Superman Wonder Woman #20
Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Probably one of DC’s best written series out right now, Superman Wonder Woman #20 is no different from the series as a whole. While most fans have taken issue over the entirety of The New 52 era Superman, the one in this book is much closer to the classic incarnation, especially since his de-powering and outing of Clark’s secret identity by Lois Lane. As far as Wonder Woman’s involvement in this particular issue, she takes more of a back seat as the B story, while still holding significant weight to the plot’s direction.
Superman Wonder Woman #20 opens up with Superman confronting Steve Trevor in the Oval Office. Supes is looking to speak with the President, in regards to citizens of Smallville being kidnapped by the government for their connections to the Man of Steel after his secret identity was revealed. During their conversation, Clark reveals various reasons for his motivation to be a superhero, as well as the curse that goes along with having all his powers. Eventually, the President emerges from a hidden room to speak with Superman, against the orders of his Secret Service agents. At this point, Superman and the President begin a fairly heartfelt dialogue before being attacked by Parasite, who was brought in from Task Force X or The Suicide Squad, with Supes original intentions unknown. While all of this is going on, Wonder Woman has begun tracking down the missing citizens of Smallville and interrogating them via her lasso.
“Superman finally sounds like Superman in this issue!”
The way Superman or Clark Kent is presented in this book is the way Superman is intended to be portrayed. He’s a character who’s alien, but wishes to be human. He is misunderstood in his intentions, even if they are pure in desire. Clark has all the power in the world, much like a god, but he isn’t omnipotent and cannot save everyone or do everything. A curse in its own right for someone who wishes to truly save the world.
This is the Superman people love and want. Someone who is relatable in their struggles and strives to help people, simply because he has the ability to do so and feels it’s the right thing. It’s lines like this that help us readers and fans, connect to a character that generally feels too alien, too perfect and unrelatable. It’s particularly confusing as to why Trevor is so upset or the general public for that matter, about Superman keeping his identity secret. Especially since the very consequences in which Superman wanted to avoid, comes to fruition when the government kidnapped those close to him. People knowing his true identity, puts those who lack super powers in harm’s way. It seems a bit confusing to why the characters aren’t a little more sympathetic towards this.
As for Wonder Woman, she really does take a back seat in Superman Wonder Woman #20, but it makes sense. This is Clark’s story and Superman dealing with the aftermath of his lost secret identity and most of his super powers. Diana’s been much more prominent in previous issues, becoming Clark’s stability and shield in a lot of ways. However, in this one, while she doesn’t take front stage, everything she is doing seems very important to the bigger picture in the arc.
In the art department, Doug Mahnke does a great job on pencils in a variety of scenes with the characters. There are some panels where the facial expressions seem odd or a bit off, but generally Mahnke excels with his artwork and does a superb job. Some of the fine details in character texture and design are very good.
This is a highly recommended series from DC, it’s solid from the dialogue and script, to the artwork. The characters have heart. This is a story about these characters driving the script, rather than the plot that pushes the story. Personally, the New 52 era Wonder Woman makes more sense, as a character that was literally raised in an ancient warrior cult(ure) but, hopefully in later issues this classic Superman will be felt again, like he was in this one. This is the Clark Kent anyone can get behind and would want to read about. Definitely a must read from DC’s current line and worth checking out.