Welcome to the smoldering ruin of DC stories. Here you will find all the terrible decisions the company has made in the name of “New 52” such as: hideous costume redesign; terrible character alterations that change someone like Deadshot into a bad Batman knockoff; and taking Gail Simone off every book ever. This week we get the treat of a book that features the worst character pairing since that fan-fiction I read that crossed “50 Shades of Grey” with “Atlas Shrugged”. Let me tell you, I cracked this thing open with my ceremonial funeral pyre piping hot… and then I was painfully disappointed when it turned out to be decent—not just decent but I was very upset to discover I was entertained.
There was one big problem when the Superman and Wonder Woman ship was launched; it is completely out of Clark’s character. I’m not saying Superman is too good for Diana Prince, I’m saying Clark Kent would have no desire to date Wonder Woman. Here’s the difference: Clark always thought of himself as a simple farm boy. He himself is extraordinary but he lives as ordinary a life he can even though he is a giant in a world of glass. Diana on the other hand is Wonder Woman; she has the name Diana Prince as merely an affectation. She sees no reason to cover or distill who or what she is because she is an ass-kicking Goddess 24/7. That’s why going into this book I thought it would be such a monumental flop, because any relationship that these two start would be a farce, an appeasement to the Gods of simplicity. But the writer was able to surprise me, perhaps he could paint a picture of connection that I couldn’t see.
I had plenty of reasons to doubt the writer of this book, Charles Soule. Not only is the concept of this relationship asinine but I just spent the last month reading the failed abortion that we shall call his run on “Thunderbolts”. From the bleak look of things I thought this would be a mishandled story that would be retconned from continuity before it hit its last issue. But then Soule confronted the issue head-on. Maybe he didn’t explain every worry I have away but he did establish a connection between the two of them that he can expound. And at least while he is doing it I’ll be wowed by the sensationally beautiful art of Tony Daniel.
Being pessimistic about this book is an easy thing to do: it’s a power couple being forced together, there’s ten different variant covers, and they put one of the most talented artists on the book, Tony Daniel. You can argue with me that Wonder Woman is not a particularly attractive character and I will pull out the super perm she’s had to prove it but I will take no debate on this: Wonder Woman in this book is gorgeous. Her looks in this book are actually befitting a Goddess. And I feel weirdly attracted to Clark Kent’s face—not Superman’s, for some reason he still looks like a D-bag, but Clark made me question myself a little bit. All of the action in this book is epic too, as it should be since these two characters could each punch a hole in the sun. There’s plenty of action to watch smash back and forth across the panels and the reason why is—Damnit! It’s Doomsday.
What the Hell, Soule? You had just restored my faith in this book, now you ruin it with the worst part of comic book history? Why would you do this? DC, stop trying to make Doomsday a thing; Doomsday will never be a thing. It absolutely ruined this book. “But Patrick, you gave it such glowing praise; surely one appearance by Doomsday can’t destroy a book for you?” Hey, how many of you like steak? I’m not talking cheap, rubbery stuff but tender prime cut; something that has been expertly prepared for an entire day before being placed in front of you. Sounds good right? What if they served it on a huge turd, a putrid, rancid, monster of a turd. Still a good steak?
Am I happy with this issue? No. Does the series still have promise? Definitely. What if this relationship doesn’t work? What if this is the relationship that informs Clark that all he wants is a woman who isn’t super powered, just super? What if Diana and Clark’s breakup makes for an awkward Watch Tower? And how does this compare to the relationship that was cultivated for years in “Invincible”? Mark and Eve are both supremely powerful in their own right but it was never the power that attracted each other. I’m not sure the Superman/Wonder Woman shares the same dynamic. Maybe the book is going for a whirlwind romance. If that’s the case good luck because this will only be interesting if it ends in a train wreck—and I’m not talking about the Doomsday fight.