Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #2 review

The big problem I've had with the Superman/Wonder Woman romance is that I just didn't believe it. They seemed to have nothing in common other than their role as superhero. Now, just as they've broken up in their regular book, we get an extra-length look back at moments in their relationship. 

The framing sequence has Superman at the old Kent homestead, in the present day, looking at pictures of his parents in their younger years. 
Cue scenes from his recently ended romance with Diana: early on, they're in Washington DC, taking a breather after a team-up, before Superman visits the Kents graves to tell 'them' he's made a big decision. 

Then we're in Atlantis for dinner with long-established couple Aquaman and Mera. After the meal, Arthur and Clark talk JLA battles while Mera and Diana go for a swim around the city. Diana tells Mera how difficult it is for her and Clark to be together, but Mera isn't having it - if you choose to be together, you make it work. 
Next, Diana takes the lead as the latest in a long-line of cretinous relatives tries to make a name for themselves. Afterwards, Clark is upset that Diana has accepted the mantle of war god, how can she reconcile it with her role as a fighter for peace? 

Further down the line, Clark has used his new solar flare power and so is spending a day as a regular person. Diana is called away to save lives and insists he remains behind, quite reasonably pointing out that accompanying her would be too dangerous for him. Clark, though, thinks he's Batman, as capable a hero without powers as with. The sequence closes with a montage of recent scenes showing that, with everything from the Atlantis War to Super-Doomsday to the loss of Superman's secret ID, there's not been a moment's peace. 

There's never been time, as we learn on the final page - a continuation of the opening sequence - for Superman to get out the ring he's been carrying around and ask Diana to marry him. 

OK, no surprise there, it's been obvious from a few pages in that he wanted to propose. And given how early in the relationship his visit to the Kents' graves comes, the very idea makes Superman seem incredibly impulsive, awesomely stupid, or both. I just don't credit it, even though Peter Tomasi does write some nice dialogue for Diana and Clark in the Washington flashback. And Marco Santucci and Michel Lacombe give us some beautiful art, enhanced by the colours of Beth Sotelo, helping to sell the idea that the pair are having fun together. And they nail the sadness Superman feels at the end of the affair. 

Keith Champagne writes and ChrisCross draws the fabulous Atlantis sequence. Mera's straightforward wisdom is a nice contrast to Diana's wishy washy worries about even telling their fellow heroes she's dating Superman. Leonardo Olea is a colourist I've not come across previously, but if the Aquaman editor has any sense, he'll be on the phone to Olea right now. 

K Perkins, who co-wrote the last several issues of Supergirl so classily with Mike Johnson, looks after the battle with disposable demigod Dichara and its aftermath. The sharp scripting - with the discussion about Diana's new war god status especially fascinating - demonstrates that DC should re-sign her to a regular book. 
And ignore Diana's ugly-ass arse in that first panel, Ken Lashley's art throughout the sequence is generally first class; the characters are good looking, the action dynamic, the emotions compelling. The colourist is Pete Pantazis, and his work is as effective and attractive as always. 
There's more intense discussion as Sholly Fisch writes, and Matthew Clark pencils, Clark and Diana's doomed date night. Fisch, usually seen on DC's superb Scooby-Doo Team-Up, shows how well he plays in the regular superhero universe, delivering pitch perfect characterisation as Clark's ego hobbles his thing with Diana. 
Sadly, as the mood darkens on Diana's return from battle, Clark's work with inker Sean Parsons goes way overboard on the shadows. Colourist Jessica Kholinne, though, impresses hugely with her mastery of blue tones. (Oh, and I seriously want to see the creative team give us the whole of the JLA and Deadman's team-up against the Galactic Golem, shown as a throwaway flashback but looking epic.)
Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn provide an attractive cover - I'd love to see what they could do if allowed to use the heroes' classic costumes. (And while uncredited, Paquette produced the issue's layouts - check out his Twitter feed for a page deemed 'too sexy' for the issue @YanickPaquette.)

Altogether, this is a great-looking, great-reading look at why the Diana/Clark relationship was doomed from the off. If the book is a coda to a story that's over and done with, fantastic. If it's a precursor to a rekindling of the relationship, well, it's still a darn good superhero comic. 


