*This Review Contains Spoilers*
Wonder Woman #52. Writer – Meredith Finch, Illustrator – Miguel Mendonca
Wonder Woman has been completing trials and obtaining objects as requested by Hecate, the Goddess of Witchcraft and Necromancy. Though she believed she actions were helping cure Zeke, she finds that she’s been tricked into completing the tasks for Hecate’s own devious intentions. Diana has now returned to Mt. Olympus to find Zola unconscious.
Wow. This issue is certainly a roller coaster of events worthy of a series finale. Were all these events justified or necessary? No. But it does make for some entertainment at face value. Finch wastes no time to disregard the impression of Zola’s death and confirm she’s simply under a spell. The majority of this issue takes place in Gaia’s temple where Hecate, Hera, and Diana all meet to determine Zeke’s fate and determine who’s the true in this situation.
After a lot of back and forth and false claims and misunderstandings, it finally comes out that Hecate was actually trying to heal Zeke out of love (as it’s revealed she was one of Zeus’ many affairs). In fact, it was Hera who was actually trying to murder Zeke and stake sole claim to the throne. However, through Hecate’s magic and Wonder Woman’s selfless attempt to save Zeke, Zeus returns to his original form (tall, bearded and shirtless). While it appears Olympus has returned to the status quo, both Zola and Diana are left mourning the loss of Zeke.
One of the biggest critiques of Finch’s run has been it’s lackluster nature. This issue however does an excellent job of building the excitement and shock value while simultaneously wrapping up the overarching story line which began in issue #1. It could have used another five pages to wrap up the events and not make the ending so abrupt, but when it comes to the actually events that transpired there are going to be people who love it and those that hate it. While it seems like most of the 52 issues are ending on happy notes, this one certainly isn’t. However there’s something refreshing in the fact they chose to end it like that and I’m not necessarily against it.
Mendonca knocks this issue out of the park as he features multiple full page shots of Wonder Woman in action. Filling in for David Finch is certainly a tall task, but he’s done an excellent job and this is by far his best issue.
While this is an exciting issue, it does fall victim to Finch’ other collective complaint which is the volatile allegiances of the characters. Characters ideology’s and motives are constantly flip flopped due to convenience and fail to align with the character’s history. Hera has always been a loose cannon since Azarello’s run, but then Ares copped an attitude and Hephaestus’ nature was put into question and Hecate’s actions were volleyed between justified and evil multiple times between the last two issues. Not only does this begin to lose effect after awhile, but it makes Wonder Woman look incredibly naive. In the last ten issues we haven’t really seen Diana assume that archetypal hero role. Instead she’s just been tricked, criticized, and sent into crying spells (doesn’t really sound like pro-feminist writing).
Is it packed with powerful messages and plot depth? No. But it’s packed with action, a lot of beautiful illustrations, and the end may stir up some surprising emotions. What matters is that it feels like the series finale and that’s exactly what we get.