Friday, July 24, 2015

Strangers In Paradise Chapter 16: Front Lines is LIVE!

There are a number of ways for a strong relationship to stay strong, but there are always many more ways to destroy it. Sometimes, those ways that destroy a relationship are outside anyone’s control. Nobody chooses their significant other to have asshole parents, crazy ex-lovers, or enemies at the IRS. Sometimes that’s just how shit plays out. If they love each other enough and fight hard enough, a couple can overcome this. Sometimes it takes money, lawyers, and a significantly bruise ego (among other things), but it can work.

For Superman and Wonder Woman, they’re kind of used to having crazy, fucked up forces working against them. Superman tries to fight for truth, justice, and the American way in a world where Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are serious presidential candidates. Wonder Woman tries for honor, compassion, and empathy in a world where dictators, tyrants, and reality shows undermine every one of those concepts. They’ve been able to fight those battles pretty well on their own. Then, they come together and they have to fight an entirely different set of battles to make it work. But for love, that shit is worth it.

I know it’s cheesy. I know it’s the basis for every song by every boy band in history. But no matter how cynical or jaded someone might be, they understand on some levels that love is worth fighting for. So as I’ve explored Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship in “Strangers In Paradise,” I’ve tried give them a worthy fight. That’s not easy. These are two of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. Superman can wipe his ass with entire planets and Wonder Woman can bust the balls of every male creature within the same galactic neighborhood. But in this story, they face a threat that no amount of brute strength and cheesy love songs can solve.

Right now, they’re facing a shit storm convergence, courtesy of familiar faces that just love stirring up shit. Lex Luthor, the gods of Olympus, and the Amazons have all coordinated to create the kind of conflict that tests more than just their relationship. Superman and Wonder Woman are basically at ground zero of a divine clusterfuck with Lex Luthor providing extra lube. Ares has subdued his father and taken over Olympus. Apollo has set up shop in the mortal realm. The Amazons are now being mind-controlled by Ares and Lex Luthor is packing divine muscle in the Annihilator Armor. Even by Superman/Wonder Woman standards, this makes for a pretty shitty day.

And it’s about to get worse. Superman and Wonder Woman have already taken the first steps into this shit storm, working together as best they can in an effort to stop it. But even with their power, they can only do so much. And they’re about to find out just how shitty it’s going to get. All I can say is they’re going to need more than a romantic getaway to recover from this one.

This isn’t just about testing Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship. It’s also going to test their resolve and their ideals, as any great struggle against those who stir up shit storms ought to. It’s not enough to test them physically. It’s not even enough to test their relationship. The way they go about being heroes is always being challenged and they have to find a way to rise to that challenge. But this is one challenge they can’t take on as individuals. They have to do it together.

Again, I know that sounds like a lyric from an old Brittney Spears song, but it’s true. Even two of the most powerful beings in comics can be challenged in a way that doesn’t feel bland and contrived. It’s a hard story to tell, but it’s one that’s worth telling. Nuff said!


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