The trysts of Superman and Wonder Woman
It's not a trick this time. The most powerful pair in the DC universe will be the new power couple.
When we saw the recently revealed cover for Justice League #12, we had to step back and remind ourselves that we've been teased before by this pairing, which seems almost too obvious to work.
For decades comics fans have wondered if these two would ever get together, but Wonder Woman has always been too independent a character, and Superman has always been too focused on Lois Lane to see anyone else.
Alan Moore even once cleverly put a lampshade on the issue with a momentary kiss in one of his most famous comics, "For the Man Who Has Everything" (shown at left).
The couple has been paired in popular culture plenty of times, if not in canon. There is a bevy of fan-fiction about the potentials of the relationship, and DC has even done a few non-canon, alternate reality stories in their own pages which present the possibility.
Now, however, it's really happening, and it's not just a goof cover (which has happened before), it's the real deal. With Lois out of the way - after the New 52 relaunch, Lois has a boyfriend, and doesn't work at The Planet anymore - there is plenty of room in Superman's life for a woman who is more compatable with his lifestyle.
The current incarnation of Superman is also a much different personality than the pre-relaunch character. He's a brooding and self-doubting alien. His development focuses very strongly on the alien aspect of his nature. With the exception of a young cousin, he's alone on this planet. There are very few around him to whom he can relate, and making frinds is difficult even for his secret identity, Clark Kent, as he is constantly worried about the need to keep his secrets, a common difficulty for super heroes.
Wonder Woman is in a similar place. In the new continuity, she's also left with little in the way of a home, and is feeling alone in a world which sees her as a above and beyond. She's unaproachable, and, while not brooding, has her own inner conflicts about her position in the world. This in combination with recent plot-lines involving family and pregnancies, leaves her primed for romantic involvement, and perhaps more.
More than ever before - and, I'm sure, not cooincidentally - the characters seem more 'made for each other' than ever before. They're both lonely, frustrated superpeople searching for meaning, and they are now destined to find it with one another.
Of course, from a meta-story standpoint, this is one just one more cross-over opportunity. The major comics publisher has major plans for brand-wide sub-plots that connect many of the books in huge events. The recent Night of the Owls event, which spanned all of the books which take place in Gotham, was a great success, commercially, and critically, and this event will be something similar for the Justice League lines.
"This is the new status quo," Writer Geoff Johns told Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview before going on to say that this relationship won't just be a fluffy character ad-on. This union will have a huge effect on the story-world, and implications that will ripple through many other lines. Likely, we'll see many of the other heroes respond to the news in their own way in their own books in the months following the pairing, and if the two get married some day, you can expect it will be a major brand-wide happening.
"Hopefully this will raise a lot of eyebrows," artist Jim Lee says, indicating that they don't expect every corner of the fan base to support this turn in the story. "We welcome the watercooler chatter."
Justice Leage #12, in which the romance begins, will hit shelves in October 2012.