Monday, August 27, 2012

The Wonder Woman/ Superman Kiss

Apparently even the ladies on The View have weighed in on Wonder Woman and Superman having passionate smoochy-time in the pages of Justice League coming on Wednesday.

Sigh.  I suppose that means that, as a blog that likes to talk about both of these characters, I should also put in my two cents.

credit to Diane Nelson for remembering her company owns half of telecommunications and getting this stunt some publicity

The problem is that I gave up on the Geoff Johns/ Jim Lee Justice League comic 6 issues ago, so I have no idea what led to the smoochies on the actual page - so I won't comment on that.

Here's what I will comment upon:

1.  DC knows that a Superman/ Wonder Woman kiss provides some fanservice to everyone in America.  It's the old playground question we pondered long ago, certain our K-5th grade intellects could solve this puzzle.  If Superman has access to Wonder Woman, why on earth would he be interested in Lois Lane?  Why would Lois Lane be interested in Steve Trevor?  We kids can fix this!  We can make it all make sense!

Getting to see Superman laying a smacker of Wonder Woman is so darn just and patriotic, even if we know they already have other partners. It's like watching George Washington make out with Betsy Ross!  Sure, that hook-up is not how it's supposed to be, but it sure seems awesome somehow.

DC Comics likes the idea so much, they've been doing it for years.  The internet has this great idea called "linking", so I'm going to do that rather than repeat what the internet has already done pretty well at Comics Alliance.  It's not complete, but it does the job.  Work your magic, hypertext transfer protocols!

2.  I don't personally get much satisfaction out of a Superman/ Wonder Woman hook-up as my favorite take was the one from the 00's that set Superman and Wonder Woman up as really good friends with no tension between them.  That was reserved for WW and Batman.  But the "pals" thing appeared in the 70's and 80's as well (see: "For the Man Who Has Everything").

3.  Superman and Wonder Woman hooking up reflects the inward looking eye of superhero comics to a tremendous degree.

As the first superhero, Superman didn't have a supporting cast of other aliens and superheroes for quite a long time.  For decades he was portrayed in his own book as hanging around with the staff of the Daily Planet, spending almost all of his time around just normal office folk.  While we understood he knew Wonder Woman was out there, he had eyes for Lois Lane (and any woman who came across his path with the initials "L.L.").  In Superboy, he was the only superhero in Smallville.  The adventures shown in the comics were mostly about saving the day and helping people who were beyond the ability to help themselves.

Once the comics began crossing over a great deal more, DC managed to maintain a level of collegiality among the JLA, but at the end of a mission, everyone headed back to their own cities and distinct titles with a supporting cast that did not suggest the DCU was littered with metahumans.

I don't mind the kiss in and of itself.  Or any story in which Superman and Wonder Woman have a romance. What bugs me is the lack of humans populating the New 52.   Of course Superman and Wonder Woman fell for each other.  There's no developed characters in the New 52 who aren't metahumans, aliens, gods, ninjas or Bat-people.

I'd really like to see a part of the New 52 at least try to acknowledge that the superheroes are trying to help just average people on the street.  Not dealing with ancient family vendettas, not dealing with internal power structures with their alien police force, not picking fights with transdimensional demon things or whatever the hell.  I think we got a bit of that in Action Comics #1, and from there it all kind of went back to cross-over-land status-quo for an overpopulated superhero world.

So, yeah.  I LIKE the idea of a Superman who spends more time with Lois Lane than he does his pal Wonder Woman and values her even more than Wonder Woman as a romantic partner (he can still go bowling with Wonder Woman).  Because it means Lois is a pretty damn remarkable person - and if you go back to Action Comics #1 - the real Action Comics #1, Lois was always worth Superman's attention.

That said, I know they're trying to mix it up in the New 52.  Good luck, better men than the current crop have tried to fake some romantic tension between Superman and other women - it never takes.

from the post-Crisis Superman issue where DC did exactly the same thing 25 years ago


Jake Shore said...

I don't care if Superman and Wonder Woman are a thing or not, so long as it's part of a good story. And based on the first 11 issues of Justice League, we know it's not.

The League said...

Well, like I said, I lost interest after issue 6, so I have no idea what's happening in the comic.

But if it feels like a goofy publicity stunt that's the de facto marketing strategy of DC these days, then you're probably not so far off.

Simon MacDonald said...

The thing that I don't understand Bruce Wayne has always been Batman's mask. The counter point is that Superman is actually Clark Kent's mask. From what I know about Clark Kent is that he is a man of the people and would rather hang our with other humans. Having Superman and Wonder Woman be a couple really does elevate them to the level of gods and it makes you wonder why would Superman still want to protect us rather than rule us. Anyway, it seems like they are eroding Supermans humanity and that makes him a less relatable character which can only be a bad thing in my honest opinion.

The League said...

reading the various takes going on, its hard for me to say if DC has their head around who Superman is as a character. The days of the Byrne Superman when he was Clark Kent putting on the hero face seem to be fading (and I don't know if Jurgens, who wrote the last few issues) ever agreed with that take in the 90's. Both his Clark and Superman were the sort of wooden, bland stony he-man. Morrison hasn't said who Clark was in Smallville, so its harder to make that connection, but he HAS made him an alien who stands apart from everyone else. And in JL I read, he wasn't defined at all.

It's a fluid thing. The "he's really Clark" thing was a product of the 80's, and I like it - but even by the 00's, the Daily Planet Clark wasn't the same as the Smallville Clark, nor Superman. So I think its a mix.