Review: Wonder Woman #782
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Michael W. Conrad & Becky Cloonan and Vita Ayala
Art: Marcio Takara and Skylar Patridge
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters: Pat Brosseau and Becca Carey
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Wonder Woman and Deadman stop the attack of the Wonder Women in-flight, but Steve Trevor and Etta Candy are on the case back in the states and there’s more intrigue with Dr. Psycho!
Wonder Woman has had many different takes over the years. She’s just as much at home fighting mythological beasts as she is stopping a two-bit thug in an alley. And, somehow she works in all those ways. Wonder Woman #782 shows how all those disparate approaches can work together in a unifying vision. We have Diana in classic superhero mode with Deadman as they fight off the Wonder Woman “doubles,” they are on a quest to return Sigfired’s sword to his resting place which continues the mythological element and the use of Steve Trevor and Etta Candy as part of U.S. Military Intelligence harkens back to the origins of the strip when Diana’s secret identity worked for General Darnell in the same Intelligence office. This demonstrates Conrad and Cloonan’s ability to keep everything in favor of discarding almost everything for a new start. It is reminiscent in this way of Robert Venditti’s amazing run on Hawkman that was cut far too short. Venditti was also able to find a way to include everything that had come before while creating something fresh for the character that fit perfectly.
In his initial appearance way back in Wonder Woman #5, Dr. Psycho channeled spirits either for communication or to steal their ectoplasm to create bodies, literally wearing constructed “skins” for disguise. In Wonder Woman #782 we see Psycho hocking his psychic skills as the television personality, Dr. Cizko again channeling the spirits. It works so well in this modern version and it seems to work perfectly as a plot element. Psycho’s show ends with some prophetic words as he appears to be about to channel a heroic personage…now who do we know from this Wonder Woman cast that’s dead..?
It’s hard to keep every iteration of Steve and Etta, there have been so many and some are just incompatible. However, what we have currently is certainly in spirit with their original versions. The relationships are what are really important and that is what we are treated to. In the Wonder Woman 2021 Annual, we got a bit of quiet time between Diana and Etta that showed how their friendship works. In Wonder Woman #782 we get to see Steve and Diana in a relatable game of phone tag complete with dropped calls. (Oh, and there’s a marvelous segue between subplots as the scene switches from Diana to Dr. Psycho utilizing the metaphor of a dropped phone call to describe a fuzzy psychic connection). It reminds the reader that Diana has a very human and identifiable side as well. It’s not all public appearances, superheroics and international intrigue. Steve hasn’t always been a staple of the supporting cast, but since the often maligned New 52 (see the New 52 issues of Justice League), Steve has been an important part of Diana’s life and after so many years of being sidelined, he finally feels like he’s Diana’s equal.
More Positives (Woo woo!)
Marcio Takara brings a beautiful look to the title, often creating textures that remind one of the work of Mike Perkins (see The Swamp Thing). This issue does provide the opportunity to depict a wide array of facial expressions, and Takara rises to the occasion, handling, exhaustion, madness, determination and concern with equal skill.
The second feature that leads to “The Trial of the Amazons” adds a bit of intrigue at the end that suggests some serious fall out (again) between the Themiscyrian Amazons and those of Bana-Mighdall. Ayala touches upon it at the opening of the chapter and by the end it appears that it will become a serious issue as we get closer to the event.
No…there’s so many positives it’s hard to mention them all!
Wonder Woman #782 is a fine example of why this title has been so good. We not only get multiple plot elements that are “connected,” but the characters never get shortchanged. It’s balanced. Plus, there’s just enough of Wonder Woman’s history intertwined to make it feel classic while also being new.