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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Wonder Woman Comics

Superman/Wonder Woman #5 Superman/Wonder Woman #5

Superman/Wonder Woman #5

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 12, 2014

Cover date: April 2014


Writer: Charles Soule
Penciller: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: BATT with Sandu Florea
Cover: Daniel and Sandu Florea with Morey

Reviewed by: T.A. Ewart (aka liheibao)

Click to enlarge

Superman/Wonder Woman #5 Wonder Woman has taken a retreat to Themyscira(Paradise Island). She speaks to the ossified body of her mother about her relationship with Superman. While Wonder Woman enjoys Superman's companionship, she is uncertain about his need to be less than he is, in her opinion. The transmogrified Amazons of Themyscira, once warriors, now snakes, lead Wonder Woman to Doom's Doors, which have been broken, and a creature from Tarturus has escaped. Wonder Woman tracks down the creature and slays it, then reseals the doors using her enchanted lasso. As she leaves Paradise Island, Cyborg raises her and alerts her to Superman needing assistance.

Superman has unwillingly allowed the release of not only Zod, but Faora, two of the Phantom Zone's worst criminals. When he attempts to engage them, his inexperience and lack of skill is made apparent as Zod and Faora buffet him about, until Wonder Woman arrives to assist him. Wonder Woman is able to contend with Zod, but Superman allows Faora to get the better of him, and Wonder Woman needs to intercede again. Zod gains a hold of Superman, and breaks his arm. He then offers Wonder Woman a bargain: everyone goes their own way, and no one dies. Not today. Wonder Woman accepts, and watches as Zod speeds of with Faora, while she tends to a badly wounded Superman.

3Story - 3: Charles Soule is a very good and very capable writer, and under different circumstances, this would have been a more enjoyable read. There are the obvious issues with seeing a favorite character beaten and humiliated, but while that is a part of the displeasure of reading this installment, there is also the larger lack of consistency with how Superman has been portrayed in the New 52, and the shameless pairing of him with Wonder Woman. Zod and Faora do present a formidable challenge, but not one that should have been as confounding for Superman, let alone coupled with Wonder Woman's added abilities. What could have been an entertaining display of teamwork and aptitude, was sidelined for soap operatic bickering, during a battle no less, as to play up the relationship angle between the two; a relationship that appears doomed from the start, as the word "Doom" has appeared in every issue since its inception. Why should readers care about a relationship that has barely gotten its footing, being rocky after a handful of issues?

Wonder Woman speaking to Hypolyta was a nice scene, but we have to ponder if it would have worked better if she was there to extol her love for Superman, as opposed to the ridiculous doubts she has about him. Superman has shared every aspect of his life with Wonder Woman: Superman, Clark Kent, Kal-El, Clark's apartment, Fortress of Solitude, she's even met all of his friends and came to a party back in Superman #13. There has been little if any reciprocity on Wonder Woman's part that's been shown, aside of a brawl with Apollo. Has Superman even set foot on Themyscira? Wonder Woman's feelings for Superman seem to be couched and that doesn't speak well of her character at all. The decision making of the duo seems to be suspect as well.

Wonder Woman's decision to leave her lasso back on Paradise Island doesn't track, as she doesn't know how Doom's Doors were disabled. She may return to find her lasso removed and the doors wide open. Still, Diana's mistake is minor when compared to the blundering from Superman.

From releasing Zod, which was stupid, to the fight with Faora and Zod, which was superlatively moronic, Superman has proven to be the "idiot" that Batman appropriately calls him. Calling Batman instead of Cyborg is another ridiculously stupid move, but we have to have Batman in the book somehow. This idiocy on Superman's part would be tolerable if he was still leaping around in denim and a T-Shirt. However, after at least seven years of adventures and heroics, where he has had to deal with situation that were equivalent if not superior situations to what he's contending with in this issue. The scene where he attempts to talk to Faora is laughable, but it belies a greater problem with Superman across the New 52 and beyond. The notion that he's a naive fool, who will allow himself to be beaten and fight back at the very last minute of his backside being handed to him. Yes, he's a boy scout, but the last time I checked, boy scouts were prepared, not stupid or naive. Kind, helpful, smart? Yes. Stupid, gullible, blundering? No. This issue goes a long way towards perpetuating that stems from Superman: The Animated Series and continues today. Is this the same Superman who defeated H'El? Who outsmarted Vyndyktv? Twice?

Is this the Superman who allowed himself to be killed, knowing that he would be rebooted? Who can tell.

In Superman/Wonder Woman #2, I predicted that after seeing Wonder Woman so throughly humbled by Doomsday, we'd see the same done to Superman, and we were given that in spades for this issue. It's not the fact that he loses or even has his arm broken. It's not the humiliation. It's that he's an idiot from start to finish, and at this stage of the game, Zod and Faora, who have miraculous mastery of their powers from the jump, should not pose a problem for Superman, who literally has a decade or more of experience using his abilities. Super-speed? Flight? Sensory abilities? These things take time to master, and for all of Zod's talk of Superman being untrained, the fight is a simple punch, punch, hit, hit, boilerplate brawl. Oh, and since that armor offers no protection whatsoever, can we just get rid of it? How Zod broke it while Superman was wearing indestructible armor is beyond me.

Superman and Wonder Woman as a team should be unbeatable. They should be able to fight for 1,000 years and still be going strong. They have the experience and have worked together as super-powered beings against super-powered beings, the edge is theirs. However, instead we're given two nitwits, who can't put aside their personal issues to get the job done, and it looks bad on both of them, but ever so much worse on Superman. After this issue, I have to ask, what does Diana see in him? He's doubtful, inexperienced, inefficient, untrained, and untested as this issue points out. She's a warrior, and he can't fight. That has to be attractive.

4Art - 4: Daniels delivers again, though it's his Wonder Woman on Paradise Island that steals the show.

3Cover Art - 3: Why am I looking at Faora, who's looking at me, while flashing her backside at me? Am I in trouble? Kinky trouble?

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2014

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