Superman/Wonder Woman #22 review

In this great issue!
Lois bitches at Lana. 
Lana punches Lois. 

Superman decks Flash. 

Superman terrifies a prisoner transport team by ambushing them in their chopper. 
Wonder Woman follows up by slapping them with their sword. 

The pair kidnap the Parasite from the chopper. 
Wonder Woman smashes the chained villain in the kisser. 
Superman kicks him in the teeth, tossing him into a tree. 
Superman then punches him again. 

Almost every page of this continuation of the de-powered Superman storyline contains bullying, threats and unjustified attacks. Superman has a problem - he's been outed as Clark Kent and needs to neutralise the danger to his friends. But as with previous chapters through the Superman line, he literally attacks the situation, refusing help because he doesn't trust anyone. 

And that's how things start this time, before he finally does let Wonder Woman and Flash aid him, building anti-Parasite gloves on the JLA satellite - but only after much cheap conflict. Why Flash is aiding him rather than calling a meeting of the full Justice League to court martial Superman, I have no idea. 
And while it's nice that finally he admits Diana is useful, he brings her down to his level with the attack on the transport. There she is, telling the ordinary humans not to fire, when she's the one wrecking their helicopter and sticking a god-forged sword in their faces. 

I hate this issue with a passion. The irony is that it could have left me smiling; it has Superman trying to break up with Wonder Woman. But it turns out he's probably just trying to push her away, like he's sidelined everyone else in his life. And besides, everything else surrounding the moment means only people who don't care for Superman, or Wonder Woman, Lana or Lois could like this ill-conceived story. 

Peter Tomasi writes (still with the silly 'story and words' credit), and he's losing the goodwill his earlier work earned him, though Superman Editorial is likely delighted he's hitting the current angry tone demanded by the line. I'm not impressed by panels such as this. 
Lois won't explain, Lana doesn't want to know, Diana doesn't give a toss either way = unconvincing attitudes there to perpetuate fake conflict. 

It's all so predictable. Superman pummels ahead, looking like he's moving forward, but actually stuck in a months-long holding pattern. Supposed co-star Diana is sidelined, there just to support her man. The only surprise is that she doesn't deck Clark when he says he doesn't love her anymore. Isn't that the default mode of communication in any story featuring Superman these days?

Doug Mahnke pencils, and there's no denying the man knows how to tell a story, drawing the action and emotion of the script with real talent and craft. He seems to relish conveying the oversaturated emotions and stomach-churning violence. Despite the fact we're meant to be rooting for Superman, his work seems in no doubt that Clark Kent is not a good guy right now. 
He acts like a villain, and Mahnke - aided by inkers Jaime Mendoza, Sean Parsons and Johnny Desjardins - renders him as one. 
Mahnke and Tomasi's best moment is the opening page, which sees a calm Superman enjoying the peace of the JL transporter beam... of course, he then attacks the Flash, supposedly a friend, and renders him unconscious. 

We've already seen moments from this issue in the Sneek Peek several months ago, but context doesn't make such things as the Flash assault any more palatable. Superman has accused Lois and Diana of betraying him, but he's the one cold-cocking the Flash. 

It's interesting to compare two pages, in particular, Sneak Peek... 
Then full issue...
A one-word change in the splash panel gives Superman wiggle room so far as the 'does he still love Diana?' business goes. And Diana is less soppy in the actual issue, thank goodness. 
Positives. Cary Nord's yin/yang cover is gorgeous, I especially like the unusual colouring, and John Paul Leon's Monster of the Month variant is a feast for the eyes. 

Don't be like me. Don't buy this book. Send a message to DC that you're not supporting this storyline - be stronger than me. I'm somewhere between pathetic rubbernecker fascinated by the car crash that is current Superman, and the old friend, desperately hoping their self-destructive pal will turn the corner this time. Given solicitations for January are out, and Superman is advertised as getting darker yet, that's not going to happen. So let's just pack it in now. 

Comments

  1. Fortunately I don't buy none of this crap, but I saw the preview and the panels posted here. That's a lot of "shut up", don't you think? LOL, that requires some writing techniques.

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    1. You're better off saving your shekels!

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  2. You and Anj (comicboxcommentary) are not just two of my favorite reviewers, you're thoughtful and measured.

