Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When a Superman met a Wonder Woman...

With all the hoopla that’s been surrounding the release of the latest issue of DC Comics latest issue of Justice League #12 – yes the one with the big kiss between Wonder Woman and Superman, fans were wondering if the “event” would simply overshadow the book’s actual storyline. Fortunately it couldn’t have been further from the truth.

With mainstream media having a field day with the chemical combustion between two of its most powerful and iconic characters, you would have thought that a royal wedding was in effect. It could have come off as a tempestuous stunt to draw up readership for the still fledging new title under the New 52 brand, but instead it made important revelations on character development that will be rocking the DC Universe for the year to come.

The issue marks the final installment of a recent arc spotlighting a brand new villain who dared to challenge the world’s most powerful team. In “The Villain’s Journey” written by series co-creators Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, a plot to discredit the Justice League by a supernaturally gifted bad guy named Graves begins with the kidnapping of their government liaison and Special Forces agent Steve Trevor – Wonder Woman’s Steve Trevor. And in the new DC Universe continuity these two were once a hot item! 

Although that hasn’t been explored in much detail, since most of the characters’ backstories have been revamped in DC’s New 52 continuity it’s been hinted at and it will be revealed soon enough, but not it may be left to flashback elements...because seriously what chance does Trevor have against a superman?

Graves blames the superheroes for the death of his wife and children, even though he became an overnight media sensation as the author responsible for chronicling their debut and rise to popularity. The Justice League rescued Graves and his family from the invading forces of evil entity Darkseid that initiated their first meeting...five years ago. Since then, superheroes, aliens and gods on earth have integrated themselves into our everyday lives. Their fight criminals and powerful megalomaniacs...but Graves sees them as false gods among us – flawed.

His plot brings the seven members of the team to a mythical netherworld where they are confronted with images from their past...dead parents or friends that suggest they give up the fight. When Trevor reveals himself to Wonder Woman, Diana believes him dead and is spiritually wounded. Superman rescues her from her torment, but Diana is equally shaken when Steve is revealed to still be alive, and Graves sinister scheme unravels.

Our heroes of course emerge victorious, but not without several scars. Deeply wounded and shaken to the core, the members question their place as Earth’s champion – their image tarnished in the face of the world. The Emerald Guardian Green Lantern blames himself. A scene stealer; he lacks the ability to play well with others. Since the beginning Hal Jordan’s arrogance has more than once compromised the team’s credibility. Finding himself locked in combat with his teammate Wonder Woman and having it broadcasted to the world didn’t help.

Aquaman, the King of Atlantis, challenges Batman’s authority as team leader and sites that though the Dark Knight is a master strategist, he’s not equipped to properly inspire others to follow him. Green Lantern leaves the team, leaving the six remaining core founding members to decide the fate of the Justice League, but first they must consult with Wonder Woman and Superman.

Dejected by Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman finds herself alone...but not for long. Sensing her loneliness Superman shares with her his secret identity and reveals why he has chosen to lead a duplicitous life – one as Clark Kent and another as Superman in order to protest the lives of those close to him. Wonder Woman can relate and realizes that it can not be easy for him...the two titans on earth really have no one to turn to. The end up in this dark hour turning to each other.

What exactly this will mean to the rest of the team over the next several months is at present unknown, but one thing is for certain – the DC Universe has revealed that these new heroes they’ve created for a new generation with the New 52 are given now to face their flaws, realizing that with great power, comes greater compromise...and in a world that may not be worthy of their protection, what lengths will they go to and not feel hated, feared or alone.

The world just got very big for them, and the supers among us, don’t feel all that super at all. Right now all they have is each other and the journey has begun for them to prove themselves. The weight of their worth has begun to feel heavy on their shoulders and they have come to the realization that they may not be cut out for this job – cape and cowl – after all. 

What a great way to end a year in comics! Truly cinematic!

JC Alvarez is the Nightlife Editor for EDGE On The Net and a pop-culture columnist. He is the voice behind the nationally syndicated Internet Radio Show "Out Loud & Live!" broadcasting on 

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