Now here's a heartening Christmas gift - the most satisfying Wonder Woman issue in ages. After last issue's lamb to the slaughter impression, our girl gets her groove back, taking on a hell creature with guts and a grin. Writer Gail Simone provides the personality and artistic partners Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan bring forth the warrior with a twinkle in her eye and gleaming lasso in hand.
It's good to see an unexpected courier return Diana's lariat, which has been missing for awhile. It's even better to see her reclaim her gauntlets from scheming Alkyone. I'm not delighted that the recently manifesting lightning power is here officially and indefinitely incorporated into them; Diana has enough inherent abilities and the lariat was also recently given a massive power upgrade. I wouldn't be at all surprised were the still-absent tiara to channel high-definition TV by the time it shows up again. A girl can have too many toys.
We'll see where things go. For now, the wonder bling makes for a flashily fun climax to Diana's tussle with the monstrous Cottus. And that isn't the only climax, with several threads being tied up, including the Olympians and the Ichor, Achilles' tenure as Amazon king, the unification - or at least alliance - of the Amazons and Gargareans, and more. Gail wipes the slate clean and sets up a status quo, something this book has needed for awhile.
The title of the last few issues, Warkiller, had me expecting a big confrontation between Achilles and the governments of the DCU. Instead we saw him embroiled in Alkyone's web. I think, as with this year's lengthy Rise of the Olympian arc - which turned out to be mainly about Genocide - the problem is mistitling rather than lack of interesting story.
It's not all conclusions here, as the Amazon pregnancies storyline progresses nicely. Ares proves himself the world's worst midwife and faithful recitor of Classical poetry. Aaron draws the heck out of this scene, making it my joint favourite, alongside the fierce underwater Diana. Whlle there's an especially appreciated bit of business from Hippolyte here, and Donna, Artemis and dozens of Amazons are also on hand, it's inarguable that Wonder Woman is the star of the show.
So thanks to the already mentioned creatives, along with colourist Brad Anderson and letterer Travis Lanham, for the festive fun. And Merry Christmas to (new, I think) editor Brian Cunningham. Here's hoping for a tremendous 2010.