Review: Wonder Woman #779
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Michael W. Conrad & Becky Cloonan and Jordie Bellaire
Art: Travis Moore and Paulina Ganucheau
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain and Kendall Goode
Letters: Pat Brosseau and Becca Carey
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Diana, Sigfried, and Ratatosk come together for a final showdown against Janus, but do they really understand what they’re doing?
At the end of Death Metal, Diana was set to ascend to Olympus and take her place alongside the gods. Throughout “Afterworlds,” we’ve seen Diana in a number of different settings throughout the Multiverse. With Wonder Woman #779 the finale of the storyline delivers something quite thought-provoking. It seems to suggest something about the nature of the new status quo for the DC Universe. We should remember that with both the abandoned “5G” initiative and the current “New Frontier” era, that “all stories count.” That said, the resolution in this issue of Wonder Woman seems to incorporate that notion as part of the story itself.
As Janus is subdued, we learn that both aspects, past, and future are immutable and part of the destiny of the character. This could be simple throw-away hyperbole, but it fits rights in line with what Infinite Frontier has been exploring. Moreover, it also suggests that whatever happens with our favorite characters, that the future is just as valid as the favorite stories from the past. It’s a little bit of a meta reading of the issue, but considering that the finale takes place in a pocket of existence that is outside reality, it lends credence to this interpretation.
Travis Moore finishes up “Afterworlds” where he began on art chores and he does a really nice job of communicating the subtleties in the characters’ expressions. The backgrounds are all white lacking of detail indicating the “outside of existence” and the attention to detail in the faces is imperative in keeping the story moving and engaging. Tamra Bonvillain has a similar challenge in maintaining variation in the characters since there are no backgrounds to color to emphasize mood and tone.
Ratatosk steals the issue by the end. If there’s not a plan for another look at him there should be. Whether with Wonder Woman, Sigfried, or on his own, Ratatosk is a unique character that has the potential to bring a different genre into a story. Part Funny Animal, part Mythological Adventure? There’s a lot simmering under the surface of his character that remains to be explored. If we can have G’Nort and Rocket Racoon, why not Ratatosk?
“Young Diana” cleverly echoes the same theme of “past vs present.” Looking back upon the entire story arc, it’s not hard to see that this theme has been there all along. Here, Diana takes control of her destiny- the same destiny that is referenced in the lead story- and in her youthful confidence, she feels like she’s in charge. Furthermore, there’s a number of elements that are present in the Wonder Tot/ Wonder Girl stories of the fifties and sixties that provide the connective tissue between that past and our current comic book present.
It’s interesting that the premise with the opposing aspects of Janus Future and Janus Past validate whatever happens to a character in a future story. It does not necessarily mean that any story will definitely fit a character. It’s still possible for characters to be written out of character. I don’t believe that Cloonan and Conrad are setting up a rationalization for a future storyline with Wonder Woman acting wildly out of character. However, there is a bit of an ominous feeling coming out of this issue as Diana learns the impact of leaving Janus inside the threads of the fates.
Despite the fact that Diana seemed to fit in very well with the Norse Mythology and Asgard, there’s still something that doesn’t quite feel right about Diana and Sigfried. It’s a big jump from the classic Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Diana Prince status quo.
“Afterworlds” ends in Wonder Woman #779 thoughtfully and with a provocative resolution. The good news is that Cloonan and Conrad will be on board the next issue to explore Diana’s return to Earth and guide her adventures. Perhaps, this is all just the groundwork for something even bigger are more monumental. It is certainly implied that something is coming to Diana’s future that we have to believe is part of her destiny and a valid interpretation of her character, something just as valid as a classic iteration. There’s also a question posed in this issue, “Can characters really change, permanently or will a significant contingent of fans always decry such things?”