This week in Superman stories

Superman has appeared in 3 new 52 books this Thanksgiving week: Red Hood and the Outlaws, Justice League and Supergirl.  Do I recommend buying these books . . . let’s just see. . .

Red Hood and the Outlaws #14 basically is telling us that after the H’El crossover arc in Superman, Superboy, and Supergirl, there will be another crossover arc in even more books.  Just as we suspected:  Helspont is the baddie in Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, Action and possibly Red Hood and the Outlaws, too.  Whether or not this is all leading up to the big universe crossover of Trinity War is yet to be seen.

Justice League #14 is everything Johns and Lee warned us about last August.  Superman has been ‘possessed’ by Cheetah.  Batman sends Wonder Woman after Barbara Minerva while he confesses to the tribal leader that Superman is his friend.  Blood is poured over Superman’s wounds . . . and the ‘recovery’ ends there.  Johns loves team books, I do not.  One reason—not enough space or time to explain things, how did Superman get ‘uncursed’?  Whose/what blood was used to ‘cure’ him?  Will this play into the story later on?  Maybe this is just more vaguery which will pounce upon us later?

Some interesting information regarding the Cheetah before Barbara Minerva got her.  Was the hunter wielding the ‘Godslayer’, Nimrod?  This knife that infected Barbara was forged by a being so evil, his name must go unspoken – could it be Lord Vyndktvx (Action)?  Also who is the mysterious, alien sungod  who angered others?  hmmmm

Cheetah is subdued and placed in Belle Reeve and outright tells Wonder Woman that Cheetah wasn’t evil, but she ‘Barbara Minerva’ is.  Shades of Richard the Third.  Batman gives the team a dossier on the woman who is now Cheetah and finds she is a serial villain.  This while Cheetah communicates with Black Manta.

Wonder Woman is distraught (again) that she is naïve and can’t trust her instincts any longer.  A floating Superman assures Diana that seeing the good in people is an admirable trait.  She can trust the League and him in particular.  She tells him she doesn’t know him.  (Five years fighting together & they don’t know each other???)  So he takes her to Smallville.

This is where it just gets weird, but I suspect Johns has his reasons.  Superman and Wonder Woman show up at the Smallville Diner to eat pancakes.  Not joking.  Superman calls the proprietor by name which she finds odd (and so do we since he isn’t dressed as Clark).  Then he shows Diana the Kent farm as they stand in a field.

1)       Superman is not revealing Clark Kent to Wonder Woman.  Just the world he grew up in.  Diana already doesn’t understand why he has a secret identity (JL12).  Apparently he’s not going to give her a chance to understand.  Superman is still compartmentalizing his life.  So this thing about Diana knowing the real Superman – uh, no.  Not completely.  She is not relating to him as Superman and Clark.  There’s one character we know who has related to both personas – and that’s Lois Lane.  Johns may be showing us why this bullship isn’t going to work romantically.  This statement that has been tossed around by various creators & execs:  “It must be very hard to be Clark to have best friends and this whole section of your life you’re not able to talk about.”  This is used as a reason why Diana makes a good sounding board for Superman.  By the same token, this is why Lois is a good sounding board for Clark since Wonder Woman is not privy to that part of his life.  And since Lois relates to Superman (saving his ass a few times in new 52), this makes her more ‘in the know’ and an even more intimate sounding board.  Superman still has feelings and Lois can relate to that no matter what clothes he is wearing.

2)      Superman wants to show Diana that there is life outside the evil they experience with the Justice League and that sometimes good is just good.  It’s simple, just like Smallville.  (Clark is leasing the land but has kept the house so he can remember)  They hold hands and then kiss while levitating.  Not the passionate covers type of kissing either.  Meanwhile, Superman has a bug on his cape and it’s not a spider.  Someone is witnessing this simple kiss through a farmhouse window – and then we see Batman sitting at a computer watching it all.   YAY!!! ‘bout time Batman caught on.  I suppose this is why TMZ didn’t show up in Smallville during the pancakes – so Batman could know first (before the world).  The fuse for the Trinity War has been lit – and it was not unexpected.

First date, done and dusted.

3)      The tide has turned.  In Justice League #12, Wonder Woman thought relationships were simple, but found out she was wrong.  Superman said relationships were complicated, more so for (superheros) them.  NOW we’ve got Superman thinking a relationship between him and Diana will be simple.  Say what?  Is it because relationships with humans are supposedly complicated?  (humans are vulnerable & have to be ‘lied’ to in order to protect them)  Superman wouldn’t have to lie to Wonder Woman about Superman . . . but why is he keeping Clark Kent secret?  Not complaining.  The dual identity is a defining factor in the Superman mythos.  It is his natural character tension.  DC has decided to only focus on the alien for now – which is fine in Justice League – but an alienated Superman is not the complete character, no matter how much it is the focus.  He has outside influences in his own books.  He should have his true life there – but unfortunately Justice League as well as DC Editorial are controlling his storylines in Action and Superman.

