Superman/Wonder Woman #12 came out this week, another Doomed Aftermath and the last issue for writer Charles Soule. With both of those endings, the book reads like a 'last issue', a way to once again showcase the Clark/Diana romance and prove that it is valid.
For me, the relationship has been the weakest part of this book. I have enjoyed Soule immensely on She-Hulk and Red Lanterns. But here, it feels like he is trying just a little too hard to make me tolerate this loving relationship. I am sure that much of it is my baggage. I am a Lois/Clark guy. It would take something significant to make me think these two characters should be together. Unfortunately, the romantic interludes in this book have been relatively cringe-worthy. And I have yet to understand why these two are together when they are so wholly different.
Still, Soule gives it a good go here in this issue. The two certainly seem to enjoy each others affections.
Jack Herbert and Cliff Richards split the art on this issue and it is very nicely rendered. There were months were the art of Tony Daniel was the only thing keeping this book on my pull list. But these two do a fine job. And Daniel gives us an excellent cover to wrap up his time on the book. I actually didn't see this was a scrying pool with Strife until I got the book home.
And with the trusted creators Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke coming on, looks like this book will remain on my pull list for now.
The book starts with Wonder Woman fighting Giganta on a soccer field filled with fans. How the heck did that happen? I have to say that it felt a little off for me. It just seemed to further advance the "Diana as Gladiator" persona, as if she had people buy tickets to watch her fight a villain. Remember when Diana was an ambassador of peace?
I suppose it did allow Soule the opportunity to have this kiss put on the jumbotron. This is supposed to show us that Superman is now comfortable enough to have their romance plastered in front of the masses. And Wonder Woman raises one of her feet in the air like a swooning princess.
It still doesn't feel right.
I will admit that I liked the next several pages. Soule recaps the whole series in pictures showing us how much time has elapsed. It starts with the scene from Superman/Wonder Woman #1 where Superman gives Diana an alien flower that likes cooking oil.
But then life happened. So while the couple fights Apollo, Zod and each other that flower mutates into something toothy on Diana's kitchen counter.
If this did anything, it reminded me that there really has been no 'down time' for the power couple. Plus it was interesting to see these scenes replayed with the new artists.
Maybe because there has been no 'down time', plus the fact that Superman has been in deep space for months, the two are very amorous with each other ... hugging, touching, squeezing each other!
In fact, there is a sly rapport here as Superman tells Diana that 'he isn't dead' just as she inserts a key into its hole.
I suppose if you like these two together than it makes sense that they would fall into each others' arms with some passion.
The plant likes oil. And as it has been starving it seeks out crude oil, drinking a gas station and then entering an oil pipeline, drinking straight from the tap.
Who is to blame? Superman for giving a dangerous gift? Wonder Woman for neglecting it?
The two begin to squabble, trying to blame the other.
Luckily, Diana realizes that it doesn't feel right. She knows this isn't them.
Should this make me think their feelings are legitimate?
Diana realizes that this is the work of Strife. Of course Eris wants to stir things up. And Diana isn't going to have it.
I do like that Diana almost immediately figures out what is happening and how to stop it. This is better than seeing the Clark and Diana come to blows again.
While Diana takes care of family business, Superman tries to stop this plant, now big enough to be draped over an oil platform in the ocean.
I haven't read Swamp Thing for any prolonged period of time since Alan Moore. This interaction does make me want to seek out Swamp Thing #20. Superman tells Swampy that they can be human ... as much as they want to be.
As someone who thinks Superman considers himself a man before a Superman, as someone who loves Earth more than Krypton, he would make a good sounding board for the 'not human ... was human ... more than human' Swamp Thing.
Anyone out there read Soule's Swamp Thing? How is it?
Initially Swamp Thing wonders if maybe he shouldn't stop this thing. If it drinks up all the oil, the world might heal a bit. But Diana, as the god of war, let's Swampy know that first there would be war ... and suffering.
Seeing her wisdom, Swamp Thing calms this thing - "Enough my friend." And he uses his abilities to shrink it back into it's simple flower form.
This is an interesting creative choice for Soule. This is his last issue to write these two. He could have had them go out with a bang. But instead he has a guest star solve the problem.
And suddenly the two do have a moment to catch their breath and enjoy a sunset. Superman tells Diana that no matter what their relationship faces, they are ready.
It is a little cliche to have the two looking out at the sun, a feeling of a journey ahead of them, dripping with love. It can't be coincidence that Swamp Thing guest starred here. Because this ending reminded me of this ...
The cover of Alan Moore's last issue of Swamp Thing oh so many years ago. (Man I am old!) In that issue Swamp Thing also returns after being away for months (like Superman) ...
in space (like Superman) ... with Abby thinking he has died (like Diana). And they rekindle their
I have to say that this is as close as Soule has come to me feeling like their might be some real love between these two. They have said it an awful lot in this comic but I haven't *felt* it. At least here he comes close.
But he still didn't get there.
Still, for an epilogue, for a parting issue to show how legitimate this romance is, this was a decent try. But if you want to read what real romance feels like in a last issue, you should seek out Swamp Thing #64. That is a very good read.