  1. Good review!
    Honestly the only good thing about this besides the art was the end of this nightmare! Well at least I hope it is the end. this issue felt to me but another rush moment to make this couple somehow believable....but too little too late. If anything this has been a slowly death of a relationship that never felt real, never felt two people who were IN LOVE with each other and now out of nowhere we are to believe that Clark wanted to propose to her? Seems to me another final pandering to fans of that relationship. BTW, using Martha's wedding ring was a bad move, Clark used same ring to propose to Lois 20 years ago! That was very low!
    As for the deleted sex panels, totally gross, and don't think it's because I am prude, actually I would like to see more sexy panels but with the right partners involved, everything about this couple was forced and doomed from the very beginning. They have stolen little bylittle CLOIS moments from the Pre'FlashPoint Universe and gave them to this couple, it was unimaginative and cruel. They erased Clois marriage for what? To explore the possibility of Superman married to Diana? If anything Clark came out as desperate and very impulsive thinking about getting married to a person who clearly does not understand him and who he doesn't seem to understand either. I just hope DC finally has learned something from this huge mistake and bring back the real romantic couple in Superman's myth: Lois and Clark.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, but did you not like a single moment in the script? I know the very basis of the book isn't for you - me neither - but was there not one line of dialogue that made you smile, a moment of action that resonated? I don't know about nicking 'Clois' moments, there are only so many things a couple can be shown doing when having a comic book relationship. For example, the ring - I'm all for today's Superman being recognisable as the character with whom I grew up, and for decades that's been a farmboy in a blue suit, so I can't complain if 2015 Clark wants to use his mother's engagement ring in the same way Nineties Clark did (I don't recall the engagement issue, did still-alive Martha not want her ring any more?).

      And even if there are repeats, it's not like Superman and Lois used to go out on superhero team-ups, so there is unique stuff.

      I may be too Catholic, I don't actually like seein 'sexy moments' such as Diana and Clark jumping into bed after a mission. I'm not against pre-marital sex at all, but it underlines that all they really have going for them is post-adrenaline horniness.

    2. I stopped reading when she said CLOIS. lol. Disagree. Clark and Lois is overwhelming and done. If they go back to that BS a lot of fans will be pissed. WE have already seen a Clark and Lois duo... there is a reason the new Lois and Clark comic is suffering in sales lol... Superman And Wonder Woman need good writers...and exactly how much did you read this? Because the first 8 issues are great! The comic lost its identity in SUPERDOOM story arc...other than that the two fit perfectly.

    3. I'll agree that the pair could use better writers, but issues 1-8 were tolerable at best. As for suffering in sales, Superman/Wonder Woman is hardly a runaway success. It's bringing up the rear at #89. Glass houses and stones, man.

    4. Anonymous: SMWW is the worst seller among the Superman books, and the book is an ongoing. Lois & Clark is a minseries that beated SMWW with first issue. True, sells has not improved in second book but it has more to do about the book being 8 issues than lack of good story and writers. Truth is SMWW is hiting 30k in sales numbers and books has 2 members of the Trinity in a "relationship" and it is doing poorly. Bottom line all Superman books have a problem selling right now. And sorry to disappoint you but majority of fans want Superman & Lois back.

    5. my position on the romance is that it lessens both Diana and Clark's books by bringing them together - each character has their own world, their own supporting characters. And chief among them are Steve and Lois, who are terribly sidelined at the moment. I dislike the idea that the alpha male and female will automatically be attracted to one another, I reckon Alan Moore got it right in For The Man Who Has Everything when he had Superman ask Wonder Woman why they don't kiss more often. 'Too predictable'.

      And it is, they have nothing much in common bar superheroics; this series has shown us that they don't really work as a couple, no matter how much they try to convince themselves otherwise.

      Still, while this book is around, it's not a bad thing that some people are enjoying it.

    6. I agree Martin, since the beginning of this couple stories have not helped to understand WHY this 2 see in each other, other than a physical attraction. 2 of the most powerful beings in the universe forced to be together by loneliness.

