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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Wonder Woman Comics

Superman/Wonder Woman #6 Superman/Wonder Woman #6

Superman/Wonder Woman #6

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 12, 2014

Cover date: May 2014

"Until the End"

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

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

Click to enlarge

Superman/Wonder Woman #6 General Zod and Faora have compiled the necessary components to create a device that will open the Phantom Zone. While they finalize their construction, Superman and Wonder Woman briefly discuss their relationship. They visit Hephaestus, the master craftsman of the gods, and retrieve armor Wonder Woman had commissioned earlier, in addition to Hephaestus' chariot, which renders them undetectable, allowing them to surprise Faora and Zod. The battle coming finally ensues, with Superman and Wonder Woman taking the victory thanks to the armor designed by Hephaestus. However, Apollo, whom Superman had humbled previous, reveals that he was behind Zod and Faora, and gives them a surge of power, more than tipping the odds in their favor. Wonder Woman and Superman are defeated and left within the core of a nearby nuclear power plant. Zod and Faora return to the task of opening the Phantom Zone, while Superman and Wonder Woman come upon a desperate plan. They will use Wonder Woman's magically enhanced sword to split the atoms in the power plant, causing a nuclear explosion, sealing off the Phantom Zone. The deed is done, and when we next see the duo, they are embraced in what appears to be their death.

3Story - 3: I'll take off the reviewer's cap for a few sentences, as I believe this issue calls for it. Strictly as a fan and on entertainment value, I liked the issue. If I turn off my brain and just go with the flow and ignore reason, I'm a grinning fanboy lathering in all of the flash, splash, and action of the issue. Trouble is, I have to review the issue, not simply enjoy while there are moments that I can achieve that beautiful Zen of mindlessness, this isn't one of them. Cap's back on. The splash page that ends this issue is metaphorical for what the relationship of Superman and Wonder Woman has become, and that will be addressed in greater detail before the close, but it's destructive to both of them. What is more, in the last exchange between the two of them, it's been cemented that Wonder Woman, as she is portrayed here, does not care for Superman in a manner that resembles love. Perhaps she loves the companionship, the ability to not have to care for his safety as she did with Steve Trevor, or the fact that she doesn't have to be alone. It could be any of the above, but it isn't love.

Superman tells Wonder Woman that he loves her. She replies with a glib: "Of course you do,". Yes, she's a warrior and perhaps that is her way of saying, "I love you". However, the scene calls for earnest reciprocity, not "ditto" a la Ghost. Han Solo could be glib, as Leia was still alive, and that glibness could reassure her in what was a heart-wrenching moment for both of them, but the scene with Superman and Wonder Woman calls for both of their deaths. It's a situation that neither may survive, but in truth, it's a situation that Wonder Woman won't survive. She's been distant with her emotions, critical of Superman's lifestyle, and aloof with her answers to him regarding their functionality as a couple. Now, in this penultimate moment, her final words ring with the trueness of tin. She may joke and jest, but the last memory of her that a man with an eidetic memory will have is that she never said she loved me. Not quite what one would expect from Diana. Wonder Woman, with this issue, has made her involvement with Superman more than suspect, and Superman should start answering his questions for himself. Beautiful, wise, and all the rest, but she doesn't love you, man. Best to pack up and move on.

Zod and Faora are utterly useless as villains. Jessie and James of Pokemon are more effective. They carry name recognition from the movies, and that is the great extent of their threat. The reveal that Apollo is behind their introduction, and that he has to empower them even further to get the job done, which they still don't, doesn't speak well of them as antagonists. They have Superman and Wonder Woman defeated, yet leave them alive because killing them would take too long?! HISHE had it right, villains are dumb. Not only are Superman and Wonder Woman left alive, they're placed in a nuclear power plant, which they're conveniently able to set-off. Faora, Zod, you're the villains, it's OK for you lot to kill. Don't be lazy about it. Seriously, it speaks to the tepid writing for both of them, when Zod has Superman at his mercy... and grants him mercy.

The slant of the book has favored Wonder Woman from issue #2, but no more apparent than this issue, with the appearance of Strife, Apollo, and Hephaestus. Zod and Faora, as has been shown, are pawns of Apollo, and Hephaestus provides the Deux et Machina superhero books tend to rely on. Strife is comic relief. However, Superman's world is more contracted and much more insular than Diana's. That's not because Krypton is gone, but more because Lois, the Daily Planet, Supergirl, Superboy, even Krypto is gone. Dysfunctional as they may be, the gods provide Wonder Woman with a family as a character, and supporting layers to be written about. Superman has Jessie and James, soon to be followed by Doomsday. It's definitely not a contest he can win, and it makes for stories that will have to draw more from Wonder Woman's stable and sideline Clark more and more, as there is no way a mortal, even in disguise, can exist with the gods. It's a world that becomes more and more magical, mystical, and less mortal, which is where Superman needs to be at the end of the day. His adventures can take him anywhere, but it's in service of the people. If that aspect is gone, he's a generic strongman, and there are plenty to go around these days.

What is definitely not in service of the people is detonating a nuclear bomb. That was just over-the-top in its foolishness. If Wonder Woman and Superman being together results in this kind of destruction, they should operate on different sides of the galaxy. While there is something in the resourcefulness they show to defeat Jessie and James, it's the cost that is staggering. Superman and Wonder Woman are not ends justifies the means characters. It's not Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike (though it seems some like to write Wonder Woman close to her). It's not enough for them to win, but to remember that when they win, the people win as well. They help to restore what was rent, they're loved for being true heroes. Set off a nuke and that's out the window. It puts them in a Charybdis and Scylla situation that isn't necessary. "We saved the world!" Yes, but you had to blow some of it up to do so. We thank you for your service and hope we never need it again.

The issue is without a doubt entertaining, and my review shouldn't put you off enjoying it in the slightest. It's popcorn magic at its best. However, some things shouldn't be trifles in any story. Things like nuclear bombs and that little thing called love. It will be a while before that scene leaves me anything but confounded, as Wonder Woman and Superman are at best siblings, and forcing the issue between them hasn't quite made for better story. I also don't like Diana portrayed as a stock character, as she is in other books, or as a jerk, which is done here. Oh, get rid of that outfit, Superman, and just save your cape. It's fully intact after a nuclear explosion, and your armor is rent.

3Art - 3: Daniels' line-work is fine, but do I really need to see close-ups of noses with blood runneth over? Nasty.

3Cover Art - 3: At least they kept their promise. It was to the death. Wasn't it?

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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