Review: Superman/Wonder Woman #27

March 18th, 2016 | by Kyle King
Review: Superman/Wonder Woman #27

Reviewed by:
On March 18, 2016
Last modified:March 19, 2016


This issue does exactly what is required of it, but not one iota more.

Superman/Wonder Woman #27 hit the stands on Wednesday as part of a busy New Comic Book Day for the Man of Steel. Writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Cliff Richards brought readers the penultimate chapter of the Savage Dawn saga, and ComiConverse’s Metropolis Marvel correspondent, T. Kyle King, is here with a review.

In Slam Bang, the newly re-empowered Action Ace leads a collection of heroes in a battle royal against Vandal Savage and his metahuman descendants. The immortal caveman’s long years of planning are coming to fruition, but is the Last Son of Krypton’s solar-charged strength a match for the villains’ comet-enhanced capabilities?



The Justice League and the other superheroes who came to aid Metropolis during Vandal’s attack prepare to square off with Savage’s children. The heroes’ efforts to convince their antagonists of their father’s bad intentions fall on deaf ears, and the instability caused by the celestial wanderer’s mutations eventually destroys all of the mastermind’s brood.

Aided by the Puzzler, Vandal propels himself upward to meet the approaching comet, but he is pursued into the sky by Superman. The Man of Tomorrow catches up to his ancient adversary at the edge of the debris field surrounding the streaking cosmic ball of ice, where the two foes steel themselves for their final confrontation.

Superman Wonder Woman #27

Credit: DC Comics


Throughout Truth, the strength of this series consistently has been Doug Mahnke’s pencils, so the substitution of another artist in his stead was a bit of a disappointment. To Richards’ credit, his style in Superman/Wonder Woman #27 is similar to the book’s typical look, but Mahnke’s finely detailed muscular striations and facial features are not adequately replicated in Slam Bang. Richards’s good faith attempts at matching Mahnke suffer by comparison, most noticeably in Salvaxe’s raised veins, which look more like the dividing lines on Ben Grimm’s rocky body for an entirely different publisher.

If ever there was going to be a comic book for which a lack of fine detail was a feature rather than a bug, though, Superman/Wonder Woman #27 is it. Slam Bang is all about big visuals and kinetic energy. With Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Stargirl, Steel, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, the Flash, Cyborg, Captain Marvel, Adam Strange, the Beastmaster, and the omnipresent Frankenstein all getting in on the action, it is understandable that the backgrounds are all motion lines and wide skies with fading hues. Nevertheless, the lack of attention to detail becomes glaring when the normally reliable Wil Quintana mistakenly paints Shazam’s costume in Superman’s colors.

Story continues below

Because Superman/Wonder Woman #27 is all action, the writing is no more nuanced than the graphics. The dialogue is functional at best, beginning with Superman’s awkward opening exposition (“Here they come. Powered up by the comet. Vandal’s new world order.”) and continuing with Wonder Woman’s plan of action (“Three words. Fast and furious.”). Vandal Savage offers the closest thing to subtlety of expression, and he provides the issue’s best line when he tells his robotic son, “Thank you and shut up, Puzzler.”

Superman Wonder Woman #27

Credit: DC Comics

Superman/Wonder Woman #27 serves largely as a bridge between the historic 50th issues of Action Comics and Superman. Since Slam Bang exists mostly as a means to an end, and is an installment of a series that itself will end as the New 52 gives way to Rebirth, its form follows its function. This issue serves the limited purposes of getting the long-sidelined Justice League back into action and dispensing with the latest wave of Vandal Savage’s now explicitly dispensable descendants.

“They’re unstable!” announces Cyborg. “Your bodies aren’t able to handle the increasing power”, explains Wonder Woman. “You’re mutating”, warns Green Lantern. One remarkably self-contained explosion later, and Diana is able to declare: “Vandal’s progeny… gone… all of them… nothing left…” With that, the threat of any villainy other than solely Savage’s is tied up neatly. Even Wonder Woman’s umpteenth tired rehash of an overly familiar trope: severing a limb from one of the twins, is excused by his ability to regrow his missing appendage before he disintegrates.

Slam Bang accomplishes its narrow objective by getting rid of the inconvenient offspring who were no longer useful to the story, and setting the stage for the inevitable one-on-one confrontation between Superman and Vandal Savage. The literary critic Cleanth Brooks’s description of the second novel of William Faulkner’s Snopes trilogy as “a rather frail and limber board placed across two firmly based stools” could just as easily have been written about Superman/Wonder Woman #27.

Before we turn to Superman #50, though, this is your chance to share your thoughts on the next-to-last chapter of Savage Dawn. Please ComiConverse with us in the comments!

T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.

This issue does exactly what is required of it, but not one iota more.

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