Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 5, originally released February 12th, 2014.
Taylor: When I first moved to Chicago a little over six years ago I was desperate for cash and ended up applying for a job at a local tea and coffee and chain. My roommate at the time, and current Retcon Punch editor Patrick, was in the same straights as I, so he applied as well. We both got jobs but we were told we couldn’t work at the same location because we were roommates. The best we could figure it, the company was worried about our personal life bleeding over into our work life. At the time it seemed silly to us, but in retrospect it’s maybe a good policy for the company to adopt. After all, you never want a friendship or relationship getting in the way of your job. This proves especially true for romantic relationships and it only seems natural that Superman/Wonder Woman would eventually get around to the exploring this idea. In issue five, Clark and Diana are forced to confront this issue head on while also dealing with some invaders from Krypton’s past.
Now that their relationship is out in the open, Diana takes some time off from the world and goes to visit her homeland. While there, she reflects on her relationship with Clark and her own mother and sisters. She also takes care of some housekeeping of the monster variety while there. When she returns to Earth, she immediately comes to Superman’s aid, who is busy fighting Zod and Faora after the two had escaped from the Fortress of Solitude. A battle ensues that ends in a draw between the power couples, with both licking their wounds so as to fight another day.
Superman and Wonder Woman have recently had their previously secret relationship go public. While Diana has the chance to think about what this means for their relationship, Clark gets caught up in a battle that is too much for him alone. Their separation is very intentional positioning on the part of writer of Charles Soule. What the two of these superheroes are apart and together is the main theme of this issue and naturally it makes sense to examine these dynamics by separating the two characters. However, it’s a bit of an uneven balance. Whereas Clark basically gets beat up for pages upon pages, Diana gets the chance to ruminate on the various relationships in her life in quiet solitude. While this is a nice way of dividing the action sequences with the exposition, I wish it had been a bit more balanced. Why not have both of our heroes meditating on their relationship? Why are we only privy to Diana’s feelings but not Clark’s? I don’t like the feeling of stereotypical gender roles being reinforced here, what with the man punching and the woman, well, feeling. It’s no major indiscretion at this point, but it’s a little worrisome given our fondness for Wonder Woman round these parts.
The best parts of this issue are, as always, when Superman and Wonder Woman are together. However, before they can unite to fend off Zod and Faora, Superman has to put out an APB on Wonder Woman so he can ask her for some help. Batman is none too pleased when he learns this, as he points out a potentially serious issue with Clark ad Diana dating.
Yes, the World’s Greatest Detective is right on with this astute observation. If Superman and Wonder Woman are dating and everything is alright between them, then so much the better. But what happens if they have a lover’s quarrel? The Justice League has been pushed to its limits on several occasions, needing every ounce of team work and superhero power it can muster from its ranks. However, if two of its most prominent members are quarreling, how would things go? As Batman says, the world could potentially suffer for the relationship between Dianna and Clark. It’s basically like two coworkers dating, except a breakup wouldn’t just mean awkward moments in the break room but awkward moments which end in the Earth being completely destroyed. It raises the moral question of Diana and Clark’s relationship and whether two people with so much power should really be dating. What price is their happiness to the entire planet?
So while there’s some weird politics going on with the good guys in this issue, the bad guys seem to be doing just fine. Like Clark and Diana, Zod and Faora have what can be equated to an office romance. They work in the same place and are working toward the same goal but unlike Wonder Woman and Superman, they seem completely united in their goals.
Some of this might be due to the fact that Zod and Faora have been together longer than our two heroes. Still, Faora and Zod seem to share a united vision of destruction that bonds them together in a way that perhaps Diana and Clark are not. When Zod asks for a distraction, Faora obliges by lighting up an entire forest and endangering a city with her heat vision without even blinking an eye. These two know each other and can count on each other, but can we say the same for Clark and Diana? And really, aren’t they destined to undergo some strain on their relationship in order to keep the comic fresh and interesting?
So which office would you rather work in Shelby, Zod and Faora’s or Diana and Clark’s? Do you think a romantic rough patch awaits our two heroes in the near future? Also, what are Zod’s plans and does Batman just hate of love?
Shelby: Batman just doesn’t have time for love, what with all the brooding and dispensing of justice. But you’re right, Taylor, he makes some very valid points. Clark and Diana having a little lover’s quarrel could have a catastrophic effect on the rest of the world. Is risking the world really worth it, even for love? I mean, I’m a total sucker for bullshit like that, and even I’m having my doubts.
Another thing I am unfortunately having my doubts about is Clark and Diana’s relationship, period. I have a hard time seeing any chemistry between these two; it’s why this title hasn’t really hooked me yet. I think we’re running into the same kind of problem we saw with Justice League early in its run. These five issues have focused a lot on Clark and Diane’s issues, their concerns with their relationship. They make sense; Soule understands these characters well enough to make their concerns believable. Of course Diana wouldn’t understand why they should keep their relationship a secret, and of course Clark would want to do everything in his power to keep it that way. Even though I am interested in finding out how this issue resolves, I feel like this issue is the only thing I’ve seen between them. There’s been so much time spent on their problems I’m having trouble seeing why they’re even together in the first place. Especially considering it’s kind of a major security threat.
There is, of course, one more explanation; maybe I’m having a hard time seeing the chemistry between these two because there isn’t really any. This could just be wishful thinking on my part, since I’m a big fan of Batman and Wonder Woman together, of course. But there is still a (slim) chance that maybe these guys aren’t meant to be in the first place. A bold choice for a book called Superman/Wonder Woman, to be sure. In either case, I’m going to trust Soule with this one; he hasn’t led me astray before.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?