"We are each other's shelter from the storm."

One day I walked into a library and my eyes fell on a book called Kingdom Come. I picked it up and to my surprise it was a comic book...or rather as I later learned, a graphic novel. But I saw beautifully painted panels and heroes that I recognized from my childhood who seemed ...well, grown up. I borrowed that book and I was moved and fascinated by, not only the story of men and women who are great heroes, but by they way they showed their humanity. They suddenly were not two dimensional people who just fought bad guys. They were deeply complex. I love books and reading on the whole and I guess getting into the comic genre as an adult woman was a case of serendipity. It led me to finding DC comics and the heroes I grew up with on TV and saw in movies and newsprint. It led me to finding Clark Kent or as he is known by his other name, Kal-El, and Princess Diana. I fell in love with them and am obsessed with all things Amazonian and Kryptonian now. I love their relationship. I love what they stand for. I love the contrasts of the princess/farmer's son; reporter/ambassador; pragmatic warrior/idealistic protector and empathetic teacher/enforcer of justice. A girl born of the earth and a boy who fell from the sky. The first daughter of Themyscira and last son of Krypton. And it surprised me to find that there were many fans like me, who adore them too.

DC rebooted their universe in 2011 and my favorite pairing is now canon!!! Yay.

Disclaimer : Superman and Wonder Woman are the property of DC comics.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Superman/Wonder Woman #8

This issue follows Superman :Doomed #1 and it's really a good one. Diana finds Clark after he has been infected by the Doomsday virus and she has to deal with a Clark who is not himself to put things mildly. We see here why Soule gets Diana so well. Daniel's art kicks ass too. 5 out of 5 stars.

Superman/Wonder Woman #7

I really fell behind in reviews so not going to really do anything lengthy. Just going to put up my favorite panels. This issue deals with the fallout of the nuclear blast from #6 and introduces a new threat. It also has some really lovely Clark/Diana moments. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Superman/Wonder Woman #6 Review

Wow, what an issue. You'll realize that since #1 Soule has been weaving a tapestry and all these threads he's been playing with has finally come together in a quite epic way. Nothing he has written before has been random. It just all suddenly fits. And ends with a bang and silence. Literally. And in the most bitter-sweet way.

Zod and Faora  has retrieved a phantom lens from a government  because they want to open the gateway to the Phantom Zone. While they do this Clark and Diana are dealing with the aftermath of their battle with the Kryptonian pair. Clark is a little concerned that his worry for Diana might affect the way he does his heroics. Even though he knows she can take care for herself, he is finding himself wanting to protect her. More than fighting the foe. Well, Clark, that's just another lesson to be learnt here. That's how it is when you are in a relationship. Diana surprisingly assures him that she does not believe being with him compromises her ability to do what she has to do as a hero. It seems she's answering her own question again from the last issues. "We are each other's shelter from the storm."

The pair then go visit Hephaestus to get help. Hephaestus gives them a little warning but Clark is not too worried. The smith is going to give them something to counter the super senses of Zod/ Faora.

Our pair are then able to sneak up undetected on Zod and Faora who are planning to let out an invading army to conquer the earth. Guess what they used? The invisible jet! And it has been updated. It seems it is what Hephaestus used as a "chariot" to travel the godly realms undetected. So another classic Wonder Woman component has been utilized by Soule in a cool way. Clark and Diana also are wearing this very organic looking armor when they face Zod and Faora. They launch into battle. And it's pretty brutal. Eventually Clark and Diana decide to use another tactic and it .has a lot to do with the armor they are wearing.

The armor apparently absorbs all the blows Clark and Diana took and then expels all the energy at once at Zod and Faora. This would seem to decide the battle but another player suddenly shows up. Egged on by another. Apollo and Strife. Apollo knows how to hold a grudge and Strife knows how to fan the flames. Apollo powers up the Kryptonians and seems he was the reason that Zod and Faora had mastered their powers so quickly. He was secretly powering them up.

This sudden surge in power means the battle swings. Zod and Faora brutally beats Superman and Wonder Woman until they can't move. Time however is of the essence and the window to the Phantom Zone will be missed. They dump the two heroes in an abandoned nuclear reactor. Thus battle takes place on an isolated island in the South Pacific by the way, so there are no humans around. The reactor is lead lined and the solar shielded. Clark cannot be healed quickly and there is radiation, so Diana will be slowly poisoned.

Clark and Diana are barely able to speak or move but they know they can't let Zod and Faora lead the alien armies onto earth. These next few pages basically is towards the end of the issue.

Diana's sword can split an atom. Clark can see atoms. This is the only way left to them to stop Zod and Faora. Then we have a significant moment in comics. Superman confesses his love for Wonder Woman. Diana knows.

Yeah that's a mushroom cloud. That's the bang I meant.

And this is the silence.

Never in my time reading comics have I ever choked up. Ever.  Here I did. With what could be his last act, Clark/Kal-El wraps his indestructible cape around the woman he loves.

5 out of 5 stars.

Bravo Soule and Daniel.