And let’s face it, how simple is this fauxmance going to be with Batman shining a flashlight up their asses?  Not much.

Johns uses the word simple, but really it means ‘easier’.  It would be easier emotionally for Superman and Wonder Woman to hook up because they both are invulnerable and neither of them could be hurt the same way a human lover could.  Again, this is cowardice on their part.  Not their best moment.  Not following their hearts desires and the love that motivates them to fight for humanity – is only going to bring them down, personally and professionally.  The power couple is simply that. Two powerful beings in an alliance . . . not necessarily a liaison.

4)      The Trinity.  Has not been established in the new 52 yet.  Yes, we have Superman and Batman being friends in Action and also stating that in Justice League.  Batman did encourage Superman to get his Clark Kent identity back in Action 12, so I don’t see him being too happy with this latest development.  Superman and Diana are getting to know each other (after fighting side by side for five years).  If a Trinity is going to form, it will be Superman who will bring it all together.  How?  By realizing his simple ‘thing’ with Diana has consequences like the world being afraid of two powerful beings united – and it will definitely mess up the Justice League and its good mission.  Power shifts are a bitch.  And perceptions about their alliance could instill fear and mistrust – which is not what Superman is about even when he’s not following his heart.  This COMPLICATES things.  Not so simple.

5)      I do like that Johns has Superman mention Darkseid and Graves.  If you toss in the Key, Superman has dealt with all these villains within Justice League – they are emotional and psychological baddies.   Could Johns be hinting that Superman is not quite his emotionally sturdy self because of the tortures from these villains?

6)      I’m not happy with the way Diana is being conveyed either.  Doesn’t know her own mind, can’t trust her instincts?  Really?  This makes her appear flighty – and Wonder Woman was never that.  Having a hero not trust themselves?  Again Graves’ lower gods magical influence may still be preying upon her.

The fauxmance is painful, not only because of 75 years of history but also the way it changes the characters.  It’s like stuffing a square peg into a S-shield, it’s just doesn’t fit.   Johns has never referred to the fauxmance as a romance or love story.  I appreciate that.  He knows the bigger picture.  He’s written a lot of it.  Booster Gold said that Superman and Wonder Woman bullship would destroy the future and the universe.  That is not conducive to propagating more comic books.  The bullship has an end date and it’s probably just before Trinity War.

We’ll get more bullship in Justice League #15 (Dec) according to an interview by Johns and then in the #16 (Jan)  solicit there is more on the Superman and Wonder Woman alliance.  Also the US doesn’t trust the Justice League so the JLA is formed.  YAY!  Steve Trevor!  Justice League of America arrives in February with the #17s.  Also in Feb, Diana will be consulting Eros about her feelings for Superman in Young Romance.  (again with the not knowing herself. Oy!)  The cover for that shows a passionate kiss between the power couple while dead bodies lie at their levitating feet.  Nice.  Romantic?  Flashback cover?  Interesting to note that a symbol or vehicle appears in the lower right hand corner also appears on the Superman #17 cover.  Hmmmm

The Aquaman crossover ends in February and Johns has stated Wonder Woman will get a focus – so maybe that begins in March with Justice League #18.  Steve Trevor & JLA will have arrived the month before.  Also Superman will be in his own crossover in his books with Helspont by then.  So what if the bullship is disintegrating or evolving into a super friendship?   With the Aquaman crossover between now and then that gives Johns 5 books to accomplish things.  More time than if he was doing it in a single book.   Also, when in the hell is the Trinity War?

Buy the bullship if you like being bludgeoned to death.  But the fauxmance is too painful for me and I’m not a masochist – so I would recommend NOT buying or having JL 14 on your pull list.  Life is painful, complicated, and messy – especially in real life.  I read comics to escape – and unfortunately, DC is insisting on not giving me what I want to read.  So no money for them until they do.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING GOOD –

Supergirl #14 gives us more on Dr. Veritas and her relationship with Superman.  Supergirl and H’El – and her loathing of Superboy (poor Kon).  Superman goes back to Metropolis but doesn’t say why (again keeping Clark’s life secret from his ‘super’ associates).  Supergirl can have Superboy killed by H’El on her say so, but she wants to talk with Superman first.  Smart girl.  She flies to Metropolis and picks up on Superman’s voice as he converses with someone named Lois.  Kara barges into Clark Kent’s apartment to find Superman being referred to as Clark while she surprises him and Lois Lane.  To be continued in Superman 14.  Up to you if you want to buy or not buy this issue.

Not a bad week if we’re reading the signs right.  Oh, and I love Batman (which hasn’t always been the case – I still won’t buy his books (unless Supes is in them) – and I certainly won’t be doing anything to make Didio happy.)

SMALLVILLE SEASON 11 #23 came out today.  Not part of the new 52 realm – thank God!   More action from the World’s Finest and some kicking ass by Steph!Babs and Lois Lane.   Highly recommend these panels of joy.  This is the penultimate chapter of Detective and for the month.  Buy it!  It’s 99 cents.  Best buy ever!

