Greetings from the Odinson,
DC Universe Rebirth not only signaled the end of the DC: The New 52 era of comics, but it also signaled the end of one of the most storied romances in the history of comic books – Superman and Wonder Woman. In the pages of Justice League #12, one kiss changed the course of DC History forever.
Superman, the Last Son of Krypton, the Man of Steel, is the ultimate example and personification of what a male super hero should be. Wonder Woman is the daughter of the gods, an emissary of peace and justice, and the ultimate example and personification of what a female super heroine should be. So, these two kids hooking up seems like an absolute no-brainer, right? Surely, these two icons have been an item all along, right?
Unfortunately, that is not the case.
In fact, the New 52 liaisons between them is the first in-continuity romance between Superman and Wonder Woman. They have been teammates and friends, but they have never been lovers in continuity. Have there been some extenuating circumstances? Sure. Have there been flirtations and even a stolen kiss or two? Yes. But, up until Justice League #12, there had never been a committed relationship between DC’s two biggest icons.
The Odinson takes a look at the Romantic History of Superman and Wonder Woman
Pre-Crisis DCU – Throughout the Golden and Silver Age of Comics, Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship was strictly platonic at best. If there was an attraction it was only in passing. The Odinson is not 100% sure if All-Star Comics #36 was the very first time these two legends met, but at the very least, it is an example of one the very first times they crossed each other’s paths. Unfortunately, the feminism movement of the 60s and 70s was still over a decade away, so the world’s greatest female super hero was relegated to little more than a super secretary for the male heroes of this time. Wonder Woman stayed back at headquarters while the MEN ventured out to fight crime.
Over the years, whether in the ranks of the Justice League of America, on the popular cartoon Super Friends, or in the occasional Team-Up, during the Pre-Crisis era of DC Comics, Superman and Wonder Woman were mainly portrayed as being just friends and teammates. NOW, there are two interesting items of note. In the pages of DC Comics Presents #32, under the thrall of magic, Superman and Wonder Woman embrace and we witness the first kiss between these two icons, and the seeds of their bourgeoning attraction was planted. Plus, in the seminal Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons tale For the Man Who Has Everything, Wonder Woman accompanies the Dynamic Duo to the Fortress of Solitude to celebrate Kal-El’s birthday. Now, this is important because it shows just how close Diana and Kal have become since very few people have ever gained access to the Man of Steel’s hidden sanctum. It shows a level of trust Superman only bestows upon his nearest and dearest.
Post-Crisis DCU – In the wake of the Legends event, Clark Kent is having sleepless nights. He cannot get this strange, beautiful, mysterious woman off his mind (as seen in Superman #5). That woman is Wonder Woman. This attraction comes to a head in the pages of Action Comics #600, as the Man of Steel and the Amazing Amazon share their first kiss of the Post-Crisis era. At this time, their relationship could have gone one of several ways. Diana could have been offended, and Clark’s brash action could have ruined their friendship forever. Or, they could have fell hopeless in love, thus preempting the eventual romance of the New 52. Or, they could decide at that moment in their careers they are better off as friends. It was the latter that they choose. But, this would not be their last “flirtation” with romance.
In the pages of Action Comics #761, Superman and Wonder Woman are exiled to an alternate plane of waring gods and monsters. There they remained for a millennia with nobody to turn to but each other. Though Clark forever remained loyal to his wife, Lois, the temptation to seek solace in each other’s arms was almost overwhelming, even for Superman and Wonder Woman. All throughout the 90s, especially during Grant Morrison’s epic run on JLA, there was a hinted sexual tension between Wonder Woman and DC’s other two icons – Superman and Batman. This all built and even came to a head during Infinite Crisis when the Trinity’s inability to reconcile their feelings nearly tore them apart forever.
Alas, all that tension and attraction never really led to anything. Between Clark’s marriage to Lois Lane and both their busy schedules as super heroes, once again, a romantic relationship between the Man of Steel and the Amazing Amazon would not be explored. That is until in the aftermath of Flashpoint…
The New 52 – With Justice League #1, the New 52 era of DC Comics launched and during the inaugural tale, Origin, we notice an instant attraction between them. During the tale A Villain’s Journey, Superman and Wonder Woman share a kiss and ignite for the very first time in the history of DC Comics continuity a romantic relationship. Though their relationship remained a subplot in many of the New 52 titles, it was fully explored in the pages of Superman/Wonder Woman.
In Power Couple, we see the effect a romance like this has on the rest of the DCU. Though there are some that may rejoice at the fact that they become an item, there are others that fear the world’s two most powerful beings becoming romantically involved and may even try to destroy this union. In War and Peace, a Doomsday virus threatens the Man of Steel by turning him into the very destroyer of worlds he has fought so hard to stop. If it were not for Diana’s faith and love, Kal-El may have lost himself to the beast within forever. Dark Truth sees the Man of Steel depowered, exposed, and at his most vulnerable, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Diana provides the rock Clark can lean on in order to be able to face his greatest challenge yet. And, in The Final Days of Superman, Wonder Woman stands by the man she loves during his final heroic battle and holds him in her arms as he passes on to the next plane.
The New 52 Superman is no more, and, unfortunately, so is the romance between the Man of Steel and the Princess of Themyscira.
Elseworlds – Now, the New 52 may have been the very first in-continuity romance between Superman and Wonder Woman, but it is not the only time this concept has been explored. There are many alternate realities within the DC Multiverse where these two icons have become an item. During Kingdom Come, one of the positive things to come out of the Super Hero Armageddon was that Superman and Wonder Woman finally realized they were in love with each other. The end of the story sees them preparing to start a new life with their as yet unborn child. In The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Frank Miller reveals that not only do Clark and Diana share a passionate love affair, but they also have a daughter as well. In the alternate world of Red Son, where Superman is a hero for the Soviet Union, Wonder Woman is quite enamored with the Man of Steel, that is until he refutes her love one too many times. In the dark world of Injustice: Gods among Us, Diana’s love for Kal-El has blinded her to the point where she follows him unquestioning, even at the expense of her integrity. And in another alternate reality, the reality of the Squadron Supreme, Hyperion and Power Princess, Marvel’s homage to Superman and Wonder Woman, share a passionate love affair of their own.
What does the future hold for Superman and Wonder Woman’s romance? Has the passing of the New 52 Superman snuffed out the last ember of a once roaring fire of emotion and passion? The New 52 era of DC Comics is one of the most polarizing eras in Comics History, but hate it, or love it, it did give us something no other era in DC History ever has before.
It gave us the very first in-continuity romance between Superman and Wonder Woman.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell