Thursday, 3 December 2009

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 review

Years ago, Wonder Woman felt forced to snap the neck of friend-turned-foe Max Lord. Courtesy of the Blackest Night crossover, he's back, murdering the innocents of Washington DC, successfully drawing Diana to him. The MO of the Black Lanterns being to feed on the emotions of the living, he thinks Diana's anger is a sure thing.

He gets a surprise as Diana is chock to bursting with the apparently less-attractive feeling of love. Swinging that daft great axe she's generally saddled with for crossovers, she slices off his undead head with sweetness in her heart. Whether it's her general repository of love, or positive feeling for the Max she once knew - Justice League big kahuna and all-around great guy - we're not told. It doesn't matter, as writer Greg Rucka uses the Blackest Night maguffin to underline what Diana is all about.

Greg, who wrote the Wonder Woman book for a few years before the last revamp, shows his gentlemanly nature here by homaging current writer Gail Simone's trademark narration style. He's also good to the reader, not assuming everyone is following either Diana's regular book or the Blackest Night crossover. So Diana recalls how she's been affected by death over the years and we're brought up to speed on what the Black Lanterns are up to. Unfortunately so far as lasting poignancy goes, almost everyone Diana recalls - Artemis, her mother, herself - has been reborn, and Batman is certain to follow. But this is a blockbuster in need of big moments and the many Amazons who have been slaughtered over the years, not least in the Max-inspired Omac business, don't cut it as evocative on-panel images.

That's OK, it all gets us to the meat of the book efficiently, and the terribly enjoyable fight with Max and his mortis mob. There's even a vintage DCU guest, foreshadowed on a background TV screen in an early Blackest Night issue. Standing by Diana and representing the regular folk, once they've been released from Max's malevolent mind control, are two brave members of the Honour Guard.

Nicola Scott, on loan from Secret Six, produces stunning pencils, finished off by a bevy of inkers. Her Diana is alive with determination while the wisecracking Max is still a frightening figure. The fight scenes are refreshingly clear and the storytelling overall spot on.

The issue is topped off with a terrific new splash page legend for Diana, and a horrifically good cover by Greg Horn. One issue in and I'm optimistic this will prove one of the better Blackest Night crossovers by the time the three issues are up.

4 comments:

  1. In spite of the silly ax (a razor sharp tiara, unbreakable bracelets and a lasso that creates a giant wall of flame --hearkening back to the Perez issues!--- aren't enough?!) I really enjoyed this one. Moreso than the issue of the regular series that proceeded it.

    I'd even go so far as to say WW and Secret Six need to do an artist swap. As much as I enjoy Aaron Lopresti's art, it hasn't fully clicked for me on the regular WW book. I think he could blow up huge on Secret Six. Nicola Scott's Wonder Woman was pitch perfect. The simple grace of WW looking up to hear the oncoming rings on page 12 panel 2, or slowly rising above the zombie mob on page 16 panel 2... or tossing the Unknown Soldier over her head on page 18... it just works. As soon as the ax disappeared, Diana stopped being a Red Sonja knockoff and became Wonder Woman again. That's what I want to see, regularly, month after month.

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  2. I'm jealous. This is one of those books I'd definitely be buying, if not for lack of scratch.

    Ah well... learning some patience will do me good.

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  3. I'm happy with Aaron's art on Wondy, Craig, to me it gets better by the month. And I'd really miss Nicola on Secret Six.

    Rob, hope you enjoy the books when you see them.

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  4. I'm happy with Aaron's art on Wondy, Craig, to me it gets better by the month. And I'd really miss Nicola on Secret Six.

    Rob, hope you enjoy the books when you see them.

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