Writer: Joe Kelly
Artists: ChrisCross (p), Tom Nguyen (i)
Still troubled by the unresolved feelings that recently surfaced between her and Batman, we see Wonder Woman pays a visit to the Martian dream machine in a bid to uncover her true feelings on the matter. To this end we are treated to numerous possible futures where Wonder Woman has pursued a relationship with Batman, and we see that while none of them are particularly happy, there is potential for the two to be in a relationship.
Batman and Wonder Woman sitting in a tree! To be perfectly honest if there was two members of the JLA that I simply can't see becoming involved in a relationship with each other it would have to be Batman and Wonder Woman. Now I realize that her being one of only two female members of the team, if Joe Kelly is looking to mess about with a subplot involving a romance than Wonder Woman is likely to be one half of this romantic pairing. However, Batman simply doesn't do relationships, and as such watching this story trying to insert him into a relationship was never all that convincing. I also somewhat disappointed to see the return of Joe Kelly's dream machine plot device, as if there's one thing that I truly despise it's a plot device that affords a writer an opportunity to deliver stories whose effects can be instantly wiped away with the push of a button. On the other hand though I will say that if nothing else the possible futures that we're treated to do sell the idea that a romance between these two might work, and by the end of this sequence I was somewhat convince that Joe Kelly might be able to make this pairing work. Of course this is the point of the story where he decides to reveal to the readers that he had no intention of getting these two together, as Batman and Wonder Woman realize that a romance between them isn't going to happen, and as such we effectively wasted an entire issue of a subplot that goes nowhere.
As for the art, there are times when ChrisCross' work is very impressive, and I'd be happy to see his name on a monthly title that I collect. Then there are issues like this one where his art looks like he's completely forgotten the elements that make his art so enjoyable. I mean the opening action sequence is more confusing than visually exciting, as I had to go back and study the art to figure out what exactly Batman did to defeat the villain, and I still haven't figured out why Wonder Woman was dragging that boat out of the water. Then there's Wonder Woman's demented expression when Faith suggests a romance between her and Superman, and Batman's smile in that possible future was downright disturbing, as was the second attempt later in the issue when Wonder Woman returns to the real world. The visual design of the dream chamber device is pretty interesting though.
The simple fact of the matter is that I knew going in that this romance subplot wasn't going to go anywhere so I really shouldn't be disappointed by the fact that Joe Kelly seems to realize this fact as well. However, given he spent an entire issue building the foundation of the relationship, having him wimp out when we arrive at the moment where he could've made things interesting was rather annoying, as essentially we spent the entire issue looking at an intriguing possibility, and the final answer to the question is exactly the one that I'm sure almost every fan knew going in. I mean it's a bit like spending an issue where a pair of characters are discussing what color the sky is outside, and then when the characters make it outside we discover it's blue. It's simply not a rewarding reading experience and it's difficult to pretend that the question itself was intriguing enough to justify wasting an entire issue to arrive at the obvious answer. Still, I guess it was interesting to see the possibility was offered up, even if it didn't go anywhere.
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