Next week:  Smallville Season 11 #24 (the end of DETECTIVE), Superman #14 and Superman Family Adventures.

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November 23, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Announcements, Baudy's Reviews, BaudyBlahBlahBlah, Superman.

4 Comments

  1. Mary replied:

    I flipped through JL at my LCS. Diana is being written horribly and as someone who does care about her it really bothers me. Diana is supposed to be a wise sister come to our world free from the chains of institutionalized misogyny. This weepy, insecure Diana who needs Superman to prop her up is all wrong. It’s just all wrong.

    I can’t help but feel (again) like they are stripping Diana more and more of her feminist constructs so make her more appealing to men and less threatening to men. It’s very male gaze and it makes me uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable for Lois and it’s uncomfortable for Wonder Woman.

    • baudyhallee replied:

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I agree. I don’t like what they’re doing to Diana in Justice League either. Recently Brian Azzarello (new 52 Wonder Woman writer) said he met with Didio before the new 52 launched and saw what they had in store for Wonder Woman. He hadn’t read the character before but knew it was all wrong for her. So he made a pitch for her book. Even though I don’t agree with what they’ve done with her origins — Wonder Woman is still a strong, caring character in that book. Imagine if we got the initial vision for Wonder Woman in the new 52, which begs the question, is this what we are seeing in Justice League? That’s just not right. She is more than a battling female who rejects Steve Trevor and hooks up with Superman.

      Johns does have an out for some of this — Graves influence with his lesser gods causing loneliness and grief. It may still have a hold on her. It’s all part of this fauxmance which DC has planned from the get go in the October, 2010 writers retreat. The Young Romance issue solict doesn’t seem to make her know her own mind or heart either. It’s not who Wonder Woman is at all. Making Superman the brass ring for Wonder Woman really diminishes her character and is an insult to her mythos.

      At least Wonder Woman seems to be the confident, knows-her-heart, justice seeker in her own book. Superman doesn’t have that luxury. Justice League influences his books. All for the all mighty Trinity War — which peeps will probably forget as soon as it is over.

      I don’t get why the mostly male DC execs don’t appreciate (or even like) their strong willed female characters. Is this part of their pursuit of the elusive 14 to 34 year old male target audience? Probably. But if any of them had bothered to read the last three years of polling by mpaa, it would show them the audience they should be going for is FEMALE. They can’t do that if they are displaying the attitude that the best females are those that don’t know their own minds or hearts. They are losing a wide swath of audience, and DC better wake up!

      Why is Wonder Woman consulting the male god, Eros (her nephew) rather than her sister, Aphrodite? Couldn’t DC afford the Goddess of Love? Again a woman not knowing her own heart or mind consulting a male. Where is the power and majesty of the hero known as Wonder Woman? It seems it is lost in the new 52.

      Not having strong willed women for male characters to interact with is detrimental to new 52 stories. It makes the men weaker, not stronger.

      • athenebelle replied:

        I noted that as well when I read the solicit for “Young Romance.” I thought it particularly telling because of the storyline that Eros/Cupid went through in the earliest of fairy tales-that of Cupid and Psyche. It echoes both Beauty and the Beast (one of my favorite fairy tales) and the Superman/Clark and Lois relationships. All of them are both simple and complicated at the same time. One’s true self is hidden (or partially revealed as in the case of Clark/Superman and one of the early french versions of Beauty and the Beast) and the woman in question must fully see behind what is preventing them from recognizing the person they love. Admittedly, this is a bit sexist in that traditionally it was up to the woman alone.

      • baudyhallee replied:

        Welcome Athenebelle. Thanks for commenting.

        I’m so glad you brought up the story of Cupid/Eros and Psyche. The flying immortal and the mortal — very like Superman and Lois Lane. There are other similarities within the new 52 — Cupid refused to shoot his arrows to bring love into the world because Venus had cursed Psyche and Superman appears not to inspire hope yet because he has to have a strong heart to open Pandora’s box to release it. Lois has to play a key role in making that happen.

        Yes, DC Comics seems to put the responsibility of both of the respective relationships on Lois and Diana. Lois having a boyfriend makes Clark despondent. WW enthralled by a kiss from Superman when she doesn’t trust her instincts or knows her own heart has to seek advice from Eros. Clark has had relationships with both of these women for 5 years — and DC doesn’t give him any responsibility for his actions or inaction. He does have a comic book called Action. Hello! This makes the Man of Action out of character.

        Right now I think Clark has to find his true heart’s desire, maybe DC is going to show that story. Right now they are not.

        So maybe Eros will give Diana some sage advice, because of his great love for Psyche. Let’s hope so.

        The triangle for two, one of mythologies great love stories. Accept no substitutes.

        Thanks again.

        I even wrote a short story regarding Diana’s requesting answers from Eros located on my livejournal. http://baudyhallee.livejournal.com/7485.html

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