Writer Peter J. Tomasi and artists Ed Benes and Doug Mahnke bring readers the origin of Magog in “Superman/Wonder Woman” #15, which feels like it should be a much bigger deal than it is here. Magog has factored into some of the biggest events in DC Comics, so he should be more than the “villain of the month,” which is exactly what he is in this issue.
The hodge-podge art in “Superman/Wonder Woman” #15 doesn’t do the story any favors. Normally, Ed Benes or Doug Mahnke would be good to great in a comic by themselves. Both have drawn stints with the Justice League and both have handled solo adventures for Superman, among other heroes. Here, however, with a trio of inkers and a matching trio of colorists, the art does all it can simply to stay recognizable and keep the story chugging along. Benes and Mahnke do enough to tell the tale, but the variance in inked lines leads to some panels looking like colored thumbnail sketches in comparison to some of the other drawings.
Magog himself complicates matters further. This 90s analog has always had an overly-rendered appearance with impractical armor and accouterments. In “Superman/Wonder Woman” #15, sometimes the horns curve forward, other times they flare out and, on one occasion, one of the horns completely disappears so Wonder Woman can conveniently punch Magog in the face. Add that to the visual stew concocted by nine creators (including Taylor Esposito on letters, which have a gruff, chiseled surface for all of Magog’s dialog) and this issue becomes unfortunately sloppy and unintentionally ugly. There are glimmers of gorgeous art interspersed throughout the comic but the visuals of this book require dedication to work through.
“Dark Testament” features a Superman and Wonder Woman coupling that is more sass and snarl than kindness and heroism. Tomasi puts the couple through their paces in this story and uses Magog as a prism through which to investigate their personality differences. That doesn’t really inject much heart into either titular co-star and makes their relationship just seem forced. It’s fun to see them unleash against a foe that can take it, but I’m not feeling the need to investigate their relationship any farther beyond this issue. Additionally, I’m apathetic to David Reid, as Magog is a fine bad guy to pit against two characters that once were the shining examples of what good guys should aspire to be.
“Superman/Wonder Woman” #15 has enough talented creators involved that it should have been a much nicer comic book. Hopefully, the next issue will be a bit more polished.