Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Superman/Wonder Woman #1

This post was adapted and expanded from some tweets I tweeted earlier. It is also getting cross-posted to Tumblr.

There was a guy at the comic book shop this evening when I went to pick up my comics. He's often there. He's kinda cool. I like him. We talked. He convinced me to buy a comic book that I would never in a million years have picked up otherwise. Superman/Wonder Woman #1. 

Disclaimer #1: This is the first DC book I've bought in forever. I can't even remember the last time I bought a DC book. 

Disclaimer #2: I have zero interest in Superman and Wonder Woman as a couple. The idea does nothing for me. In fact, when it was first announced, I found it kind of revolting and it left a bad taste in my mouth. 

Disclaimer #3: I hate Tony Daniel's art. 

Disclaimer #4: I expected to hate this in every way imaginable. But the dude was so enthusiastic about it. He said it was his favourite single issue of the year and he's a huge Wonder Woman fan and he was skeptical about the whole super-couple thing, too, and as far as I can tell, he's a discerning comic reader with a fine taste. So I thought, sure, why not?

Anyway, I read it. And it was... kinda meh? The art is exactly as bad as I expected it to be, but I kind of enjoyed the characters voices. Both of them. I think Charles Soule is a good writer and he has a pretty good grasp of these characters. As much as I can tell from a first issue anyway. He makes the super-couple idea work better than thought possible. I could almost buy the idea if I tried to forget that it's so completely unnecessary.

But where it fell apart for me was the panels where Superman and Wonder Woman kinda almost but not really have sex in silhouette with the red background, superimposed on the fight with Doomsday. There are at least three things wrong with just those two pages:

1. The silhouette thing is just cheesy and awful, not to mention that Tony Daniel apparently doesn't understand how silhouettes work. Like, he doesn't get the concept of characters being lit from behind? It would have been easy enough to set the scene in front of a window or by candle light or something, but no, they're actually lying on the bed and they're wearing clothes and the clothes are lit normally but their skin is pitch black for some reason? I don't even know if I'm explaining this properly but it makes NO SENSE.

2. It's just unnecessary. Like, yeah, we get it. They're a couple. They're dating. That implies that they're probably being intimate with each other in one way or another. If they had given us some gratuitous money shot, that would've been something. It would have been an awful thing, but still at thing. But this tacky softcore mildly suggestive interrupted coitus scene just adds nothing.

3. The whole cutting back and forth between violence and a (non-)sex scene... I've seen it before and I'm tired of it.

Aside from that, it was an okay issue with some decent writing and some mediocre-to-bad art. Also, Dooomsday, who is the most boring villain ever. 

Something I had forgotten about DC Comics that I really dislike: Those colour-coded captions for the interior monologues with the character logos. Like, yeah, I get it, it's Superman's thoughts. You didn't have to make it that obvious, I could've figured it out on my own. 

Also, I guess people still hate the Justice League in the New 52. Like civilians, I mean. Normal people inside the fictional universe. They hate super-heroes. Probably because super-heroes in the New 52 are jerks. That was something I really hated about the reboot but I figured it would have changed by now. Apparently not.

The more I think about this, the more I regret buying this comic. I also realize now that some part of me was genuinely (and almost secretly) hoping that this comic would surprise me and win me over. I really miss these characters. I haven't touched DC's books for ages but I wanted to read this and find out that I'd been missing something. I wanted DC to prove me wrong. But no, not reading DC comics was absolutely the right decision to make.

In a way, the fact that this comic book didn't turn out that bad in spite of everything is almost worst. If it had been a truly horrible comic with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, I'd just be like, whatever, DC sucks. But this was almost halfway decent. I could at least see that there was some potential there, but that just ends up being a total bummer because it's dragged down by the sheer DC-ness of it, by which I mean everything that I've come to associate with DC Comics since the New 52, like what a grim and depressing world it is and how awful and unhappy all the characters seem to be and the shitty Jim Lee clone art that's so dreary it makes you want to never look at a comic book again.

Ugh. Don't read the New 52, kids. It's depressing.


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