Review: Wonder Woman: Black & Gold #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colors: See Graphic Below
Letters: See Graphic Below
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
Wonder Woman: Black & Gold #5 – Just in time for Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary, DC Comics proudly presents a new anthology series starring the Amazon Princess embellished in the color of her famous lasso.
Our celebration of Diana continues with talent from all over the world paying homage to one of DC’s most iconic characters.
Prepare to be whisked away with an Amazon fairy tale, flown back to World War II, swept up in a nautical ghost story, and blasted by a bitter space princess! Don’t miss the penultimate issue of this golden moment for Diana and her legacy!
Having reviewed Batman: Black & White and Superman: Red & Blue, I really wanted DC to make sure they provided the same, if not better, treatment of Diana Prince. Arguably the most powerful of The Trinity, I really appreciated that all of the issues were pure gold!
DC placed together a great run in accentuating both artists and authors in their treatment of their heroes in this format. It is a chance for readers to have a better glimpse into the imagined lives of these characters. We think we know it all, but through the golden lenses of these collectives authors and artists, we get some new stories that contribute to all things Princess Diana!
Issue #5 places Diana in Hell in “Hellzapoppin” by Peter J. Tomasi. This is a no-holds-barred action tale that begins when Hephaestus is captured by Hades and dragged down to the underworld to make weapons for him. Diana descends below to take on any comers and rescue her friend. The art is absolutely stunning and shockingly detailed—some of the best we’ve seen in this run.
Sanya Anwar goes solo on “Beyond the Horizon”, a nautical tale of Themyscira. When a group of Amazons comes under attack by a massive mer-ghost with tentacles that tear ships apart, Diana goes searching for its origins. She dives into the deep, encounters the ghost and the wreckage where it died, and uncovers its origin. The story behind it is dark, almost shockingly so, but the ending demonstrates Diana’s compassion beautifully and the art is perfectly suited for the high-seas tale.
Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey take over for the long-titled “How the Wonder Woman was Brought Low by a Mouse but Captured the Stars”. Dedicated to John Paul Leon, this story calls back to Diana’s early days at Holliday College. When she and Steve Trevor are captured by Dr. Cyber and a duo of Diana’s dumbest and earliest enemies, it falls to the teenagers of the college to help save the day. This is a retro story, with a silly edge that makes it a great refresher after the tragedy of the last one, and it looks great if a bit photorealistic.
In “Feet of Clay”, by Josie Campbell and Carlos D’Anda, the clock is turned back even further and the story focuses on Hippolyta and Antiope. Antiope is ready to retire as General and leave Themyscira and is puzzled by Hippolyta’s scheme to create a daughter. But when young Diana enters the picture and seeks out Antiope for training, the jaded general might find a new purpose.
Finally, Trung Le Nguyen goes solo on Memories of Hator. This reinvents the obscure Wonder Woman villain Badra as a child alien refugee who fights Wonder Woman out of anger and grief when she first arrives. Now an old woman working as a curator of alien artifacts, she and Diana catch up as Diana gives her old enemy, now old friend, a priceless gift. Nguyen’s art is stunning as always, and he manages to find humanity in strange situations and obscure comic book lore.
This began with Batman: Black & White, followed by Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red, and continued with Superman: Red & Blue. Now, it is going further with Wonder Woman: Black & Gold, so why don’t we get some others, like Green Lantern: Green & White or maybe something like Booster & Beetle: Blue & Gold… so many playgrounds for a host of authors and artists!
You have to know going in that each story is like a playground for both author and artists. Some stories will be poignant and will cause you pause. Some will not be your cup of tea as you see the human side of Diana versus the hero side of Wonder Woman. Either way, the reader gets to explore sides of Diana that we did not know existed as we get a variety of takes on his character from numerous authors!
While the Black and White is Batman’s playground, and Red and Blue fits our Big Blue Boy Scout just fine, the gold is a perfect setting for Wonder Woman! When you think you have heard every angle to these heroes, these books provide just more evidence that they, and the many timelines they touch, can go forever.
This playground has been great for both Batman and Superman and seems like it will do wonders (pun intended) for this Amazonian Princess. I appreciate that DC is providing more insight into these characters for authors and artists alike.