Despite the cover, Genocide doesn't appear in this issue. No complaints from me, as she's had plenty of panel time of late, beating Diana twice, so far. I don't doubt Diana will overcome her in the end; meanwhile, it's good to catch up with other aspects of this storyline.
Namely, Jason and the Zombienauts vs the US Navy; Diana vs the Cheetah; and Zeus vs Polynesian god guy Kane. I've included an image of the latter here just to lift the review. Nothing to do with the buff guy in a loincloth. That's Kane, to whom Diana recently swore fealty to overcome a plot point. I like Kane.
Wonder Woman's clash with the Cheetah is notable for showing just how good Diana is; she does something here no other hero could do, and she does it with confidence. That's the Wonder Woman I want to see, not the doubting soul we've witnessed of late. Mind, the spirit-sapping Genocide can be blamed for that, and we see just how badly she can affect someone in the way Donna Troy acts here, turning on Diana and accusing her of all sorts. Bearing in mind that Donna started out as Diana's mystic twin, we get an idea of just how resilient Diana is. Let's hope Zeus knows this. He'd better, as he's going to get his ass whupped for what he does this issue following his battle with Kane.
A highlight in Gail Simone's script is the return of Steve Trevor, who gives Sarge-Steel-Really-Dr-Psycho a dressing down. And he even remembers that he's married to Etta Candy who, in a lovely piece of characterisation, Diana urges to 'Be strong. Be Amazon'.
The best part of the book, though, is the destruction of the screaming chicken armour Diana donned to face Genocide. It didn't give her much protection and, worst of all, didn't look good in battle. Just look at the estimable Aaron Lopresti's cover - even he can't make the costume look dynamic in movement; it's heavy, clunky, inelegant. It's not a costume for any self-respecting action heroine, it's a posing piece. Great for Alex Ross portraits, but for any other purpose, just pants.
Hey Kids, it's Origins and Omens time again! Despite the fact that Simone told us Diana's origin only last year, the DC-wide mini-stunt demands she do so again. Happily, there's a new wrinkle here, telling us just where Hippolyte got the mud from to make her clay baby, thereby explaining why the rogue Amazons of the Circle consider Diana a dangerous 'dragon'. The set-up has Hippolyte visiting the injured Tom Tresser in hospital (as opposed to helping Diana out, as she's in the area, but hey, this is Stunt Month) and it works well enough but heck, Tom gets about two lines of dialogue and one makes him seem an idiot. If he doesn't start acting like the real Nemesis soon I may have to give up on the guy . . . hopefully he'll be more himself come his featured role in the six-issue Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape.
The art this issue was generally joyous, with some lovely facial expressions. Lopresti close-ups are always marvellous, though smaller figures are sometimes less successful (such as Nemesis on page six and the battling Navy guys on page eight). The big moments, though - such as the appearance of a bothersome behemoth - are pretty special, his Diana is strong and gorgeous and he's pretty competent at drawing gods battling. What seems tough for Lopresti, and inker Matt Ryan, is making the Cheetah look scary. I doubt anyone could, given Terry Dodson's redesign. George Perez created a crazed werecat. Dodson remodelled her as a Las Vegas showgirl. 'Grrr, I am woman, hear me PURR! Or maybe just mewl a little.' Honest, she looks as if she's shaking newly painted nails dry, not primed to slaughter a superheroine. Please DC, go back to the Perez Cheetah, it knocks spots off the current design.
Brad Anderson's colours are spiffy - the post-Genocide scenes are suitable dour, the visit with Kane serene, the origin of Diana intense. And letterer Steve Wands makes a chatty script easy to read.
So, another entertaining issue. Heaven knows why it's called Rise of the Olympian, as we're four issues in and that's been but a tiny part of the storyline, but what the heck, we're in a great run of Wonder Woman and I can't wait to see where we go next.