Superman/Wonder Woman #5 Review

This issue opens up with Diana on Themyscira and I have to say Tony S Daniel draws the most beautiful Diana in the new 52. Sorry Cliff Chiang. This Diana is regal, powerful and sexy. She has curves etc and to me that is embracing her femaleness. I get people complain about cheesecake but then you have the other extreme where all the sexuality of a woman is taken away to try to satisfy the uber feminists.  You don't have to draw someone with their chest flattened or their hips square and shoulder broad to show they are strong women.

Themysicra finally looks like a beautiful tropical island. The sky is blue and the sea sparkles and the vegetation is  lush and green. I finally can see the beauty that surrounded Diana as a child since the new 52. The island in other books look lackluster. Diana is struggling a little with her feelings. Not that she is not sure of them. But she is wrestling with the vulnerability it brings. She calls it weakness because of the Amazon upbringing. It is a man, and one who does not always think the way she does. It's a beautifully rendered scene with her and Hippolyta. I love how as she walks away, Hippolyta's hand is reaching as if to stop her.

Meanwhile, Clark and Zod are in battle while he rescues Faora from the Phantom Zone. Faora is understandably disorientated and  needs some time to recover. She manages to do it quickly. Diana also deals with a big monster escaped from Tatarus and uses her lasso to lock it behind Dooms Doorway. Yes! Charles Soule has brought back Dooms Doorway. He has given the new 52 Amazons a noble task of protecting the world from hell. It is very important because it shows that they are not just xenophobic savages. Diana we see also talked to her sisters as snakes. I always loved her animal empathy. I am hoping this is a sign of it.

Then we have both Faora and Zod double team Superman. They make it a point that he is strong but not trained. And they are kicking his ass. Diana is contacted by Cyborg eventually and told that the two Kryptoians are engaging Superman.  Instantly she responds. Charles Soule is clever showing us the answer to Diana's question here re; why should she worry for any man. Even Superman. Because when you are in love with someone, you just do. It's that simple.

And boy, when she arrives does she make it clear why. HE IS MINE.

She is such a badass in this issue. Clark even defers to her in terms of their strategy to deal with the Kryptonians because he recognizes her warrior training. But Zod is a soldier too and he deals with the situation strategically, while dislocating Clark's shoulder.He makes a deal with Diana.

Super issue. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Superman/Wonder Woman #4 Review

This issue is divided into two. The first explores Clark and Diana's reaction to the world knowing they are in a relationship and Clark dealing with Zod.

Again Soule shows the contrast between Clark and Diana. Clark is still not ready to deal with the invasion to their privacy while Diana is more pragmatic.

There is a great explanation why Clark needs to be Clark Kent and why he likes being a writer. Contrasting with that is Diana pov of just embracing who she is. She sees no reason to hide from the truth or hide from others. I think this is a great scene because when Diana asks herself in the narration, who was right, him or her? It shows that both are not wrong. It's just who they are right now and that their is room for growth and compromise. After all Clark can't hide behind glasses forever and Diana can't understand/empathize with  human weakness/insecurities unless she really tries to walk in our shoes a little. There is also some suggestion in this scene that they might have been intimate. I'd have preferred something more concrete. Simply allowing Clark to be shirtless would have done the trick. As it is, it felt one sided with Diana alone putting on, while Clark is dressed. Maybe they just hung out in Diana's apartment. If they are sleeping together, for goodness sakes they are young, healthy adults. No need to be coy about it.

Zod has gotten out of the containment cell Clark put him in and attempts unsuccessfully to fiddle with the security systems at the Fortress. How he's out we are not too sure, but he does not allow Clark to know he can come and go from the cell. Clark goes to check on Zod and they talk . Zod is really quite sly, trying to milk info from Clark.  In the end he fools Clark intro bringing the Phantom Zone lens and then he stuns Clark by coming out of his cell. Turns out it is not a cell but a shipment container and only needed a Kryptonian password to activate it. A result of Clark knowing little about his own heritage. Zod attacks by letting out all the exotic creatures out of their cells to attack Clark. He uses the lens to break Faora out of the Phantom Zone.

The second half shows world reaction to their relationship and it's pretty hilarious. From Hal Jordan's to Batman's to Lex Luthor. Clark also goes check out Cat to find more about how she got this story etc. We meet Cat's boyfriend. Aaron Lord. Any relationship to Max Lord? Cat's pretty happy obviously and tries to get Clark to not look at a gifted horse in the mouth. Diana, meanwhile, works off some stress with Hessia and decides she need s break. She decides to pay a visit to Themyscira.

This issue moves the story along but it does feel like too short a read because of the divide in the stories. But it has humor and action and beautiful art. One thing this comic is doing is fleshing out Diana as a young woman in a holistic way. In her own title she lacks sparkle and here we are seeing that. The moment where she talks to the children is a very superhero like moment we don't really get to see in her own book.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Superman/Wonder Woman #3 Review

Cat Grant receives a flash drive in the mail and it contains one of the biggest scoops of the century.  Meanwhile, Clark is dealing with the after effects of the sun blast he received from Apollo in the last issue and it's interesting to see how it affects him physically and how he deals with it. Clark knows Diana is capable of looking after herself but the thought of her being hurt or even losing her seems to have shaken him and he's trying to deal with everything himself. Bruce tells him that if he is in a relationship then he's going to have to accept that means her problems become his and vice versa.

