I love Superman. I could honestly say that I love Wonder Woman just as much. Last year when Superman Wonder Woman debuted, I was quite thrilled because, as a fan, it meant I’d be getting an additional title for both my favorite Kryptonian and Amazon. Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke have done an exceptional job with Superman Wonder Woman, and after a two month absence during “Convergence”, our heroes return.
Continuing the Superman focused story-line “Truth”, started in Action Comics issue 41, we see more of the fallout after Clark Kent was outed to the world as the Man of Steel. Following last week’s Batman Superman issue 21, Tomasi and Mahnke deliver a more personal story, very similar to that of Greg Pak’s solid Action issue 41. Superman Wonder Woman issue 18 is told more through the eyes of Diana as we see her boyfriend Clark struggle with the world slowly turning against him. For many of the reasons the Meredith and David Finch Wonder Woman solo title has issues, Tomasi and Mahnke create a Wonder Woman that’s not only relatable, but one that’s as iconic as Big Blue. The opening of their story, “Dark Truth”, we see Diana laying awake in bed while Clark sleeps. She’s almost like a mother watching over her sleeping child. There’s a beauty to the maternal and protective instincts Wonder Woman has and it only adds to the powerfully rendered scene of Clark being carried by her as they fly to Smallville. (Clark temporarily lost his power of flight due to his new solar flare ability so he needs help where he can get it. In this case, he holds onto Wonder Woman as she flies.)
This week of DC Comics titles also features the debut of Wonder Woman’s new outfit, as created by Hephaestus in Wonder Woman issue 41. DC has been smart about releasing titles that compliment one another, and this week’s offering of two in-continuity Wonder Woman titles are no different. (Sensation Comics feat. Wonder Woman also released 6/17.) Wonder Woman, like so many other iconic DC heroes, differs from artist to artist. Some times she’s as svelte as a fashion model, other times she’s as physically impressive as a top athlete. (Think of actress Gal Gadot vs. IFBB Pro and American Ninja Warrior Dana Linn Bailey.) At the hands of Doug Mahnke, Superman and Wonder Woman feel positively Greek God status. It works and elevates the world that the DC heroes occupy. It’s what makes the DC titles feel so mythic.
The Peter J. Tomasi penned Superman Wonder Woman revolves mainly around setting up a mystery in Smallville, particularly the disappearance of Lana Lang and John Henry Irons. Kudos to Tomasi for bringing back Lana after her significant arc in Pak’s “Horrorville” story in Action. The buildup to the cliff-hanger conclusion works terrifically well as the story is more grounded than your usual superhero fare. I’ve greatly enjoyed DC’s New 52 focus on Smallville and each artist has given fans a rendition of Clark’s hometown that always feels like a personal homecoming of sorts. In particular, Tomasi compliments Pak’s focus on Clark’s return to Metropolis and of how Clark’s homes are just not the same since Lois outed him, by presenting a changed Smallville in response to him being Superman.
Superman Wonder Woman issue 18 is a solid story and a great set-up to what I could only hope will be as impressive as the previous arc which introduced Magog into The New 52 continuity. With the ending’s revelation that the *SPOILER ALERT* Suicide Squad might be responsible for Lang and Irons’ disappearance, we could certainly expect a big, action scene as drawn by the talented Doug Mahnke that features the stars of the March 2016 and August 2016 films facing off against one another. My money’s on Superman, but that’s only because he has Wonder Woman on his side!
My only gripe is with the bouncing around nature of DC storytelling. We’re aware that Action, Batman Superman, and Superman Wonder Woman take place after this month’s Superman. It would be nice for a change to present a more linear story line that didn’t rely so much on the belief that the reader will pick up an upcoming issue. However, Tomasi’s story isn’t nearly as muddled as some other comic book stories have been and I applaud him and DC for presenting a more straight-forward issue. Superman Wonder Woman issue 18 gets 4 stars.
Superman/Wonder Woman (2013-) #18
Writer: Tomasi, Peter J.
Artist: Mahnke, Doug
Cover Artist: Siqueira, Paulo
On Sale: June 17, 2015
Publisher: DC Comics
Diamond Id: APR150250