*Couldn't help but dive into spoilers here, so don't scroll over the tabs if you don't want anything ruined!*
With issue six, writer Charles Soule brings the differences between Superman and Wonder Woman front and center. Don't worry, there's plenty of super-powered punches as well, but the real focus is to address the disparities between their personalities and how it'll play a role in their fight to come. These discussions don't bog down the pacing at all and are actually pretty concise. This isn't Clark and Diana talking for pages about how their feelings can impact their work or why they should or shouldn't be together. Instead, Soule quickly addresses these important topics and showcases how each one is viewing it. It's a brief yet effective way to keep the relationship engaging and give it a little bit of growth, too. Another thing I appreciate is how a subplot is generated from an incident you may have forgotten. It may seem like this book has gone from place to place just for mindless and fun action, but it's becoming clear Soule had a purpose for each of these encounter.
A common complaint I see about this title is that some fans believe it makes Wonder Woman look weak or needs Superman to help her. However, in this issue, Diana's actually the one with far more control of her emotions and she's the more pragmatic one in the relationship. As if that's still not enough, she legitimately wrecked Zod and Faora at the same time in the last issue. As if that wasn't enough, it was clear that, despite all of his power, Superman was the weak link in that fight. I'd say that compensates for being Doomsday's -- who's an absurdly powerful creature -- punching bag. I can see some saying the ending is yet another example of her appearing weak, but that's blatantly ignoring the fact that she simply isn't as durable as Superman is and it further illustrates just how good-hearted Superman is. I think reducing the act to simply being a "white knight" is missing the point. I'd be willing to wager he'd do that for any other hero that was stuck there with him and unlikely to survive the blast. He has the potential to survive that. Her? It's far more uncertain and if he can save her, why not? If you don't think the relationship should be a thing to begin with, that's fine and you're entitled to believe that. However, I hardly think she's being treated as a cliche damsel in distress here. Soule's shown she's not only a better combatant than Superman, but also more in check than he is reading what their relationship means.
Simply put: Tony S. Daniel for the win. Aside from a few relatively minor gripes, this issue is full of energy, particularly strong character work and wonderful attention to the surrounding environments. He delivers more than a handful of standout panels and the last page is likely to leave you in awe. Oh man, and that page dedicated purely to the intensity of each hit? Fantastic. Tomeu Morey's coloring is equally impressive. Everything from the soothing ocean to the lighting effects keep the panels exciting and pull you right into what's going down. Long story short, it's a very good looking book, people
Without showing us even a little sample of how brutal round two was, It's a little tough to just accept the fact that Wonder Woman and Superman are in such poor condition that they can't even fly. We've seen them endure so much punishment and I get page space is limited, but the jump felt abrupt. Even just one display of the villains' new might would have been helpful.
Part of me can't shake the feeling that Wonder Woman went from taking both of the villains on in the last issue to barely being able to handle Faora in this one. I get the implication is to get hit enough so they can use their secret weapon, but if she can take out her target (which seems probable based on the last issue) and then team-up with Superman, odds are they could beat Zod on their own or even end up using the weapon as a last resort, right?
Look, if you're part of the crowd that's very vocal against this relationship, odds are steam will shoot from your ears with this chapter (although, to be honest, I'm not sure why you're still reading it?). However, if you've been enjoying this run -- which appears to be more than a fair share of you -- then you're sure to be incredibly entertained by this issue. Not only is there a visceral slugfest, but the core of this one revolves around the dynamic between Superman and Wonder Woman. Sure, the ending seems designed to make some people question how things could possibly move forward (despite this taking place in the past...), but it still works because of the emotional moment the scene delivers and it absolutely leaves me curious to see how this will impact their relationship in the upcoming issues.