      Honestly I was rooting for this annual to finally give people who love them together and the ones who dislike them together REASONS, explanation why they decided to be together other than the shallow "do you feel lonely?". Main reason I didn't like any of the stories on this annual is that none of them helped to clarify that. The first one by Tomasi felt stupid and rushed, Clark came from kissing her to an intimate scene that flat out was 2 horny people going at it after adrenaline fight to Clark considering proposing? Second story: Clark finding out a really important thing about Diana becoming the GOW a thing that she was supposed to tell him and she didn't because she was afraid to losing him, seriously? She again is written like a codependent partner who hide important things for her lover because she is afraid of losing him, where is her confidence in him, in what they were building as a couple, she told Mera one the things she "loved" about Clark was his kindness, where does that go when deciding to hide her new status in Olympus from him, did she truly think Clark wouldn't understand her reasons? Whats would have been a heart to heart talk, was nothing but Diana avoiding communication in order to keep sleeping with Superman? And the third one, another missed chance to talk like two people in a 3 year relationship who knows and respect each other, sadly it wasn't the case. Diana again deflecting the big elephant int he room, true she has no reason to apologize to Clark but she did made a decision for him that she shouldn't have. That reminded me her time with Steve, when she dumped him for the third time, she decided what was best for him, she took a decision for both of them without talking with him, I see a pattern here with this Nu52 Wonder Woman and it is hardly likable.

      I REALLY hope this is the end of them as a couple and DC finally get the hint that this experiment failed and it is time to get off this train wreck and start giving both characters what they deserve. Give them their personalities and true myths back. It is depressing that the only thing standing in their own happiness are themselves. As someone said in one of the comments before step aside Clark and let Steve take his reightful place in WW life and same goes for Diana, go back to Paradise Island and start making amends with the amazons and let Clark find out his true love: Lois!

      Clark and Lois 4ever
      Steve and Diana 4ever

  2. Strange that that "sexy" panel was cut given that Superman and Lois Lane have had far steamier stuff both in print and in live-action. Even on TV, it was made known that DC had final approval over just about everything with Clark's sex life. In fact, they had sex in the shower in a fairly similar panel only last year in the Smallville comic book. Perhaps someone at DC wisely realized that while it's fine/healthy to show Wonder Woman as a sexual being, there is a crassness to essentially only allowing her to be "sexual" when it's with Superman. (As sadly seems to be the case these days. When was the last time she was allowed any true sexuality/marriage/motherhood with anyone else? :(). It's a way of keeping her firmly as a straight male fantasy prize--only sexually available for the only man in the world who actually matches her physical strength. The exploitation element in place with Wonder Woman--and the kind of gross behavior it seems to inspire in many--makes It really unappealing. So I'm glad the panel was cut. It's not in good taste and has totally different connotations, to me, then a fun and sexy scene with Lois and Clark.

    Unfortunately, I didn't like this book nearly as much as you did. I read it start to finish and while I agree that it showed many reasons why they don't work as a couple...I just thought it was a boring rrainwreck. Wonder Woman and Mera share page time and they spend the whole time talking about how much Diana is in awe of Clark? Ick. There are so many better uses of that team-up. Total Bechdel failure. I agree that Kate Perkins is a great talent and deserves her own book. Sadly, I really didn't like her story either. But I don't think that was her fault. She can only do so much with this couple. Would love to see her with better material to work with!

    Lastly, it sort of seemed like Clark was going to propose (and I agree it made him look really stupid) with the family ring from the farm ....the same one he gave Lois 25 years ago. That felt like kind of an un-necessary slap. Also very strange to compare this Clark to the one happily married to Lois in Dan Jurgens book. This Clark is such an unlikeable little punk compared to that man. I'm happy that the comics seem to be slowly trying to break down this relationship but it's going out with a whimper, that's for sure. I'm not sure what I was expecting? But I think I expected better than this. I gave it a shot this month but I think I'll be going back to not purchasing any in-continuity Superman books. The Superman annual put me to sleep as well. Oh well, I gave it a shot today!


    1. Well, you tried!

      I did love that Mera scene. I don't think every story featuring women has to pass the Bechdel Test - in the context of Diana and Mera having their first conversation alone since Diana started seeing Clark, the scene rings true... of course they'd be talking about it. And I bet, back in the dining room, Arthur and Clark - after about ten seconds of Darkseid chat - were discussing the same thing.

      Last year's Aquaman Annual featured a Mera/Diana team-up in which they did anything but talk about men, so it's not like that's all these heroines do.

