Friday, 15 May 2015

Superman/Wonder Woman Vol.1: Power Couple (The New 52) Review

Superman/Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Power Couple (The New 52)

Ewww... kissing!
Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Tony S. Daniel

Collects: Superman/Wonder Woman #1-7

Background Information:

For years Superman and Wonder Woman had their own love interests; Superman pined for, kissed and even married Lois Lane, while Wonder Woman and Colonel Steve Trevor have been a pairing ever since she appeared in Sensation Comics. 

Then the New 52 started. Lois and Supes left each other over creative differences at the Daily Planet and Wonder Woman decided she wasn't interested in Steve after all. The second Justice League volume featured the two sharing a passionate kiss at the end, and they've been a "thing" ever since.

Review:

So, for better or for worse, that's the status quo. Although I can credit Justice League writer Geoff Johns for trying to make this relationship work, it always came off as forced, and Trinity War did nothing to make the paring believable.

That's where Charles Soule comes in. His work in  Power Couple becomes a legitimising tool for the Wondersupes relationship, and ends up being a great tribute to everything there is to like about the New 52 versions of both characters.
Phew... they do superhero stuff, too.
So, Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship is now public. People are freaking out that the two
most powerful in the world are together and what this might mean for everyone else, and that's getting Wonder Woman and Superman concerned. In the meantime, Zod has appeared in the New 52 universe for the first time along with his beloved Faora. It's a great choice of villain for the new couple; as it shows just destructive this kind of couple can be, and that's one of the driving themes in this book.

Whereas Marvel is about average Joes in non-average situations (science nerd get spider powers, weakling gets the super serum, total narcissist wears armour to become hero), DC has always been about, to borrow from Injustice, gods among us. Larger than life characters and the real world's reaction to them has always been the crux of DCs line. Power Couple catches that crux perfectly; Wonder Woman and Superman are the subject of celebrity. We regularly see people referring two Wondersupes as attractive, their relationship trumps any hoopla created by any Hollywood scoop, and there's a certain level of secrecy to the whole thing.

That said, this is less of a love story and more of a relationship story. Superman and Wonder Woman are already together, and this story becomes more about what happens after the kiss at the end of every rom-com you have ever seen. The question, thankfully, isn't one of "will they/won't they", but "how will they make it work now that they have?" The result is a great humanising of both characters; the kind that we haven't seen in most of their books.

I know, far be it for Superman to wear makeup, still...
I've stopped commenting on art in DC. I'm suspicious that Jim Lee is drawing everything under
different names. That said, Tony S. Daniel's art deserves some mention. It won't stand out to anyone as particularly diverse, but if you're familiar with his work, then you know you're in for a book that is going to feature some pretty brutal panels. It near-perfectly balances the romance with hard-hitting action scenes and reminds you that this is, in fact, a superhero comic.

Somehow, even though I have nothing bad to say, I didn't love this book. Something, I don't know what, felt missing- maybe it was that love is meant to feel fun. I would have loved to see Wonder Woman and Superman tease each other good-naturedly, or laugh at an awkward situation, but it just wasn't there. Power Couple, therefore, gets only a four and a half out of five rom-coms.

**** 1/4

+ Works as a relationship story.
+ Plays on the "gods among us" theme.
+ Brutal, entertaining art.
- Wondersupes' love didn't feel too serious.

Alternate Option: Justice League: Villains' Journey

Wonder Woman and Superman are together? When did that happen? Find out here.