(Submitted by out freaky friend, Mr. Dr. Prince Adam III…Thanks, Heroic Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)
This trilogy of issues starts with a U.S. Missile strike in Bialya, on a stronghold of a Rebel Leader. Before the missile could hit its target Superman intercepts it, destroying the missile. While Superman was determined to stop the loss of any more life, after the tragedy that killed Lois and his unborn baby, the U.S. Military and government, all the way up to the President are furious that Superman’s actions have compromised their efforts in the region. Fearing that Superman is on a dangerous road to totalitarian rule, the government puts off the books military personal in the charge of Mirror Master, in the hope of reigning Superman in. Their plan is to kidnap the Kent’s, trapping them in a mirror dimension. They then blackmail Superman, that if he doesn’t end this “My Way or the High Way” war on crime, his parents will be killed and pieces of their bodies will be sent to him. This only enrages Superman further, who quickly turns to Flash to learn more about Mirror Master. Meanwhile, at the Justice League watchtower, Wonder Woman requests the help of the rest of the Justice League’s help in the search for Mirror Master and Clark’s parents. While the rest of the Superfriends, sans Batman and Green Arrow, who have defected, go on supervillain shakedown duty. Wonder Woman goes to another war torn area of the Middle East, Kandaq. There she literally gets right in the middle of a battle between fighter jets and tanks. After decimating the heavy artillery, she urges the soldiers on foot to lay down their weapons, in a cease fire, while a peaceful dialogue can put an end to the conflict. As this is unfolding, the God of War, Ares appears on the battlefield. After revelling in Diana’s handy work, he questions her about a potential romantic relationship with Superman. The snark in his comments offends Wonder Woman, they fight, so she cuts off his hand and impales him with her sword, leaving him alive, but pinned to the ground. She then leaves the warzone with Superman in toe. The book ends with Batman waiting for the President in the White House. He tells the President that he knows he ordered the kidnapping of the Kent’s. While Batman, doesn’t agree with that tactic, he tells the President that Superman does need to be held in check, and that he is forming a resistance.
There are two reasons I came back to this book now. The first is that I wanted another book featuring Wonder Woman to read. Second, the sequel game and comic book for this franchise is out. The sooner I read this, the faster I get to play the new game. I’m now 9 issues into this book and while I know where Superman ultimately gets to, as of this moment in the story, I don’t disagree with his stance or more aggressive tactics. I don’t hold killing the Joker against Superman. Now I’m not saying every superhero should start picking off their villains. However, had Batman killed the Joker long ago, Jason Todd wouldn’t have been beaten to death and Barbara Gordon wouldn’t have been raped or killed. Comic books like this raise a question about our heroes. In scenario’s like this, with exceptionally vile villains like The Joker, is it okay for our heroes to cross that line and kill? Secondly, he what I just realised about this book is that it is the Bizarro Dark Knight Returns. In that book, the government is worried about Batman going over the edge, with Superman having to step in and reign him in. Here, it is the exact opposit. It’s kind of sad that it took me so long to put that together, but it seems extra awesome now that I have. In the scene where Wonder Woman rallies the Justice League around Superman’s cause. Even though some of his teammates find his actions towards the Joker questionable. They all rally because of Wonder Woman’s call to arms. It speaks to what a respected leader she is amongst the group. She is no 1B leader. She’s every bit the leader of the JLA as Superman is. Wonder Woman has always been a character that preached peace and love first and foremost, with fighting always being a last resort. For now, at this juncture of the story, that character tenant is upheld. When she does let loose in the Kandaq warzone, the way she just dismantles the armed and air weaponry and gets those soldiers to stand down is impressive. It will give added presence to the name Wonder Woman. Ares’ presence in these issues is definitely the highlight for me. His concern over a romantic union between Superman and Diana is genius. The idea that their union could bring about a true end to conflict and war, thereby rendering him useless and moot. Tom Taylor writes the fierce and all powerful Ares, as worried and emotionally distraught over this scenario. By the end of the last issue, Ares is very different then the brash, authoritative and condescending Olympian God, when he first entered the story.
Jheremy Raapack is back on art for these issues and these three stories are his best work in my opinion. I’m almost certain that Zack Snyder used this artwork as a reference image for the Africa sequence in Batman v Superman: The Ultimate Edition. The way Superman defuse that missile and the look on his face as he approaches it, looks identical in the film as it does in this book. This artist has done great things for Mirror Master’s visual credibility. I’ll take the supped up rogue SWAT guy with a mask, over the traditional green looking long johns, any day of the week. His mirror dimension is described and looks like 10 square kilometers of reflective sky. That’s fantastic because it doesn’t just look like a household mirror, while also being difficult to locate for Superman, and metahuman’s like The Flash. It’s also tricky for readers to spot, as it could be literally anywhere on the page. The best imagery of these three books is Wonder Woman slicing the tail end of a fighter jet with her sword and head butting a tank. Yes, I said head butting a tank. I’m not all that fond of Wonder Woman wearing pants though. Partially because I love her film costume and have it stuck in my head. Also though, because putting pants on her was often done to appease complaints that her outfit was to scantily clad. I think that’s the type of censorship her creator would have been against. As for Ares, he looks like a cross between Savatar from season 3 of The Flash and a Spartan soldier, in black armor. I had hoped hope he looked even more similar to this in the movie.
Every time I read this book, I end up kicking myself for leaving it alone for so long. The first nine issues are so good, some of the best comics I’ve read. So good, that I’m curious to know if the rest of Volume 1 and the current sequel are as good as this. I’ll definitely find out more quickly, as I plan on making this book a frequent habit. First though, it’s time for a few more theater screenings of Wonder Woman.