If you haven’t been reading Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman and you call yourself a DC fan you need to reassess your life. After last month’s conclusion of Azzarello’s run with Wonder Woman #35, the God of War received a new wife and husband creative time in writer Meredith Finch (Tales from Oz #2) and artist David Finch (Forever Evil).
Now this is a very anticipated literary changing of the guard not only because it involves a member of the trinity, but also due to the transition from Azzarello’s success to a writer who doesn’t have much experience under her belt. In a matter of months, Meredith has gone from writing some Grimm Fairy Tale issues to one of DC’s most popular New 52 series. Needless to say, all eyes are on her.
So coming off the series success and it’s incredibly long thirty-five issue long story arc, can the couple live up to the hype and create a fresh look for the goddess? Is it good?
Wonder Woman #36 (DC Comics)
For the last thirty-five issues we were given a very mythological-based portrayal of Diana whose actions stemmed from the basic concepts of truth, trust, and forgiveness. In an interview, Meredith stated that she wanted to take Wonder Woman in slightly new, more modern, direction by incorporating the goddess’ role as a humanitarian and a symbol of love. This is quite evident as the issue begins with an explanation of water’s role as both a generous and destructive force. The plot of this issue revolves around the destruction of villages in various locations around the world where the ground seems to have swallowed the structures and inhabitants and replaced the area with lush vegetation. This reasonably makes Swamp Thing a prime suspect and allows a few pages for Holland’s guest appearance.
In fact, when it comes to guest appearances, the entire justice league makes cameos in this issue within a mind blowing two-page spread (I’ll get to the art in a bit). This definitely serves as evidence towards Meredith’s emphasis on moving Wonder Woman towards DC’s current events and incorporating her role as a member of the Justice League. Wonder Woman even mentions her relationship with Clark and the fact he’s just recently recovered from the Doomsday episode. (How’s that for current?) Other plotlines that have been picked up from the previous story arc is the lasting distaste for men on Paradise Island and the wavering loyalty the Amazons have towards Wonder Woman. Also, as you’ll be able to tell from the second page, Diana’s mother is still made of stone/clay/obviously-not-alive. In the epic finale last issue, did her mother really just come back for the battle with First Born via Zeus-Baby powers? That’s a bit unclear.
Some other concerns I have for the series derive from Meredith’s interview comments where she states Wonder Woman is absolutely a feminist icon. I’m also on the fence about calling her a symbol of love, but when you use the F-word (Feminism), you start playing with fire. Now I’m all for female empowerment and I believe Wonder Woman is an excellent medium for an audience that isn’t addressed in other DC titles such as Deathstroke or Lobo. However, when you actually verbalize and equate Wonder Woman as a feminist, you’re now packaging the series with a new set of expectations from a very specific audience with clearly defined standards as to what a “true feminist” is/should be. I’m uneasy, but I’m not going to freak out about it. And that goes with pursuing this humanitarian side of Wonder Woman as well. Yes she’s a very empathetic superhero, but if you go too far with the empathy she just turns into Captain Planet (Man I miss that show.)
But let’s talk about this art. I saw David Finch at the San Diego Comic Con this year promoting this very issue and he is a man of few words. However, when you draw as well as he does, it makes sense to let your art do the talking. This issue is straight-up beautiful. While I definitely enjoyed Chiang’s work, this is a fresh look at Diana and there are some pages where it’ll almost quite literally take your breath away. I have to give a shout out to both inker, Richard Friend, and colorist, Sonia Oback, who completely deserve get their names on the cover because they do an excellent job. Every page is so vivid and with Finch’s angles and the shading, the panels have a three-dimensional quality about them. There are a couple of two-page spreads that you could spend a number of minutes gazing over, one that’s included right above.
Is It Good?
Wow. This issue is definitely something that will have the people talking. This is a great jumping on point in the series that sets the tone for Meredith’s new direction. It’s too early to voice an opinion on the direction of the series, but the writing in this immediate issue is quite good and the artwork deserves to be hung up and made into posters. Buckle your seatbelts, this is going to be one hell of a ride.