Wonder Woman and Lois Lane are two of my favourite characters ever, so I was very excited to dive into this week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics. Their team ups over the decades have been hit and miss. Phil Jimenez had a good Lois story during his Wonder Woman run and George Perez brought her to Paradise Island for a fun arc, but petty jealousy and fighting over Superman have been the norm for a lot of their interactions dating back to the 1960s. There have been a lot of rough moments, for sure, and I had high hopes for a more modern, enjoyable team up here.
What we got in the first part of “Girls’ Day Out” was fine, if unremarkable. There was no cringe-inducing jealousy, nor did they come to blows battling for Superman’s affection, so that puts it way ahead of several of Wonder Woman and Lois’ past meetings. However, the whole issue was a little bit bland, largely owing to a poor use of the digital format.
It opened well enough, with Cecil Castellucci capturing what everyone should feel when they’re sitting across from Lois Lane: Fear. Wonder Woman thinks to herself, “I have faced gods in battle… yet somehow this seems harder.” It’s always a good call to highlight Lois’ reporting prowess. But the interview that follows is a puff piece for some undisclosed reason, with Lois asking if there are cat fights on Paradise Island and which superhero is hottest.
The scene is illustrated with a lot of repetitive art. Over multiple pages, Chris Sprouse and Karl Story use the same image of Wonder Woman over and over. It seems like this repetition of Wonder Woman’s frustrated face is supposed to be funny, but seven panels of basically the same piece of art over three pages instead comes off as lazy and flat. Lois changes, at least, but it’s Wonder Woman’s comic book. She should have more than one expression.
Things pick up a bit after this scene when a giant robot attacks them. Nothing breaks up the doldrums like a giant robot hand smashing through the window. Wonder Woman immediately takes on the robot, and Lois runs after her to cover the story and even starts fighting the robot herself. After the robot is defeated, weird creatures that were incubating inside start pouring out, setting up another battle in a cliffhanger ending. The robot fight is a fun idea, and I enjoy that Lois got involved, but the entire scene flies by. The fight takes up 15 pages, and there are only 20 different panels across this span. Furthermore, there are only 16 pieces of dialogue, either spoken or thought, over the same span. It’s a lot of full page spreads, and the sparse art is not balanced out by dialogue at all. Of course, not every page needs to have a bunch of panels or scads of word balloons, but a stark lack of both means that you can read the issue in about a minute and a half. You’re not getting much story at all.
The art itself is fine, but far from the best that I’ve seen from Sprouse or Story. Plus, with so few panels and so many full page spreads, you expect the art to be epic and justify taking up so much space, but it’s all just okay. It’s not bad art by any means. It’s just underwhelming for the amount of space that’s dedicated to it. Even the colouring is a little flat and uninspired, and Jordie Bellaire coloured the book! She’s one of the best colourists in the world, and the book still feels fairly bland.
Overall, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #26 is an average, somewhat uninspired story that fails to utilize the massive fun potential of a Wonder Woman and Lois Lane team up. Part two is coming up next week, and hopefully they’ll stick the landing and give us a more exciting tale that plays to both women’s strengths. If it’s 20 full page spreads of them busting up the creatures that spilled out of the robot, I’m not going to be impressed. The print version of this story will be out on April 15.