After seeing how badass Wonder Woman is going to be in the movies in Batman v Superman I can’t help but wonder if sales of her book will skyrocket. Her theme alone (which I recommend playing when she fights in the comic) should get you amped up for this issue.
Is it good?
Wonder Woman #51 (DC Comics)
The official issue description reads:
Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island and the Tartarus Pit in her quest to save baby Zeke. But as she betrays those she loves in her struggle to save Olympus, she slips closer to an abyss in which she may lose Wonder Woman entirely!
Why does this book matter?
Love it or hate it Meredith Finch has written in a style that feels genuine to Diana. She’s living amongst gods (literally) and her story has become much more complicated, with much higher stakes than ever. Set in the Tartarus Pit, this issue is all about Diana seeing things that mess with her mind. That means self-reflection and some potentially great character development.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
As Wonder Woman wanders the pit she sees things that truly scare her, which allows Finch to use great dramatic shifts in story from page to page. That makes this a page turner for sure as we see Diana reflect on how she was bullied as a child, to the potential future she could have had with Superman, and a direct conflict with her mother Hera. Finch uses the illusions Wonder Woman faces to put her through a bit of therapy basically, and that leads to a fruitful encounter with Hera that progresses their relationship.
The art by Miguel Mendonca works well, especially in the dank and sometimes evil looking Tartarus Pit. One double page spread (seen below) has what looks like sharp-toothed demons reaching out for Wonder Woman. Apparently if you angered the gods your soul looks like a lobster-red demon. Mendonca continues to bring the creepy throughout, with a truly horrific looking Zola and a charming Superman one minute, flipping to a haunting Superman in another. In one panel Wonder Woman looks incredibly heroic and badass as she grips her lasso determined to exit the pit and kick butt. It’s an empowering panel with a fantastic shine on the metal choker Wonder Woman wears.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue suffers from one of the most frustrating tropes in fiction: “It was all a dream.” Much of what happens isn’t real, and while we get to see how Diana reflects on dramatic moments and fears, I’m not so sure it’s all that lasting. Her encounter with Hera certainly feels important though, although what the heck is she even doing in the pit is beyond me. It doesn’t help matters that Hera goes from wanting to kill Wonder Woman to the women bonding. It feels a bit false and makes the issue a bit wonky in nature.
Here. We. Go.
Is It Good?
If you ever wanted to take a look into Wonder Woman’s head and see her darkest fears, this is your issue. While the quick dramatic shifts in story are satisfying, the issue as a whole doesn’t do quite enough to warrant must-buy status.