Why is it that when I am planning a nice well thought out article that you must have a week with news I cannot just ignore?
Take for example this week. First there is news that Superman and Wonder Woman are going to be an official couple. That alone would require at least a mention.
But no, you have to follow it up with the news that Rob Liefeld has suddenly left your employ, and in a manner so close to the recent issue with George Perez that I cannot look away.
So here we go again.
First I want to take a look at the Liefeld situation. Rob Liefeld has become something of a joke amongst fans. His art style is off putting to most due to his odd ideas on how human anatomy works and his complete inability to draw feet. His writing style is also often under assault due to a lack of concern to character motivation or internal story continuity.
With that said Rob still gets a lot of work in the industry. From all reports this comes in part from being one of the honestly nicest people in the business. Although the back and forth happening on twitter this week may disprove that last one.
So I’m sure a lot of people were surprised when he announced his leaving DC comics despite being the writer on Hawkman, Grifter, and Deathstroke. His reasoning mirrors the reasons that George Perez gave back in June as to why he left Superman. Rob sites editorial incision, drastic last minute changes, and what he describes as “editor pissing contests” as his reasons for leaving.
This makes Rob the second high profile talent to leave the company for these reasons.
And while it may not seem like much of a segue this leads us to the pairing of Wonder Woman and Superman.
Let’s face it, this just reeks of being an executive “suggestion”
To be honest this is hardly the first time that the idea of a Superman/Wonder Woman pairing has been floated. I can name three different out of continuity stories DC Comics published that explored this idea. Kingdom Come, Justice League: Act of God, and Superman: Distant Fires. Of course only the first of those was any good.
In continuity the idea was toyed with a couple of times. When John Byrne was writing Superman and George Perez was writing Wonder Woman during the early days of the post Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot you had the Man of Steel attempting to get a date with the Amazon Princess. She was not very receptive to the idea. They ended up on one date and by the end it was clear to Clark that she just wasn’t that in to him.
A couple of decades passed and thanks to actual character development Clark Kent actually had a relationship with Lois Lane that progressed to marriage. However poor Diana discovered that maybe she was a bit more interested then she first let on. Clark being the very role model of good behavior didn’t even consider cheating on Lois, not that Diana was suggesting that, more bemoaning the lost opportunity. Somewhere in there was also the idea that she might be attracted to Bruce Wayne as well. It got a little odd at times.
The point is that at no time was there ever any serious consideration that Superman and Wonder Woman would get together in the main continuity.
Then we had the reboot last year. Due to that, now you have a Lois and Clark that not only are not married, but have never dated and Lois is living with some other guy. In fact in seems that the reboot was very anti-marriage as they did nearly the same thing to the Flash, even though his marriage was more or less the canon.
Oh and Steve Trevor is in love with Wonder Woman, but it is an unrequited love.
So this leaves the door open to a Clark/Diana hookup.
My problem is that it just doesn’t feel like a natural outgrowth of the storytelling that has been going on. In fact I would go so far as to say it is pure fan service designed to grab headlines.
In the Superman books Clark is clearly in love with Lois, but she is trying to set him up with her sister Lucy. This pairing seems to at least be a possibility, if for rom-com level antics if nothing else.
I’ve dropped the Wonder Woman main title, but when I was reading it there were no romantic plots of any kind being explored.
In the book they both appear in, Justice League, there is a romantic subplot, but it is the one I mentioned earlier involving Diana and Steve Trevor.
So I strongly suspect that this was a mandate from on high to capitalize on the publicity potential with no sight on the actual storytelling.
This is my biggest complaint about the current direction of DC comics. It feels like the bean counters are running the ship and making some really bad story telling decisions based on market analysis.
Time will tell.
Next week it will be one year since the reboot. I’ll be looking at how I feel about the individual titles. See you then.