Due to the influx of Convergence issues, this is the first Wonder Woman title in two months. Can the Finches deliver in this highly anticipated finale and is it good?
Wonder Woman Annual #1 (DC Comics)
This is an extremely important issue to the series for a few reasons. Not only will this mark the first Wonder Woman annual of the New 52 (Well, I guess we’re post-New 52 now, but if not for delays it would have been during), but it’s also the first story arc finale since the Finches assumed their role as the creative team. Their first arc has been a little bumpy to say the least, but with the opportunity to close the volume with an annual, Meredith Finch has some more wiggle room to provide a suitable finish.
The annual begins by closing the storyline involving the parasitic alien species that has burrowed underground for thousands of years and unfortunately that conclusion was one of the most disappointing finishes I’ve ever seen. It was like it was pulled from the animated Justice League show where conflict ends with happy resolutions and everything was just a big misunderstanding. Considering the situation began with Wonder Woman sobbing and trying to kill Swamp Thing, this story line ended on a very, very weak note.
However it’s only a few pages before we turn our attention to Paradise Island where Diana must confront Donna about the murders she committed with the other Amazons. We are finally granted this showdown between the two characters that’s been teased the entire story arc. There is one cool WTF moment within the fight when Donna gets her arm chopped off and simply reattaches it but other than that the fight and the end of the storyline is a little lackluster.
Because it is an annual and the finale of the storyline couldn’t possibly be extended to fill the entire issue, there’s a second half that includes a backstory which I believe is the highlight of the entire issue and possibly story arc as a whole. While it’s still written by Meredith, the art is done by Goran Sudzuka and while it’s vastly different from David Finch’s style, it’s reminiscent of the previous backstory featured in Azarello’s run. The story is about Derinoe, the old woman who initiated Donna Troy’s creation, and explains her motivation for attempting to kill Wonder Woman.
This backstory does an excellent job of outlining Derinoe and Hippolyta’s friendship as well as some history of Paradise Island and the Amazon’s hierarchy. This story is short and pretty simple, but it gives the rest of the story arc some much needed context and actually contributes some emotional resonance. While the rest of the arc has lacked any pathos, this short story does a great job at providing it along with a shocking moment or two like the fact Hippolyta was a lesbian! Woah! I mean we all kind of assume considering it’s an island solely consisting of women, but still!
So where do we go from here? Well this issue was also important because it’s the last issue featuring Wonder Woman’s New 52 outfit as she’ll now get a costume makeover (Which I was hoping to see in this issue, but unfortunately it didn’t make an appearance). Wonder Woman will also be heavily tied into Superman’s “Truth” crossover story now that his identity has been revealed. Out of the three drastic changes to our Trio (Superman’s identity reveal and Batman’s “Death”), Diana’s is certainly the least impactful to her storyline, but it will be interesting to see her involvement in both Truth and Divergence and how it’s reflected in her solo title.
Is It Good?
The second half of the issue helps make the entire arc more meaningful and is some of the better writing by Meredith during this run. However the second piece is not able to make up for the shortcomings of the first half and overall it’s a disappointing finale.