Superman/Wonder Woman #9 came out this week, the next chapter in the Superman:Doomed storyline, and the second chapter of the Enemy of the State mini-arc.
Apropos of this title and its focus, this issue concentrates on the Kal/Diana relationship and how this Doomsday affliction is effecting them. Writer Charles Soule does his best here to show that there is some deep love between the two. That there is true affection between them. Part of that is through their actions, Diana completely supportive and protective of Superman. Part of that is through their words - although their romantic dialogue reads a little stiff.
The issue also does its best to move the Doomed story forward, showing Superman's decline and bringing things to a head on Earth. It also answers a nagging question from the first arc of this book. And, for me, most importantly, it brings Supergirl into this story.
I will say that Kara isn't exactly portrayed well here. This is somewhat surprising given how Soule has written her in Red Lanterns. She has shined there.
Finally, I have to again comment about Tony Daniel's art on this book, the biggest draw for me here. He really draws a fantastic Diana. I would love to see him on the Wonder Woman solo book. (If only he would get rid of the high heels on the boots!)
The book also had a nice Bombshell cover, drawn by Emanuela Lupacchino. These are supposed to look like 40's pop art and pin-ups. I like the propaganda feel to this cover, similar to WW2 posters.
With a Kryptonite cloud looming overhead (supposedly safe for humans), the Doomsday part of Superman has grown in power and is close to taking control.
I think it is interesting that we see this conflict within Superman's mind as a battle of wills between Clark and Superdoom. Is this a disease? Or a possession? Is this just a visual representation of the voice in his head?
I like how Clark is the 'good half', not a clean looking Superman. Clark is the default personality, not Superman. And I like his sentiment. There is always a way.
With Superdoom screaming and angry, Diana arrives with Hessia. Diana asks her physician friend to try to help heal Superman from this affliction. I think this is a good idea and a nice touch. It makes sense that Diana would turn to her friend to use her skills to help. (I guess there is no purple ray in the New 52?)
To help her survive the Doomsday death field, Hessia dons her armor. I like the caduceus spear, the perfect weapon for a doctor I suppose.
When I first saw this armor, it reminded me somewhat of Genocide, the supervillain from Gail Simone's Wonder Woman run. The tossled red helm, the yellow energy crescents looking like the embedded lasso - maybe I am the only one who saw that?
Ironically, Hessia heads to Superman not to heal but to kill. She immediately engages him in battle. This isn't what Diana wanted but Hessia explains her thoughts.
She tells Diana that she is triaging the situation. Physicians need to prioritize care. In this instance, if you need to save the world full of patients, you need to eradicate the disease of Superdoom. It is an interesting take and slanted look at triage.
Is this a betrayal of Diana by Hessia? She went to Superman under a pretense of care.
What I did like was how strongly Diana defends Superman, telling Hessia that he can defeat Doomsday with help.
But Hessia isn't hearing it. She knows that Superman is a threat.
And to prove it, she puts Clark to the test ... by revealing that she is the one who sent the pictures of Kal and Diana to Cat Grant. Finally, that mystery is solved. I actually also think this makes sense for Hessia given her friendship with Diana. She heard Diana bemoan the fact that Kal was hiding their relationship. She heard Diana wonder why Clark always hides his life. As a friend, she forced the issue ... for Diana.
Unfortunately, it takes Clark by surprise. He wasn't happy about the secret relationship coming out. And that manifests itself as anger. Doomsday takes over and thrashes Hessia.
It forces Diana into action. She can't let Superman kill Hessia. But she also believes in him. She believes he can take control. He can prove Hessia wrong. And Diana believing in him, trusting him, has to make Clark fight harder.
This was a great page with a nice panel of Diana flying into action. We see here hogtie him here and bring him into space, away from the Kryptonite cloud. It is these action shots of Diana by Daniel that are the highlights of every issue.
And away from the K-energy, Clark wrestles control again. He finally ... finally ... realizes he needs to leave Earth.
But first, before he exiles himself, there has to be some stilted dialogue from the two lovers. Clark says he will come back to show Diana all his dance moves. Diana knows her darling will beat this and return.
It is a goodbye speech without being a goodbye speech. There is hope here ... but it reads like they realize that there may be no hope.
But ... I don't know ... it just read a little stiff. Part of that might be because I just haven't understood why these two would be together. And there is something weird about Diana saying 'darling'.
At least Clark realizes he needs to leave. That's good right?
It would be if the Red Lanterns didn't show up and stop him. They blast him with all their power, halting his flight, and enraging him.
There is Kara telling the Lanterns they need to stop Kal.
Unfortunately, her first thought is to attack Kal ... not help him. You would think she would want to learn more about what was happening to see if she could do anything about it. And calling him Kal-El seems overly formal. Why add the last name?
In Red Lanterns, Kara has tried to help Bleez, the Judge, the world of Primeen. Here, she attacks her cousin. It felt like a half-step back for Supergirl. She has progressed nicely recently. This felt like the 'old' Supergirl.
The attack makes Superman lose control. Suddenly he is Superdoom again and he throttles the whole Lantern team.
What is more crazy is Supergirl's response. She yells out for Superman to stop, wondering why he is attacking.
Ummm .... you just had the whole team blast him Kara. What did you think his response would be?
This felt like another half-step back.
Does that mean she took a whole step back?
Again, it is odd given that Soule has treated Kara great in Red Lanterns.
She asks Guy what he is doing. I love Guy's response. He has to protect Earth. But he also knows that Superman is the best person amongst them. It further cements a running theme through this arc - the response of other heroes when seeing Superman suffer. They all, so far, clearly look up to him.
But Diana has to ask Guy who he is. I am so confused about current DC continuity. Guy was a Green Lantern in Blackest Night and Diana doesn't know who he is?? This makes no sense.
With the Reds on Earth, Clark regains control and flies into space.
So, what to think of this issue which had some ups and downs.
I like the fierceness of Hessia, her conflicted decisions as a warrior and a healer. And I do like the reveal that she gave Cat the info.
I didn't like Kara's brief interaction with her cousin. I was hoping she would be more supportive and caring.
The romantic dialogue felt a bit off when Diana says goodbye to Clark. But I love how much she believes in him and defends him tirelessly.
And, as usual, the art is just beautiful. Nice panel contruction. Diana looks fabulous and strong. Tony Daniel is just putting out incredible work.
Overall grade: B/B-