    Nobody could accuse either of you of being reactionary in the slightest. Which brings me to this sad state of affairs. I really really wish DC would listen but I see no indication they will. I'm with you in the rubbernecker stands. This whole thing has become comical. It's hard to even muster the outrage because everybody is acting so crazy. Perry is my barometer. When he went off about being shot in the shoulder and ranting about Clark, I've realized this is indeed the Twilight Zone.

    This issue is continuing our journey in to the abyss.

    Thanks so much for the review. DC comics would do well to really hear what you've said and course correct. I'm not holding my breath.

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    1. It's so sad, my only conclusion is that Superman, Wonder Woman and co have no real boosters at DC right now. The current regime seem able to twist the characters as they see fit, satisfying ... who?

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    2. It's baffling. This issue was surreal. Lois's snide comment to Lana basically out of nowhere. Lana's over reaction and resorting to violence which was not at all warranted by the situation. Superman and Diana behaving more like Bonnie and Clyde than superheroes. What is going on over there?? Who are these people on page? I sure don't recognize them.

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  3. First of all I want to Thank you, Martin for keep reading this crap. it is not an easy task! I read this issue for FREE on internet, because there is no way I will pay for Superman main continuity books anymore, with the exception of Superman: Lois and Clark.

    This issue was the lowest of this series, not even Charles Soule wrote such an amount of nonsense and he did have his low moments as well. this issue brought to tears, since i saw that nasty preview until the moment I read this issue, I read last page and cry for the lost of Superman, for LOIS and for all we fans that are treated like garbage with this Arc.

    Vandal Save was so RIGHT! Superman is dead on New52, Welcome Super and Wonder Bullies! I can't not put to words how much this issue repulsed me. Superman acting like an bully with the soldiers and with Parasite and Wonder Woman just stood there watching an obnoxious Lana punching Lois on her face and doing NOTHING. Only to flew away to support her "man" with more abusive behavior! That's not an example of heroism! That was just vile and total OOC it was so disgusting!

    I don't understand why Lana reacted that way, seriously, I would understand she was angry for Clark but was it necessary to punch Lois? She acted like another bully too, and I am not surprised Tomasi went that direction with her, since in previous issue we had Lana saying she still resents Clark for not helping her parents. Honestly I NEVER liked Lana, but I really thought Pak was doing a good job with her in his first arc in Action Comics, giving her more empathy and making her more likable, only to be back with the old Lana Lang trashed talk Lois when she was recovering from a bullet only to get into Clark's pants!
    And let's not forget WHO stood up for Diana with Clark, when she KILLED Max. it was Lois who talked in favor of Wonder Woman. But seems that Tomasi didn't has same respect for any of this female characters. Frank Miller must be proud!

    NO ONE won on this issue, NO ONE.

    i t is just nauseating the way DC and on this case Peter J. Tomasi keep encouraging a toxic fandom, encouraging toxic behaviors in real world. We don't need to be "Diplomats" to act and behave like DECENT people and good human beings! Superman should be the light, Wonder Woman should talk about peace, but now Superman is just another bully and Wonder Woman is Wonder Submissive! How sad it is!
    This issue reminded me of one of my fave quotes in books:
    "It is our CHOICES that show what we truly are far more than our abilities" - Dumbledore

    And this New52 Superman and Wonder Woman showed everyone who they are on this issue. what a SHAME!

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    1. One thing about this awful issue, I think it puts to rest the notion that DC has a vendetta against Lois - they're treating all their characters with contempt.

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    2. Yeah, but she gets punched, also. :-D

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  4. Thanks for reading this stuff so we don't have to, Mart.
    I'm not sure who all these characters are, but they certainly aren't Superman and Wonder Woman. Glad I no longer get these titles as they slide further into the abyss. Then you take a look at the Batman titles, which have also played with the status quo, but you can still recognize the original characters. Which proves this kind of story telling can be done without alienating so many readers!

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    1. My thoughts around this is Batman hasn't suffered as much because he's a little darker than the rest so he fits in to the direction better. I don't have an issue with a darker and grittier world. However instead of taking these different characters with different personalities and show how, for example, a hopeful Superman lives in this darker cynical world, they've turned the character himself in to a darker cynical person. The same with Diana. They are turning them in to Batman lite characters instead of keeping their core characteristics even though the framework has changed in to something more cynical.

