Superman/Wonder Woman #2

In Charles Soule and Tony S. Daniel's "Superman/Wonder Woman" #2, Superman and Wonder Woman must combine their forces as the Phantom Zone begins to bleed into Earth. The story navigates between Clark and Diana's incredibly distinct worlds with ease, finding them facing off against the other's antagonists in a way that puts any other "meet the family" story to shame. With Soule's knack for capturing the character's distinct voices and Daniel's fluid layouts, the issue organically integrates a slew of characters and settings in one exciting, easy-to-read swallow.

Soule weaves a story together that is just as fun as it is danger-filled. He shows just how high the stakes are with a cringe-worthy panel where Diana kneels before Doomsday with her arms broken, before diverting the tension with a literal smack down between Clark and Apollo. By using this dual approach, Soule strikes a nice balance between exciting and ominous that culminates in one wholly entertaining piece. What's more, these transitions don't feel abrupt in any way; the story progresses logically, moving along through key pieces of dialogue that pull the plot together nicely. He also takes care to slip in little bits of conversation that gloss over scenes that could have otherwise created plot holes for new readers, like the bit where Diana explains her divine ability to heal fast.

Additionally, Soule exercises a great deal of control over the characters' individual voices. Diana moves through the issue with her stubbornness and a strong if reserved command of her situation; Clark has his more subtle approach, with an overall humble, polite attitude that only pushes back when it must. In the span of just one issue, both characters establish themselves as complex, fleshed out personalities that gel together nicely. The background characters, especially Diana's family, become instantly likeable or unlikeable within their first few lines of dialogue. Soule does a fantastic job working out so many personalities in a limited amount of space.

Likewise, Daniel has a great command of layout in this issue. Since the plot demands some background on Doomsday and other characters, the issue naturally had scenes dedicated to conversation; however, Daniel uses a shifting focus -- panning the point of view over different parts of the body -- that makes the pages feel dynamic even if there isn't necessarily a lot of movement going on. His figure work comes across just as varied and dynamic as his layouts, with great attention paid to extras. A lot of effort went into creating the sweeping backgrounds, as Daniel creates elaborate mechanisms for Hephaestus's armory and other sequences. The only drawback is Daniel's adherence to big, bold sound effects that can only be described as obnoxious against all the finer detail he produces. On the other hand, Tomeu Morey's colors add a wonderful contrast to Clark's cold fortress and Diana's tropical world, allowing each setting to be striking in its own, distinct way.

As someone who is -- frankly -- leery of the Superman and Wonder Woman pairing, I didn't quite expect just how delightful Charles Soule and Tony S. Daniel's "Superman/Wonder Woman" #2 would be. As it builds toward an exciting story arc that is sure to wow, "Superman/Wonder Woman" is guaranteed to be a nice surprise.

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