  3. For heaven's sake, we get it. Superman and Lois used to have lots of sex as well back in the days.

    As for the couple being right for each other, to me, this book is telling us that, although they're 2 demigods in love, they're still dealing with issues that normal humans have which can be seen as: getting a promotion, losing a job, a man excited to have found love, a woman afraid of how much she digs this guy, a guy wondering if he could ever follow in his parents footsteps, etc.

    This book is about a rough patch, and not a final break up.

    1. Hmm, you could be right; certainly the book looks to be continuing, so unless it's going to focus on a post-break-up partnership, which would be tiresome, the romance will be continuing. Oh well, if nothing else, this issue showed Suoerman was thinking of proposing far too early - if it was right, he'd have found a right time.

      I don't believe Clark and Superman will marry in thus continuity, things will play out and the Lois relationship will be restored. I'm looking forward to that, but meanwhile, I can live with this series. Well, except at the moment, I've dropped it due to the vileness of the Parasite sequence

    2. You're on point Anonymous #3. I agree.

  4. I think the last story resonated a little with me. The first 2 just empathized why I never bought them as a legit couple. As I said I think the whole book was rushed maybe another editorial's mandate due to lack of sells with this arc, not sure. I think the book. Ould have sold better it is has been a team up book not a "romance" which failed miserably to felt like one. Since the start they slowly has been stealing Clois momemts from Smallville book to other Pre New52 stories. Starting witn thatvJL12 even Jim Lee afmitted to copy it from Superman for Tomorrow by Azzarello so that's it.
    Trust me I don't need to see thrm bedfing, for me is like insest. And furthermore it ferls like they are doing just to please a small percentage of the fandom who likes them as a couple. I am all for sexy scenes but NOT between them. Why is WW only allowed to have sex with only Superman? Or be a mother with only him as it is happening in DKIII blasphe,y? As you said the sexy panels underlies as lust and nothingbabput love. DC gave Clark somene to bamg and sidelined the one who was crrated to LOVE him. That's sad for the three of them and for us fans, we deserve better things.
    Happy New Year by the way! May we have better stories in 2016

    1. In regards to your "small percentage" comment, I read an analysis somewhere from a poster on the web that made sense especially when considering an action/adventure type of comic. The fandom can be classified as: A larger Group who reads a comic regardless of who's romantically involved, and a smaller Group who refuses to do so because it doesn't pair the character(s) with whom they feel he or she should be with. Now the smaller Group is further divided into the various shipping groups (i.e. Diana or Lois).

      The conclusion was that the now even smaller Groups make more noise than the larger one because the latter only wants to read a comic about their favorite character(s). The point the poster was trying to make was that making more noise gives a false sense of majority.

    2. Hi Heather, seems I'm in a group that buys because they like versions of the characters, and desperately want to read good stories about them. I can't believe there aren't writers out there who can write a good story with Diand and Clark as a couple, before restoring the classic set-up - it's just not happened yet.

  5. Part of the stiffness(no pun intended) in this issue, is that Wonder Woman and Superman never felt like a true couple. Steve Trevor is still after Wonder Woman (JL #47) and his moment resonates more genuine passion and love, than these two ever did. Step aside, Clark, and let true love take its course.

    Steve and Diana, Forever!

    1. Yeah, when Steve is written as the fun, heroic character he was created to be, he's worthy of any version of Wonder Woman.

  6. The annual was a good read. Hopefully the break up is temporary because there's so much more that can be done with this couple. I'm enjoying reading about Clark and Diana more and more.

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  8. I read this today and considering how poorly the pairing has been written thus far I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It hit all the right beats about them trying to be a couple, having fun, and (ultimately) how they don't mesh romantically. Which has always seemed to be DC's plan, it was just never done well and forced.

    The two misfires for me are the proposal (too early, too immature - even for Superfratboy) and the Perkins chapter. That didn't work for me at all, and also had the weakest (though not bad) art. Of course, the sloppy "Pakistanian" bit was the icing on the cake.

    It's funny how some of their later problems stem from the warped characterizations of their post-Flashpoint personalities, more on Superbro's part than Wonder Betterthanhumans, but these extremes were softened here. I could read a series with these two.


    1. Pakistanian! It's like Kryptonian. Obvious, really.

      Anyroadup, glad you enjoyed the comic more than expected.


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