      I think there is a story to tell around that. How do these characters don't walk in the shadows live in this world. The new Superman: Lois and Clark book looks to be where that exploration might happen.

      It's a shame it isn't happening with these characters but instead they are turning them in to caricatures.

      I've said it before but I don't believe the current caretakers understand their own IP. I don't think they understand these characters at all.

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    2. Honestly, one of my (dreaded) hypothesis when all this stuf began was that they meant to depower Clark in order to have him take the mantle of the Bat. It would almost make more sense than this bantha poodoo.

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    3. Sssh, don't give them ideas!

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  5. Good point about Batman. That book benefits from having had one captive team since the start of the New 52, but DC hasn't trusted anyone to guide Superman long-term.

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  6. I do enjoy your "cheery sarcasm" mode. I hope we see it more often. (Although if that means reading more "Truth" that price may be too high.)

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    1. I suppose it makes a change from 'bitter old git'"

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  7. I mentally shredded the digital copy I read. Page one gives a detailed description of how to kill Superman (just don't reassemble his not-so-invulnerable atoms after ripping them apart int he transporter). Superman and Wonder Woman have a conversation in vacuum! Parasite: "What do you want from me?" Superman: *smack!* "Shut up! I want something from you!" Tomasi must be a good typist, because this simply isn't writing.

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  8. It is a shame you can't safely throw a tablet across the room...

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  9. Thanks, and don't worry Martin, this title never stood a chance with me and never will: my rubbernecking car-crash-addict attitude can't go further you great reviews of this... Car crash, yeah.
    OK, nobody really seemed to like this relationship, but, wow, that "I don't love you anymore" scene is bringing super-dickery to a whole new level! Miller's recent debated cover looks like a heartly tribute to the man of steel in comparison.
    Anyway, Clark attitude is completely aligned to his attitude in Action Comics (N52) #1: it seems that the less powerful this Superman is, the more resentful he gets.
    My only hope is they are making us hate this Superman so DC can more easily get rid of him in the next big event and replace him accordingly.

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    1. Oh, wouldn't that be lovely? Bring it on, let's grab a kinder, smarter Superman from some sliver of space.

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    2. ...Like a bearded, middle-aged Superman standing in front of Super-puncher saying "OK, son, this madness ends NOW."

      Nah, going too far, here. :-)

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  10. I bought it yesterday - with the gorgeous Nord cover - and I read it this morning.

    Joyless. Angry. Obdurate. Dumb.

    At least the cover's pretty.

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    1. It is pretty. Boy, I miss Wonder Woman.

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  11. Still, compared to WW's own title this is Shakespeare.

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  12. Reading your review and Anj's, I literally felt revulsion to this. This would be questionable as an Elseworld's or otherwise story, but this is just depressing and sad that this is supposed to be official canon. Everything I grew up loving about these heroes are gone here. There is nothing here that would have made me want to wear a towel as a cape or spin around in a circle to soar through the clouds or stop a bad guy because it would have disturbed me too much. It's probably considered old fashioned but this "Superman" and "Wonder Woman" are the bad guys. These are characters that are closer in characterization to The Punisher or Lobo, or the "extreme" analogues by Image in the 1990's. There is no compassion or reason. Just a troubling rage and sense of immaturity. The characters here also remind me too much of real world "heroes", police and politicians who abuse their power. If this is supposed to be more realistic, then, if I wanted to feel miserable I could turn on the news.

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    1. Amen DC simply doesn't seem to realise what a powerful figure Superman is, how significant he is in the culture as an icon of good. Bit by bit they're eroding that power and his real-life capacity for good, his ability to inspire. It's heartbreaking.

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    2. I keep thinking that it's going to turn out that this Superman has been infected by some space-bug or infested by some demon or some such, in a way similar to how the Powers That Be "resolved" (or backtracked) on the Phoenix/Jean Grey and the Crazy-Murderous-Green-Lantern storylines. In other words, they'll just say it's all a dream.

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    3. I'd take any kind of deus ex machina weak sauce explanation right now. Just end it!

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