SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1/ Written by CHARLES SOULE/ Art by TONY DANIEL & BATT/ Lettering by CARLOS M. MANGUAL/ Published by DC COMICS
The first issue of Superman/Wonder Woman is exactly what you would expect from a superhero couple title. Diana and Clark are struggling to balance their romantic life and superhero life, while keeping both a secret. With Charles Soule taking a safe route with his storytelling and Tony Daniel’s art being less-than-spectacular, the rest of the series may have some ground to make up.
“Power Couple” opens with the duo hovering over the Northern Atlantic, briefly holding hands before flying off to save a crashing plane during a thunder storm. It is a task that Superman doesn’t think will take long enough for them to need to cancel their dinner plans in Oslo, Norway (The benefits of being in a relationship where both can fly, I guess?).
Though this is the first issue it’s surprising this is not an easy jumping on point, as it relies heavily on readers having been following both the Superman and Wonder Woman titles. Even dialogue that is meant to be used as backstory is difficult to decipher unless you’ve been reading other DC titles.
And let’s not forget the stereotypical scene of two women talking about men! A forgivable misstep now, as Soule is obviously working to build up drama between Diana and Clark’s romance, but it can be all too tempting to have Diana constantly turn to her female comrades for love advice. There are also some blackmail seeds being planted, which is fruit hanging so low it almost comes across as a red herring.
Daniel’s art is a bit wonky, as overly long limbs and perceptivity-weak panels can be distracting in some panels. During a bar scene between Clark and Cat Grant, it’s nearly impossible to tell that what Cat is holding is a french fry if not for the ketchup. Daniel’s depiction of Doomsday and the following fight scene, however, are enough to forgive these small nitpicks. Also, the man knows how to draw a cool explosion.
However, if one thing is obvious it’s that these two character love each other. Soule and Daniel are able to masterfully display Clark and Diana’s affection without being overly cheesy or manipulating either’s character. That alone is the heart and soul of this series, and why it’s worth reading despite these early missteps.
It’s clear that the overall theme of this book will not just be two superheroes who love each other, but two superheroes who are in love with each other while having completely different worldviews. Though this first issue may not have burst from the gate, there is definitely enough promise within these pages to maintain interest.