[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artists: Rick Leonardi & Steve Buccellato
Justice League member Wonder Woman is spotlighted in “The Conversion,” an all-new story from Nightwing writer Tim Seeley and artists Rick Leonardi and Steve Buccellato. In this single-issue story, Wonder Woman comes face to face with Ares, god of war—who sees her as a promising new recruit! Also within the pages of this anthology are some issues from the New 52 era, including Justice League #1, The Flash #1, and Aquaman #1.
The immediate great thing about this is the concept and the packaging. Five dollars for 100 pages and four stories is an incredible deal. The actual paper material is solid quality and these will look great on a book shelf with one’s trade paperbacks.
The cover by Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn is great. The trinity looks great and I love the flag background. It’s got a classic vibe to it and I think it will be really eye catching for kids.
The new Wonder Woman story is a strong one. Tim Seeley has a great handle on Diana’s voice. He really understands this character. The moment in which she says, “I am the enemy of lies” is one of my new favorite Wonder Woman scenes. Steve’s dialogue is great too; he has a couple of genuinely hilarious lines.
I imagine that there is an influence from the movie on this story in an attempt to appeal to the kids that loved that movie. Ares is the main villain and Steve is a little funnier than usual. I think that’s a smart move and it works well within the story.
I’m not in love with the art. It’s a little less detailed in the faces than I normally like. There are several points throughout the story in which Diana looks very strange to me.
There’s a point in the story in which Ares gives a bit of Diana’s backstory. I understand why; this whole project is an attempt to get kids hooked into comics. But Ares is telling Diana’s backstory to Diana; it’s a little awkward.
The other three stories are all from the New 52, which I think is a big mistake. I can see the reasoning. The New 52 is a reboot; there is no other continuity to deal with and thus will be the easiest for kids to jump into. And if they want to read the rest of it quickly, they can find the trades or digital issues. But there are a lot of things wrong with this. New 52 was incredibly convoluted; it was a complete reboot for certain characters but not others. Batman had gone through all the various Robins exactly as before but Green Arrow never met Black Canary. That reboot ended up being more confusing to new readers. It also had a tendency to be more adult, while this project is meant to hook kids.
And the biggest problem is that, with exceptions, the New 52 is not the highlight of these characters. It makes sense to include New 52 Aquaman; that’s a highly acclaimed run that turned a lot of people into big fans of that character who weren’t before. But New 52 Flash and Justice League are not incredible runs. There are better things to include. Personally, I would have preferred some older stuff as well as new. Financially, I think Rebirth issues would have made the most sense. Or maybe look at stories that influenced the television shows. Kids are watching Flash on TV. I’m not sure if the other books are also comprised of entirely New 52 issues but I don’t think that is what DC should be using in the casual market to hook kids into this medium of storytelling.
Overall, this is very cool. The new Wonder Woman story is a lot of fun. Seeley writes some great dialogue and it’s something I think a lot of people will dig, but can be read casually. I don’t love the art, but it isn’t terrible. And except for Aquaman, I disagree with the choice to use the New 52 to represent Justice League and Flash, but it doesn’t kill the book for me. There is a lot of potential here and I hope this turns into a huge success for DC.