Review: Wonder Woman #774
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Michael W. Conrad & Becky Cloonan and Jordie Bellaire
Art: Andy MacDonald and Paulina Ganucheau
Colors: Nick Filardi and Kendall Goode
Letters: Pat Brousseau and Becca Carey
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Wonder Woman arrives on Olympus only to have a massive murder mystery on her hands and she has to call on Deadman for help while deciding whether or not she can trust Janus from whom she’s learned the fate of the Olympians!
Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan are putting in a lot of effort on developing the plot on their first arc on Wonder Woman, and it shows. The first four chapters of “Afterworlds” took place in Asgard. Diana got out at the end of last issue and is now faced with devastation on Olympus. Wonder Woman #774 takes the story not only to new locales, but it adds additional levels to the complexity of the plot. It’s cinematic in it’s pacing as this portion of the arc ups the ante and seems to offer that “how are they going to get out of this one?”
Deadman has been part of this story arc already, but he really becomes an ally in this issue and he connects both parts of the arc. There’s a clever little bit with Madame Xanadu as well, and one can only hope she’ll play a role as well as the arc continues. Ratatosk the Asgardian squirrel (?) continues to be an inventive and perplexing character. Wonder Woman #774 finally shows that Diana is beginning to see the complexity of the character both through her questions and her own awareness. Though Ratatosk confirms some of Diana’s misgivings, he’s still holding some cards up his sleeve. Ahh…character…when it’s good it’s great, and when it’s great…it’s transformative.
While Diana obviously has a connection to Greek Mythology, her stories don’t always take place in mythological realms. This setting allows for a different type of story. There’s still a question of Wonder Woman’s fate (Is she really dead?) or is it just a transitional phase. It’s an interesting approach that keeps things fresh and interesting while still allowing for an exploration of Diana’s character. We also get the introduction of Janus who has an interesting tale to tell and it is part of that plot complexity mentioned above. There’s a lot of content in this issue and it feels like you’re getting your money’s worth. Though it’s part of a longer arc, it’s a read that feels substantial. One doesn’t always get this in a comic book today.
Travis Moore is replaced by Andy MacDonald on the art in this issue. While Moore is missed, MacDonald brings his own energy to the story. Nick Filardi is the colorist this issue instead of Tamra Bonvillain. Olympus is a different place than Asgard and one wonders if this is part of the overall plan to create a different look for the book as the scenes shift from Asgard to Olympus. The visual look of this issue definitely appears more substantial, harsh and less atmospheric and dreamlike than the issues in Asgard- pretty cool stuff!
The back up tale of Young Diana takes an interesting turn with the surprise on the last page. This story arc has had a throwback feel to the tales of Wonder Girl in the ’50’s and while this remains, there’s definitely something deeper that is on the verge of hitting, maybe next issue.
There’s just not a negative in this issue.
There’s a really great run on Wonder Woman right now. The creative team is providing a unique, engaging story that is constantly supported and led by character. Don’t find yourself asking how come you didn’t know about this. You won’t be disappointed with Wonder Woman #774.