Review: Wonder Woman #775
[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 Brosseau and Becca Carey
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
It’s a game of wits in the Graveyard of the Gods, and the stakes? The lives of the Olympians- can Wonder Woman outwit the Keeper of the Graveyard?
There’s a house ad for DC’s Infinite Frontier initiative in Wonder Woman #775, and it asks a question that has to be on everyone’s mind- Can Wonder Woman escape the Godsphere and return to Earth? There have been plenty of new directions for Wonder Woman over the years and it is expected that at some point she will return to the iconic status quo. Or, perhaps that’s just me, because it’s not that I don’t like characters to grow and change, but rather Wonder Woman, like Bruce Wayne as Batman and Clark Kent as Superman, Diana as Wonder Woman is just too IMPORTANT to the world. That said, it’s a heck of journey she’s on right now in the Godsphere and it does seem that we are getting some development for Diana perhaps to a new era. More on that later….
It’s a really clever approach to have Diana win with her brain instead of her fighting skills. For a a few issues she’d been stuck in a cycle of fighting and only by getting out of it was she able to put herself into a position to save the Olympian gods. Additionally, one of the character traits that Diana exemplifies is tenacity. That seems to be what gets her through all these episodes. She doesn’t give up. She holds on to her goal. Remember, that was the problem in the first part of this “Afterworlds” story arc- she was in danger of losing sight of her real goal for an endless eternity of fighting in Asgard.
As she’s walking with Deadman in the Graveyard of the Gods and relating her time in Asgard, she explains that not only did she make friends, but also something “maybe a bit more than that.” Deadman, responds, “enemies?” Diana remains quiet, but the first thing I thought of was love…with Sigfried. I gave a thumbs down to Diana’s apparent one-night-stand with Sigfried in Wonder Woman #773. This quick moment gives me pause to consider are we being set up for an upcoming decision in which Diana will be forced to somehow choose eternity with Sigfried or saving the Mulitverse. It’s an interesting possibility. But, poor Steve Trevor!
All these things add up to a deeper style of storytelling. It’s not hard to imagine a superficial decompressed storyline that goes on or a Silver Age- Full Length Novel (one issue back then, folks) in which Wonder Woman has this incredible journey through the Godshpere, but for this ultimate (one assumes) issue of “Afterworlds,” the creative team is letting the story breathe with lots of emphasis on character and world building. It feels fully fleshed out and as if nothing is there by accident. One can’t help but be enthralled by the bigger picture and the accompanying details.
With Wonder Woman #775, artist Andy MacDonald has his second issue under his belt and he appears completely settled in. He’s made it his own quickly. It’s interesting that the Olympians appear to be rendered in their “New 52” designs. I was unsure what the current “canon” would be for them. Nick Filardi’s colors are just flat out gorgeous. There’s a deep red that appears in the first pages and it is an exquisite choice for the scene.
There’s no negative for this issue, it will get a 5/5, but Wonder Woman’s “godhood” still bothers me and this issue brings up a pertinent line of thinking in my mind. I’ve been against this retcon to Diana’s origin from day one because it no longer makes her unique. She is the product of one of Zeus’s dalliances with mortals. There are countless in Greek Mythology, so while it may “fit” WITH the character it doesn’t seem to “fit” THE CHARACTER.
This is relevant because in “Afterworlds” Diana is stuck in the Godsphere because she has naturally ascended as part of her demi-god status. It accentuates her distance from the world. In the past, Diana was an outsider to man’s world because she grew up with the Amazon’s on Paradise Island/Themiscyra. Now she is called to godhood and another completely different realm further removed from Earth and humans. It is at odds with her mission of peace and promoting Amazonian ideals in man’s world as the Olympian gods themselves are selfish, adversarial and petty- just like man’s world. It’s a situation that forces Diana to choose one nature to remain the character she is. She cannot really represent Olympus, thus. If anything, as was pointed out in the first part of the story arc, a large chunk of her fits in with Asgard and Valhalla as opposed to Olympus.
Like many of the titles published by DC Comics currently, Wonder Woman is on fire! Wonder Woman #775 continues to push the story forward with intriguing characterization through thoughtful writing and exciting art. It’s excellent storytelling on all levels and compels the reader to consider the big picture and broader meaning. The Young Diana back up feature is just as a significant journey for the juvenile Amazon, as well. As promised above…5/5!