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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Wonder Woman Comics

Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1

Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 6, 2014

Cover date: September 2014

Superman Doomed: Last Sun - Chapter Three: "The Promise"

Writer: Charles Soule
Penciller: Ed Benes, Tony Daniel, Pascual Alixe, Cliff Richards, Jack Herbert
Inker: Jaime Mendoza, Matt Banning, Vicente Cifuentes, Pascual Alixe, Cliff Richards
Cover: Tony Daniel and Tomeu Morey

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

Click to enlarge

Superdoom engages with Cyborg Superman, but after tearing off his arm, Superdoom leaves Cyborg Superman to assist with the battle on Earth. The scene cuts to the Watchtower, where the Justice League is deliberating their next move against Brainiac's approaching army. The receive a call from Steel, who is accompanied by Lana Lang. They let the League know that if 36% of the invasion nodes are destroyed, Brainiac's plan to knock the Earth into a planet-wide coma will be unable to be executed. The scene cuts to Clark Kent engaging in an internal struggle with Superdoom. He convinces himself that he can return and help the League defeat the nodes, and Superdoom encourages him to do so, knowing that the Earth is still covered in a Kryptonite cloud, which causes Doomsday to gain power over Superman. On Earth, Superdoom assists with the destruction of the nodes, but is emitting an energy that kills anything to close to him. Consumed by Doomsday's need for death and destruction, Superdoom moves to take on a village of innocent people and kill them just because. Wonder Woman arrives to stop him, battling Superdoom, while internally a battle rages between Clark and Doomsday. Clark is losing the battle for dominance, and Wonder Woman begins to believe that she has no choice but to kill Superdoom. However, the Batman's plan to remove the Kryptonite form the skies takes effect, and Clark regains control in classic fashion, just as Wonder Woman is about to decapitate him. The combined forces of Earth's heroes decimate enough of the nodes to make them ineffective, but they have all been fooled, as the nodes were not needed for Brainiac to attack, and through an undefended portal, Brainiac's ship appears, and the world's heroes know that it is not over.

2Story - 2: Sweet Grace. This is an engorged issue in terms of creators and story. That is by no means a good thing. There is just too many things occurring for the proposed theme of the story, the purport of the matter to make any headway through the clutter and constriction that is this annual. Worse, nothing that's going on carries any significance towards the events that have transpired before and during this issue. Superman: Doomed, is a story in the same vein as Panic in the Sky, an excellent story not only for its ideas, but for its execution. It also differs in the fact that Superman, in that storyline, is a respected leader of the superhero community. In Superman: Doomed, Superman is just another hero, and frankly, not one who inspires or reassures the community, let alone the people he is supposed to defend. Superman or Superdoom's diminished state is coupled with the fact that his mere presence is a liability, he's fighting for dominance of himself with the greatest killer he's ever known, and we're being told that there is a part of Superman, or Clark Kent that actually wants to kill. That is quite the Bumpstead to consume, and it's thoroughly unappetising in its presentation. Oh, there's also the continuously dysfunctional relationship of Superman and Wonder Woman, let's not forget about that.

It's understandable that an annual should be BIG. Heck, they're more pages and everything. Unfortunately, everything is big here except the story. The cast, the consequences, and the mess, it's all big, akin to a 100 lbs. balloon. The return of Brainiac, Superdoom, the Justice League, Steel, Lana Lang... wait, Steel and Lana Lang. Why are they in this story? Ostensibly it's to contribute to the effort, and they are very much a part of the Superman mythos, but that is not it. They're here so they can be hooked up, so Lana has a boyfriend, and Steel has a closer tie to Superman through that. It's easy to notice things like this when they're played up more than the actual plot. That's correct, the subplot stands out more that the major sequence of events. Why? We've seen so little leadership on Superman's part, in his own books and in others, that adding the other heroes just makes him a thread in the tapestry. He needed to sort things out on his own, and show the way. Instead he's given a convoluted mess to wade through, and not even as himself, but as the humourously named, Superdoom. Why? Because he looks like Doomsday and is wearing a Superman outfit. It's beyond silly, but the sad thing is that it could work, this is a comic book after all, but doesn't because nothing is done with it as a premise to make it so. It's just Doomsday in a Superman outfit, and that's all.

Wonder Woman nearly kills Superman in this instalment, which makes it the second time she's been in that position, and as the saying goes, "Once is a coincidence, twice is a trend, thrice is a pattern, the forth, is murder," So we're only two more incidents away from the big one folks. This is a woman who can't say that she loves Superman, but she's ready to kill him if he asks her to and the mood suits her. It's more than dysfunctional once you think on her actions; it's bloody well surreal. The metafiction isn't lost on those who believe we're looking into a fictional universe of a fictional universe when these two are together. Why are they together again? Wonder Woman is a better partner for Superman because she's willing to kill him? Isn't the safety of her love the reason why she threw over Steve Trevor? Superman is a better partner for Wonder Woman because he has super powers. Isn't that the same shallow reason that some tweaked Lois Lane for? Just being attracted to Superman for his power?

This was hard issue to find a silver lining for, and that's because there just isn't one. It's a poorly executed mess, and you don't get points for the idea, but how well you execute them. The idea of Superman contending with an internal problem, one that he cannot defeat with his hands (which he does by the way) is intriguing, but it's executed with no thought towards it. Page 28 borrows from Superman III of all things. Superman III, and good idea that wasn't executed well, except for a fight scene that represented an internal struggle for Superman. It ended with an iconic shot of Superman opening his shirt to reveal the shield and the man within. The same is done here, but it falls flat as tries for an iconic scene with a Superman who is no longer iconic, and with an outfit that negates the need for doing just that. Just a bloody mess.

3Art - 3: No sooner do you catch a rhythm with the images, then another artist comes and forces you to start the pace anew and from the starting line.

3Cover Art - 3: It looks like a hot mess. Should've judged this one by the cover.

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.

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