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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Wonder Woman Comics

Superman/Wonder Woman #18 Superman/Wonder Woman #18

Superman/Wonder Woman #18

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 17, 2015

Cover date: August 2015

"Dark Truth"

Writer: Peter Tomasi
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Jaime Mendoza, Ray McCarthy, Jonathan Glapion and Marc Deering

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

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With Superman's powers diminished Wonder Woman has resolved to stand by him as his sentinel. No harm will come to her love while she draws breath. After getting a frantic call from Lana Lang both Superman and Wonder Woman head to Smallville. Along the way Superman explains that Lana was his first real girlfriend and helped him deal with his powers. She was also his rock when his parents died. Wonder Woman points out that Lana obviously means a lot to Superman and that she looks forward to meeting her.

They head to where Lana was staying and find no sign of Lana, John Henry Irons or a struggle. Wonder Woman suggests they go into town and gather intel. Superman spots two of the old timers and finds out that Lana is not the only one that is missing. Other people have disappeared and strange things are happening, such as dirt raining from the sky and objects like the Kents' mailbox showing up in the middle of the road. Superman and Wonder Woman investigate and find that the Kent farm as well as the house have disappeared. Not only that the bodies of his parents and other deceased citizens of Smallville have disappeared. Suddenly Superman and Wonder Woman are fired upon by the Suicide Squad. Superman tells them that they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

4Story - 4: In my review for ACTION COMICS #41 I went on and on about why I think the idea behind this quasi-crossover was a bad one and I don't feel the need to get into all that noise again. There is a difference between having a legitimate beef with something and just whining about it. All I will say here is that if you didn't read that review I'm not happy with the idea behind this story and I haven't been happy with the Superman line of comics for some time now.

Having written all of that I can honestly say that this has been, to my mind, the best of the new direction Superman titles thus far. While Tomasi is running with the all new, all edgy direction that Superman has been shoehorned into Tomasi isn't losing anything from his previous run. Wonder Woman and Superman are still very much a couple. I realize this could change over the course of this storyline but for the moment Wonder Woman is standing by Superman, which is something that seems to be in short supply. It's a sad state of affairs when the only three people that seem to be in Clark's corner are Jimmy Olsen, Alfred and Wonder Woman and frankly Wonder Woman almost has to be because she's his girlfriend.

Actually that's not entirely true. Tomasi could have had them at odds right here at the beginning of the story. In fact that is what I suspected would happened and was pleased to see that Tomasi zigged when I thought he was going to zag. Instead he opened with a very strong scene of Wonder Woman saying that with his powers diminished no harm is going to come to the man she loves. It was sweet and won me over right away.

Tomasi also won points with me (which I am sure is his life's goal because pleasing the guy that writes about your books obviously occupies his every thought, the reviewer wrote sarcastically) by continuing to use the version of Smallville that Greg Pak established in Pre-Convergence issues of ACTION COMICS. It gives the Superman books something that have been sadly lacking in the past four years; a continuity. I know that word is anathema to some people at DC preferring to focus on canon rather than continuity but to me that's silly. If you are going to have four Superman related titles and those titles take place in the same universe there should be a pretty strong connection between those books.

Having the story take place in Smallville also allows Tomasi to let Clark "take his girlfriend home" so to speak. Obviously she isn't going to meet the parents because they're, you know, dead but this is one of those things couples do or at least most couples do. I'm not suggesting that it is a prerequisite or anything but it's pretty common. I was a bit confused at Diana expressing the desire to meet Lana because I thought they had met during the whole DOOMED storyline but I was willing to let that slide because I was enjoying the issue so much.

The one problem I had with this issue is a problem I think I am going to have with all of the titles during the course of this story. I understand that realistically people might be afraid of Superman. I get that. He has these huge battles with powerful beings that cause destruction and to be fair the events of DOOMED were pretty dire. I also understand the need to explore certain ideas and as much as it pains me to admit the idea of some people being afraid of the fallout Superman's battles cause is a legitimate idea to hang a story around.

However

I'm sick of seeing this sort of thing in the various Superman titles. Maybe it's my fault for reading the books for so long and sticking around for the past ten years but starting in late 2008 we have seen story after story where people mistrusting or being afraid of Superman happen again and again. From Sam Lane and nameless people in NEW KRYPTON to the whole half the population loves him, half fears him thing that they pulled at the beginning of the New 52 to what's going on right now. It seems like the big move DC has made with Superman is to suggest that people should be afraid of him, what he represents (HE'S AN ALIEN!) or the fallout of his actions and at some point that has to stop. It's not an idea that works for Superman or at least the Superman I want to read about. Superman isn't like other heroes. He isn't Spider-Man. He represents something bigger and should be portrayed as the preeminent hero and not the red headed step alien.

Other than that and the overall premise of TRUTH this was a great issue. I continue to like the way Tomasi has Superman and Wonder Woman relate to each other. The cliffhanger of having the Suicide Squad show up was a nice way to end the issue. This book in no way, shape, form or fashion changed my mind about this outing of Clark Kent but at least this issue was well written and entertaining.

4Art - 4: The art in this issue was amazing. Again, I don't like the overall idea behind the story but at least Mahnke and the legion of inkers makes it look good. The opening scene with Wonder Woman and Superman in bed was very emotional and I liked the touch of having her wear his shirt. It was an interesting visual as the caption had her swearing that she would always protect him. I normally don't read too much into these things but to me that image said that she was going to be "super" for Superman. Incognito Clark looked good as well and the two page splash of the Suicide Squad was fantastic.

4Cover Art - 4: The red background, while striking, puts a serious strain on my eyes. I appreciate the theme that the Superman related titles are going for but the background was annoying. Other than that I like the cover. Wonder Woman and Superman both look good and there is a lot going on between them, at least in my mind.

5Variant Cover Art - 5: This cover is adorable. I like the crayon coloring look to it and the shot of Joker with the heart over his head as he looks up to Diana who probably just worked him over a bit it fantastic. This made me smile.


Mild Mannered Reviews

2015

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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