancient Greek associations do – I think it’s fair to say that beyond Nana Mouskouri, the Economic Crisis, Telly Savalas and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, most Westerners don’t have really any cultural knowledge about modern Greece, at least in comparison to what they have about the UK. Τι κρίμα.
Indeed, it essentially makes her One of Us. Hell, she is Princess Diana, after all.
It’s just a little odd that DC’s UK line-up is basically working class hero John Constantine and royal heroine Wonder Woman. I’m not quite sure what that says about us. At least in DC’s eyes. Whatever it is, it’s cool, though.
Also slightly odd is that to give us that new iconography for Wonder Woman, we’ve just lost all the Diana Prince iconography along the way. If you recall, Diana’s adoption of her dual identity in the nu52 universe was so that she could blend in anonymously and have a dating life with Clark Kent.
And Diana has rocked the Mrs Peel look before in her own title.
The trouble is she’s never had it while pretending to be Diana Prince. Now she’s wandering around without her glasses, wearing her boots, tiara and armour underneath her coat (and is that a head scarf?), and expecting people not to recognise that Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are the same person. Hmmm…
Lovely art, but I’m not convinced that Diana’s really ‘got’ this whole dual identity thing and that it’s going to last very long.
All the same, an excellent, well written, beautifully drawn issue that balances out action, character, analysis and relationship, almost single-handedly demonstrating to the rest of the DC Universe the strength of Wonder Woman as a character and of the relationship between Clark and Diana. I’m looking forward to both the next issue and the next chapter of the Doomsday story as a result.
Justice League Beyond #20
As we found out in issues #18 and #19, Wonder Woman of the Batman Beyond universe has been in another universe on an Earth run by the ‘Justice Lords’ where she’s ended up married to Superman and killing Lord Batman, whom she was in love with, apparently. Shock revelation! This naturally leads future Superman to be a bit annoyed – whether that’s because she killed Batman or ended up with someone other than him is ambiguous – and to suspect this is Lady Wonder Woman, not the real Wonder Woman.
However, Wondy fesses up that she might have been a little misleading, since Lord Batman died because she cocked up, not because she was trying to kill him. In fact, it was Lady Wonder Woman pretending to be her who killed Batman and Wonder Woman then in turn killed her. Interestingly, that meant she was no longer worthy of the Lasso of the Truth.
Lord Superman isn’t happy, but to stop the war, he and Wonder Woman have a Royal Wedding.
And have a son. Called Zod.
This isn’t exactly the best written story ever, being more geared up to providing a regular shock cliffhanger every week than to any kind of plausibility. But it has the occasional fun detail, such as the dissolving of the Lasso of Truth, and seeing what Lord Superman and Wonder Woman get up to for breakfast every morning.
But your life will be more than complete without it.
Futures End #0
As bizarre crossovers go, Futures End is possibly one of the most bizarre, particularly since issue #0 was given away on Free Comic Book Day. It sees a bizarre future where most of the world’s superheroes have been turned into evil cyborgs by Brother Eye, including Wonder Woman, Superman and… John Constantine. Not sure about Cyborg. Only Batman of the Future can stop it all happening, by travelling into the past.
Wondy pops up briefly in issue #0, not at all in issue #1, but should be showing up at some point to prevent this:
Even the poor old Amazons – who frankly, have been through enough – haven’t escaped Brother Eye.
Will we? We can only hope…
Smallville: Lantern #10
Not a huge appearance by Wonder Woman this issue, but if you’ve been wondering what she’s been up to while the entire Earth has been under attack by a bunch of Yellow Lanterns, it turns out that she’s been fighting the US Senate. Well, the half of them that have yellow rings (you know what I mean).