Diana herself is having a problem we have not seen her deal with in the new 52. A very relateable one. We can recall the time we had to buy something for a new partner and it is a big deal if you like the person a lot. If you're an Amazon adapting to our social conventions and culture, it can be a challenge as well. She knows he would not really care if she did not get him something but she wants to because she knows he grew up observing the holidays. Hessia is the wise big sister, a contrast to Bruce's big brother,  and gives her some solid advice.

We switch to the North African desert where we see Zod. He is at first disorientated and  violent. Eventually he manages to regain some control and we see him dealing with the abilities Kryptonians get when they come to a planet powered by a yellow sun. The JLA, lead by Diana's ex boyfriend, Steve Trevor, appears because Zod's appearance has triggered off an alert of an inter-dimensional threat. Zod and the JLA have a confrontation. Zod comes out on top. It takes Wonder Woman and Superman to intervene. Steve Trevor shows he is still bitter and smitten over Diana. Zod seems to switch moods very quickly.

Clark and Diana take Zod to the fortress.  Clark settles him in a containment cell and Zod is being very civil. A sure sign to the reader he'll be up to no good. Meanwhile Diana decides to give Clark his Christmas gift.

What would have been a perfect gift ( look at Clark's face; he is so surprised and quite pleased) is then ruined.

Another solid issue. It moves the plot along and decides to bring some more trouble for our couple with their relationship revealed. As if Doomsday and Zod weren't enough. Funny how DC never did this with Lois and Superman. They always got off scott free and no writer ever challenged that secret in any meaningful way in terms of what it means to them (as people, reporters, etc) and how the world would respond to it and them. But we are getting this now in this newly budding relationship. One wonders if DC wants to thrown everything at them to break them up sooner than later or are they going to show them deal with it and cope as a couple. In a world where there is this fascination with celebrity,  it is a valid and interesting take.

I give this 4.5 out of 5.

Superman/Wonder Woman #2 Review

Diana is locked in a brutal battle with Doomsday. She takes a hell of a lot of  punishment showing us how powerful new 52 Doomsday is but this does not cow Diana. She refuses to go down even though her arms are broken. Clark, meanwhile, is trying to save a ship in danger of sinking and as he does Doomsday simply disappears. Diana gets a reprieve.

Clark is worried about Diana and  offers to take her to get medical attention but she declines citing her divine blood will soon enough help her heal. I think we also see that Amazon part of her that does not indulge in her self and keeping any vulnerability under wraps. She asks Clark about the creature and describes it for him. Clark's reaction concerns her. She's never seen him look so worried. He explains who and what Doomsday is. Diana reassures him, in one of the best exchanges between them in the new 52, showing how much she understands the nature of the man  and hero. She also shows why she is so wonderful because she tells him she will stand with him. Even after being beaten by something so powerful that she never experienced before she remains 100 % supportive and unafraid.  I really hope Clark can see what he has here.

Diana takes Clark to visit her brother Hephaestus' forge in Mount Etna. The plan is to go try to convince the Smith of the Gods to create armor for Superman when he has to face Doomsday. But we also get to see a fun interlude of  the boyfriend meeting his girlfriend's family.

Now these are Gods and recall Clark, while having the power of a God, does not see himself this way. So this is  the son of a farmer who is an alien/outsider, meeting the powerful and  privileged. He first takes on Hephaestus, the protective big brother.

Hephaestus is grudgingly satisfied Superman might be alright. But then we have the arrogant Apollo and the spiteful Strife join them. Apollo looks down at Superman calling him a thing and disrespects Diana. Clark is not amused. While he stays quiet during the insults tossed at him he simply cannot remain silent when Apollo calls Diana derogatory names.

I grinned in appreciation. This scene was awesome. Clark is in character. Respectful when he needs to be but when the occasion arises, he shows he'll kick your ass. We also see intelligence when he speaks to Apollo in the way he articulates. He displays the kind of chivalrous nature that you would find in men brought up to respect women and what you'd expect from the son of the Kents. Diana shows she can be like any other woman. Her able to look after herself has little to do with the scenario. She can appreciate her guy standing up for her. And that he stand up to cruel Gods? Yeah, I'd fan girl  like Strife too. Strife you could see enjoyed all the mayhem as well. Mayhem happening when she is around can't be a coincidence either.

The title ends with a familiar foe showing up. Prepare to kneel.

This book does a great job tying in Wonder Woman to the DCU. Her book is very insular so at times it felt like Diana existed in a world devoid of heroes and no need to wear that Wonder Woman uniform. This series is already showing that the Gods can exist in a world where an alien can exist and the meeting can be one that can be very entertaining. It promises to have great potential future storylines. Apollo as a real threat to Superman for example. And the foe at the end? Yeah the story is going to be big.

I give this one 5 out of 5.