Obscure Comics: Superman/Wonder Woman #30 & #31

There are comic book series almost every comic fan knows, there are comic book characters that most everyone knows, there are specific comic books most every comic reader knows, and then there are the more obscure issues that slip through the cracks. What makes obscure comics so interesting and vital is discovering those books that most don't know were ever printed, or that top tier creators worked on "that book" or on "that character." Obscure Comics are fun to find and interesting to know about, but that border between great reads and terrible comics.

The New 52 Gives Way to Rebirth

For anyone who was reading DC comics in 2016, a change was known to be coming.  Taking along some of what had worked in completely relaunching the DC Comics line in 2011 as the "New 52", working in some Post-Crisis concepts, and trying some new approaches, DC Rebirth began in May 2016 with the DC Rebirth #1 special and then continued on by relaunching the DC Comics line again with the Rebirth Specials, followed by brand new #1 issues for each title.  Attempting to "fix" what people didn't like about the New 52 was a very mixed bag and led to much of the New 52 content being ignored in the DC Rebirth era.  In working on getting to the Rebirth era, though, DC had to end the New 52 stories, and in one case, just "end" a character.

Obscure Comics: Superman/Wonder Woman #30 & #31
Superman/Wonder Woman Volume 5 Front Cover

"The Final Days of Superman"

There was A LOT going on at this time in the New 52, and there were many changes that DC started that fans didn't seem to enjoy, as most were reverted back to a Post-Crisis approach.  For example, in the New 52, Superman was dating Wonder Woman and had also had his identity as Clark Kent revealed to the world as Superman by Lois Lane.  Superman also had four titles now, two to himself, Action Comics and Superman, and two team-up books, Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman. So the plan became in the DC Rebirth era to go back to Superman in two titles, and replace the New 52 Superman with the recently reintroduced Post-Crisis Superman, who was married to Lois Lane, and father to their son Jon Kent.  So in the two months before Superman and Action Comics relaunched, all four Superman titles crossed over in another "Death of Superman" crossover called 'The Final Days of Superman," which included the last two issues of Superman/Wonder Woman, issues #28 and #29.  Except those were not supposed to be the last issues, as Superman/Wonder Woman had issues solicited for issues #30 and #31, which were never published as individual issues.

Superman/Wonder Woman #30 Credits
Superman/Wonder Woman #30 Credits

Obscure Comics: Superman/Wonder Woman #30 & #31

Superman/Wonder Woman was launched in October of 2013, another new Superman title along with Batman/Superman and Superman Unchained to celebrate Superman's 75th anniversary, and reflected the duo's romantic status after their relationship began in Justice League.  The book was a part of several crossovers and followed their tumultuous relationship through the manipulations of the Gods, Superman becoming a version of Doomsday, and the revelation of Superman's secret identity, and an epic battle with Vandal SavageSuperman/Wonder Woman #30 picked up after the crossover battle involving Vandal Savage and was designed to be read after Superman/Wonder Woman #27 and Superman #50, which ended the crossover.

Superman/Wonder Woman #30 finds a confused Diana pursuing Superman around the world, trying to find out their relationship status, after an exchange during their battle with Vandal Savage.  However, the issue is truly dealing with the stages of death, the death of their relationship, and as Wonder Woman discovers at the end of the issue, the New 52 Superman's upcoming death.

Superman/Wonder Woman #31 has Diana deal with the news of Superman's impending death in a variety of ways,

From saving people, to dealing with the Justice League, to eventually accepting that the man she loves is dying.

It is an interesting and emotional look at how a superhero deals with death, especially the upcoming death of another superhero. Brian Buccellato wrote both issues, and Giuseppe Carfaro drawing issue #30 and most of #31, with some of #31's pages done by Pop Mahn.

Published in a Collection, but Not as Floppies

Collected in Superman/Wonder Woman Volume 5, both hardcover and paperback, in December of 2016, the two issues are marked in their credits page as being created exclusively for this collection, which seems like an odd lie.  The two issues seem clearly designed to easily fit as the originally planned versions of Superman/Wonder Woman #28 and #29, with the last page of #31 being a setup scene for the first page of #28, as part of the "Last Days of Superman' crossover. There is no additional information for the issues beyond their initial solicitations and the news they would be published in Volume 5, and most sites and even DC list that the series ended at issue #29.

Superman/Wonder Woman #31 Page 22
Superman/Wonder Woman #31 Page 22

Creating brand new content for collections is almost unheard of in terms of brand new full issues being included, but that is what DC claims.  More common, and from DC's own history, is the DC Implosion from 1978's where 24 books that were ready to go and just were canceled and in most cases never printed for public consumption. It is very possible the two issues were done to just have new content to publish easing into Rebirth, like Justice League #51 and #52, which were published during the first month of the DC Rebirth Specials, since Justice League wasn't relaunching until the next month, and both were "filler" stories as the main Justice League story had ended in issue #50. (There was also a move to get most of the titles to end on the issue #52.)

The Superman/Wonder Woman issues themselves are only available in these collections, even if you want to get them on Comixology, which only makes the issues available to read-only if you buy Superman/Wonder Woman Volume 5.  They can be read for as cheap as around $7 online, but the hardcover can be as cheap as $10, with the trade paperback usually costing more, ranging from $15 to $22.  DC now regularly publishes content only online, with plans to eventually collect it physically in trade, but this seems to be a weird instant where planned issues were instead just not released, so as not to conflict with the Rebirth content, and instead just put in a trade.  However, this was only the first time DC would do this in the span of six months.

This post is part of a multi-part series: Obscure Comics.

About Ian Melton

Japanese Teacher, Comic Book, Manga, & Anime collector, LCBS worker, father of 2, fan of far too many things for far too long...