Review by Karl Verhoven
In DC’s ‘New 52’ from 2011 eighty years of history was discarded. There was no Superman and Lois Lane, who were recast as friends in the same business lacking any romantic interest. This was in order to set up Superman with what might be considered a more logical relationship. After all, wouldn’t the most powerful man on the planet be attracted to the most powerful woman, never mind that she was also a paragon of beauty? And seeing as that relationship was set up, why not have a shared comic in which it could flourish? Smacks of short-term, marketing-led piffle, doesn’t it?
Think again. Power Couple is solidly entertaining superhero comics, which ranks the book well up the scale as far as DC’s generally lacklustre ‘New 52’ reboots go.
In the early chapters it’s established that there appears to be some leak in the Phantom Zone, resulting in Superman’s foes imprisoned in non-corporeal form manifesting on Earth in extremely savage fashion. That’s the problem. The characterisation backing it up is well-handled. For all their powers Superman and Wonder Woman both have a naivety about them, and combined with the uncertainty of a new relationship it makes for endearing reading. “It’s beautiful, and a little bit strange”, says Superman giving Wonder Woman an alien flower, “It made me think of you.” What a charmer.
Charles Soule also creates a tension by playing cleverly with the foreknowledge readers will have of General Zod. Although he’s new to this incarnation of Superman, most will be familiar with him as an out and out villain from films or previous appearances. Pages of Superman taking him at face value are overhung with an ominous inevitability.
Tony S. Daniel is now an old hand at illustrating such material in dynamic fashion, and while there are still often extraneous lines and oddly angular limbs, for the most part his Superman and Wonder Woman aren’t steroid-infused hulks, but lithe and powerful. When it comes to the viewpoints for the action sequences, though, he’s superb, maximising the impact with his well-conceived layouts. The final chapter features the assorted artistic hands of Paulo Siqueira, Eddy Barrows and Barry Kitson, each illustrating specific sequences, so the variety isn’t as intrusive as it might otherwise be. None, though, are as dynamic as Daniel. He’s back for the next book War and Peace.
There are a few problems, a core element of the story remaining unexplained for one, but that may be a resolution for the future as there’s still a major foe loose. Power Couple is far better than anyone really expected, and that’s a very promising start.