Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wonder Woman #613 review

It's part 842 of the Odyssey story and the finish line is in sight. In this issue, Diana fights Nemesis, goddess of Exposition. Clad in Diana's original form - the star-spangled heroine of the regular DC Universe - Nemesis battles the new model we've been following for the past year.

And finally, readers get answers. As she fights NuDiana, Nemesis talks. And talks and talks. Her narrative reveals that Regular Diana confronted witch trio the Morrigan, having learned they planned to attack Themiscyra, but it turns out they wanted her to know, to get her close enough for Nemesis to take her over. The convoluted plan of the Goddess of Retribution was to use Wonder Woman's power to kill Humanity, so that Man can War No More and pesky dead people quit crying out for vengeance. Can't a goddess get some peace?

The logic's not great - kill everyone at once and everyone will cry out at once, for your blood. And that really will be an Olympian-sized headache.

Still, the plan went ahead with one niggle - as revealed a few months back, the Fates broke off a sliver of Diana's soul and placed it in a pocket world, to protect her essence. And now that Diana, weathered by a series of trials, is taking on Nemesis, armed with less power but an overwhelming love of humanity, a knowledge that her cause is right.

And she wins, cleverly reuniting herself with the form inhabited by Nemesis, tossing the goddess out in time for next issue's finale.

Huge credit to scripter Phil Hester for making sense of the J Michael Straczynski Odyssey storyline here. Like the Fates, he weaves together the disparate, frankly messy, parts of this run into some semblance of sense. NuDiana's constant losses? That was Nemesis and the Morrigan: 'We hounded you into Man's World, knowing their murderous ways would turn you bitter.' That NuDiana prevailed shows her for the heroine she's meant to be, the woman she once was. And it's in this issue's conflict that, even before reunification with her true form, we finally see the complete Wonder Woman - brave, resourceful, compassionate.

And while the talky fight scene might make for a boring read in other hands, Hester's a good enough writer to keep the interest going by ensuring pencillers Don Kramer and Travis Moore have interesting moments to bring to life. And his script is strong throughout, especially in NuDiana's thoughts on the shades that surround her. The flashback scene is suitably dramatic, while the present day match between NuDiana and TrueDiana/Nemesis is clear and engaging, culminating in a nice splash of Wonder Woman declaring that she's back.

I could do without the bloodiness, mind - Diana is gutted twice this issue, but hey, comics are for kids and kids these days are gruesome little buggers.

Overall, this is the best-looking issue in a while, with the two pencillers, and inkers Wayne Faucher, Walden Wong and Drew Geraci, seemingly working towards a common goal. Lordy, Diana's new costume, now that those awful arm straps have settled down, is even looking good to me (certainly better than the first post-Flashpoint visuals).

And the cover is dynamite, with Lee Garbett, Dave Meikis and Paul Mounts producing a gorgeous, fierce image.

One more issue to go, and based on previous form, it's not a given that we'll get a second consecutive enjoyable instalment. But I live in hope.


8 comments:

  1. I missed the "brave, resourceful, compassionate" part. Where was that again?

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  2. I think he meant the part where NuDi let herself get skewered in order to get close enough to show her the piece of thread she had in her pocket. (Thats why she needed pants!)

    Once again, Mart, your review is infinitely more entertaining than the book itself.

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  3. To me, the issue was basically a clash between Diana the warrior and Diana the woman. Basically, the side of her that broke Max's neck versus the side of her that shook off the Black Lantern and became a Star Sapphire. It's all being played out here...

    Shame there's going to be a not-reboot soon, just when the storyline starts to actually make sense again...

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  4. You're right that Hester brings some coherence to the script, but the plot itself is complete hogwash. You can smell JMS on the pretentiousness of it all.

    For me, the only pages that looked good were Moore's. He somehow managed to do with both Wonder Women what Kramer has been unable to: Make her/them look anything but top-heavy.

    As for the Nemesis-purging finale, I call foul. The Diana "sliver" finally becomes a complete Wonder Woman again, and she chooses the sliver costume?! Come on! We might at least have had one last issue in the classic costume before the DCU reboots.

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  5. Excellent point, it should have been the classic.

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  6. Carol, if you don't see what I'm thinking of, I won't be able to persuade you here :)

    Boston, thank you!

    I like your way of thinking, Anon - sharp!

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  7. This entire storyline has been a massive waste of time.

    I don't think there's anything to like in this issue at all. It's a hasty cobbled together way to try to bring this mess to an end. It's rubbish.

    More here!
    http://bottlecityofkanga.blogspot.com/2011/07/wonder-woman-613-sorry-saga-continues.html

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  8. No arguing with the overall waste of time comment, And, but as a unit this wasn't at all bad.

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