This series just keeps on defying my expectations by being really quite good and telling a type of story that, whilst still very much a superhero one, is looking at things from a very different angle. In this issue, Soule actually tells 2 stories, the first continues the more traditional superhero plotline of General Zod’s arrival, and the second focuses more on the romance aspect, with Superman and Wonder Woman reacting to the news that their relationship is now public knowledge. Both stories are very well-written, and it’s cool how Soule balances them.
I’ll start with the Zod stuff, where, after a discussion between Clark and Diana where they initially here the news, and discuss just why Superman has a secret identity, both of them leave the Fortress to go back to their own private lives. This leaves Zod alone in the Fortress, and we see that somehow he is able to break free of the cell Superman has put him in. He tries to access the Phantom Zone Portal, but is unable to do it, so he heads back to his cell. When Superman returns, it is to question Zod about Doomsday. Zod spins some bullshit about how he was put in the Phantom Zone to guard Doomsday, and that Superman needs to take him to the Portal ASAP. Superman does so, and activates it, and it’s here that Zod reveals his hand, and it’s very cool indeed. You see, the domes that Superman believes are prison cells are nothing of the sort, they are just storage containers, and easily open when a particular password is said. This is a good idea I think, as it shows just how ignorant Superman actually is about his Kryptonian heritage, and given that this book is so focused on Superman’s personal life, it makes sense that Soule is trying to make him appear more human than alien. Zod releases all of the various other animals and monsters Superman has to distract him, and then gets to work on the Phantom Zone.
His objective is actually not that nefarious, he’s not going to release Doomsday, no, he just wants to have his girlfriend, Faora by his side. He gets her through, but unfortunately, she (I think) dies in the process. I think having Zod’s motivations be romantic here is another great decision from Soule, he and Faora make for a good comparison between Superman and Wonder Woman, and perhaps a sign that maybe they shouldn’t be together.
The second story takes place in the middle of the first one, where, as I said, Superman and Wonder Woman head off into their private lives. Clark goes to meet up with Cat Grant to find out just how ClarkCatropolis received the story, where he learns about the mystery memory stick. This sets his reporter-sense tingling, so it looks like that plotline isn’t going to be forgotten. We also see more of Cat’s new boyfriend. As for Diana, she and her friend Hessia work out her frustration in a training session, which seems to set up a return to Themyscira for Wonder Woman. I’m excited to see that, as so far this has been a Superman book with Wonder Woman in it, but with this story, it will become more of a Wonder Woman book with Superman in it.
But the best thing about this story is seeing the reactions to this news from a wide variety of characters, and all of them are interesting, from Lex Luthor to Batman to Steve Trevor to just some of the general public. I particularly liked the funny panel with Hal Jordan claiming he had dibs on Wonder Woman and Flash admonishing him. Hal is such a dick, it’s hilarious.
The art for this issue was strong too, with a different artist drawing each story, regular penciler Tony Daniel did the Zod stuff, and Paolo Siqueira did the second story, and they contrasted nicely. This is a strange comic really, given that so much of it is given over to soap opera, but it’s very enjoyable and Soule, by treating Wonder Woman and Superman like real people, just real people with superpowers, is actually making this relationship work.