Personally, I have a huge affinity with DC Comics. They have a special place in my heart due to their iconic characters and rich history, however, I would be remiss as a critic and a writer to say that DC has had a stellar track record since the inception of the NEW 52. On top of that, it seems as-if any remote possibly of a decent, interesting series taking the place of a dud is nearly and impossible wish. The slower selling comics remain, while the mid-tier serials are replaced with even more, uninteresting work.
I thought was such the case when DC decided to include a Superman/Wonder Woman comic book into their NEW 52 line-up. It seemed like a gag or a hoax— Something to get people riled up because its cover is graced with the two most powerful beings in the DC Universe passionately embracing with locked lips. From the get-go, I automatically assumed that it would be piss poor comic; usually the ones based solely on a publicity stunt are half-assed and thus poorly penciled and written.
I, however, was contracted to review the first volume of Superman/Wonder Woman entitled, Power Couple, and thus was required to read it. As it turns out:
Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 1 is one of the best Superman story arcs that I have read in a long while. The story is superbly written and includes numerous layers from DC’s reimagining of the Superman/Wonder Woman lore to a high-octane tale of their own that sits perfectly nestled within the story arcs of their very own serials.
The underlying pretense is that (yes)…Superman and Wonder Woman are in a relationship. What makes the relationship interesting is how the two characters handle it. Wonder Woman embraces who she is and her powers, so she wants to honest and public with their relationship. She sees it as their duty, and that they are better than humanity because of their superpowers. Superman being raised human and having a more-intimate and necessary connection to people (especially considering his alter ego, Clark Kent) thinks that they should hide their relationship to protect humanity.
This dichotomy creates wonderful dialogue. Superman and Wonder Woman are together, but they are also always at odds— Eternally struggling to be with one another with opposing opinions. This is incredibly universal, and I think a lot of couples will find themselves relating to the two’s predicament.
Interlaced with the aforementioned subplot is the inclusion and subsequent conflict between Superman and Wonder Woman’s families. The Greek Gods have no respect for a man “who comes from the stars,” just in the same way that Supes’ Kryptonian, Phantom Zone brethren hate humanity and their Gods, yet they are more than willing to work together in order to try and prevent Superman and Wonder Woman from being together.
Factor in some truly fantastic artwork and a brilliant lead-up to the newest Doomsday story arc and you’ve got yourself a brilliant graphic novel, that was unfortunately overshadowed by cheap PR tricks. Tony Daniel pencils Superman and Wonder Woman in fine, colorful detail. The two are believable together, but more importantly when their worlds crossover they are believable, as well. This is a facet of the DC Universe that DC Comics has trouble with— Cohesion. Oftentimes, Batman feels out of place on the Justice League’s Watch Tower, just in the same as any other DC character has trouble fitting in the confines of Gotham and Bat title. Daniel pulls it off though.
When Wonder Woman is Diane and with Clark Kent at a club it makes sense visually. When Superman is visiting Mount Olympus with Wonder Woman…it makes sense. The level of consistency and believability that Charles Soule and Tony Daniel bring to the characters makes Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Power Couple well-worth the read. If you are at all interested in Superman and/or Wonder Woman I highly recommend reading this graphic novel. It is one that shouldn’t be missed.