The Star Sapphires need Wonder Woman’s help to battle a dark god.
In all honesty I’m not keeping up with Wonder Woman right now, but when I heard the Star Sapphires would be in this issue, I was beyond excited. If you know me, you know that the Star Sapphires are my favorite characters in the entire world. To see Diana join them again, even if I’m not too happy with the run at the moment, is really exciting for me and the other two and half Star Sapphire fans in the world. Not to fanboy too hard here, but the Star Sapphires have always been rich and interesting with many facets to examine, and it deeply saddens me that, out of all the colored corps they have definitely had the least amount of stories and exploration.
I may have set my hopes too high for this issue, and it’s not just because my favorite Sapphire, Carol Ferris’, lack of involvement was handwaved away with no other explanation than she’s “unavailable.” The main conflict here involves one of the dark gods that invaded after Dark Knights Metal and that Diana has been discovering in the pages of Wonder Woman, has shown up on the Star Sapphires’ homeworld, Zamaron. The Sapphires have tried to fight the dark god of love, Karnell, and lost many of their own in the battle, which is why they basically kidnapped Diana to come help them.
Frankly, what lost me on this issue is that the weird rhetoric Karnell was spewing about love was just empty, as well as the way Diana ended up beating him being equally as empty. I get it’s an annual and that you have to tell a full story for annual purposes, but Karnell’s “all love is conditional” and Diana beating him and then just being like “I beat you because I love you,” made absolutely no sense in any capacity. If there had been more time to develop this, or frankly, if Robinson was just a better writer, it wouldn’t seem so clunky and hand-wavy. The Sapphires were just a prop in this issue for Robinson’s main story, and as much as I hate to say it, they didn’t need to be there.
The art alternates between Marc Laming for the main parts of the story, and Frazier Irving for flashbacks and more artsy aspects of the story. Laming’s art gets the job done, but it’s lacking a certain oomph to give it any memorable aspects. Irving, on the other hand, has always been one of my favorite, more esoteric artists since his work on Marvel’s Silent War miniseries, and his parts of this issue on their own were beautiful while still striking dread in my heart, as his stuff usually does. The problem comes in when you place it next to Laming’s traditional house style and call it a day. There was no fluidity to the transitions, and I don’t really get why Irving was used in the first place. If there weren’t time constraints with Laming’s schedule, he should have done the whole issue so as to avoid these jarring juxtapositions. On a good note, Diana’s new Star Sapphire outfit is really well-designed.
At the end of the day, this issue was a huge letdown. The Sapphires, like I said earlier, are so versatile, so to see them done dirty once again gives me little hope for their future. The weird climax and philosophical musing about love that just didn’t make sense, dragged this issue to the pits of hell. Even the Star Sapphires can’t save this run from itself, as it continues its death march to its end.