A competent enough start
While many people called it “stupid” or even “offensive” DC Comics is fully behind the concept of Superman and Wonder Woman being an item, and gave written Charles Soule and artist Tony Daniel the mission of convincing the disgruntled readership that this is a good idea. Do they succeed? Well, not entirely I’d say, but their efforts are worth a look.
Structurally, it’s a classic “in medias res” type of issue, as we start with our two protagonists in the middle of a crisis on Norway, and then jump back and fort from the action to quite dialogues scenes meant to build up our characters emotions and personality. Soule kind of fails the Bechdel Test, as while Clark is having a conversation about work at a dinner table, while Diana is talking about him with another amazon, Hessia. But I’ll be fair, they did talked about other stuff (mostly Azzarello’s book), and the dialogue is overall rather nice.
The romantic moments Diana and Clark share feel a bit forced and uninspired, but maybe that’s not actually the fault of the script but of my cynicism, who doesn’t see this love story in the brightest of colors. One thing I liked a lot is Soule held back the inner monologues of the two characters. Too many time the thought boxes can become a cancer that spread across the page and ruin the flow, but the writer is smart enough to let the art talk and use the minimum necessary to greater effect.
Tony Daniel’s storytelling is rather good, the pages are fluid and move smoothly. Characters are expressive enough in most of the quieter moments, and the action sequences are bombastic and fun to watch, although the last one, pitting Wonder Woman against Doomsday, suffers from a certain stiffness. The way the artist portrays Diana is a bit iffy, as she often looks more “beautiful” than “powerful”.
Comparing others to Cliff Chiang is often unfair, as he’s one of the best currently work under the DC banner, but since he’s the main Wonder Woman’s artist, I guess it’s fair play: Chiang always manages to make Diana look strong and commanding and make her look attractive, while Daniel’s seems to sacrifice the first half. Hessia for example has a much more impressive body structure than our main heroine. The final pages are awkwardly structured, as while Diana violently fights against Doomsday, little panels through the page show her and Clark share an intimate moment. It is a rather jarring juxtaposition.
Overall, Superman/Wonder Woman #1 is a rather competent and solid first issue. Those who are convinced the coupling of the two characters is a bad idea won’t be sold or change their beliefs, but all readers who have a more open mind regarding the whole deal will find enough good material to stick around for a while.