Superman and Wonder Woman get their own place so their relationship can develop, but no, she hasn’t moved into his Fortress of Solitude — at least not yet. Instead, their newly-formed love connection is explored by writer Charles Soule and artist Tony S. Daniel in “Superman/Wonder Woman” #1.
There doesn’t seem to be much of a love connection, as the pair do more in the way of cautiously circling each other, feeling each other out emotionally more so than physically. There’s no super-sex here, if anyone plunked down four bucks expecting that kind of thing. But then, the two are early on in their relationship, so Soule treads lightly in the series’ first issue, knowing there’s a full series ahead to develop this budding romance. Soule builds an interesting dynamic between the couple, with their pseudo-date night turning into battling a suspicious storm, rescuing the crew of a distressed aircraft, and then confronting a very powerful and very familiar super-villain. At the same time, Clark and Diana are two very normal people trying to gauge the state of their relationship; Diana laments to a friend about Clark’s attitude regarding their romance, while Clark is very much the typical guy, saying little to his friends other than acknowledging he’s got a hot date before he quickly ditches them.
It’s an interesting dichotomy between the couple’s super-selves and normal selves, but Soule struggles a bit when the two aren’t flying through the skies. The start of Clark and Diana’s date is awkward, to say the least; Clark shows up at Diana’s place without so such as a hello kiss, and Diana kicks things off with something every guy hates: a discussion about their relationship. The topic goes way off course when she jarringly shifts topics to shop talk, namely Clark’s fighting techniques, or her perceived lack thereof. It’s not exactly the kind of lightweight banter one would expect when picking up one’s date, but maybe that’s the sort of thing dating superhero co-workers talk about.
Soule does better when the two are acting like superheroes instead of trying to act like a regular couple; the action is pretty straightforward and enjoyable, although the choice of villain is puzzling, given that the same character just appeared in Villains Month, not to mention another ongoing DC title. The villain’s big reveal is executed several pages before the issue’s end (as opposed to a cliffhanger), making it feel as though the first few pages of next issue’s battle were pulled ahead to fill the remainder of the comic. There’s no climactic moment to finish off the issue; instead it just feels like the first reel of film ran out in the old projector.
Daniel, along with inker Batt and colorist Tomeu Morey, construct an attractive tri-fold cover, but Daniel also pads the interior with no less than five splash pages and two double-splash pages. The gatefold cover and twenty-four story pages make for a little bigger bang for the four bucks, but it still reads a little too quickly for that price. Daniel’s layouts are as impressive as always, and Batt puts a crisp finish on the pencils. Whether in their costumes or everyday clothes, Superman and Wonder Woman look consistently larger-than-life and very much like the heroes they are.
Like Clark and Diana’s relationship, this issue has its ups and downs, but it’s like a good first date; one can’t be sure where things are going to go, but so far it’s gone well enough to want the second.