Wonder Woman #37 review

The Amazons are facing increasingly frequent attacks by man-eating metal birds of prey, attracted to Paradise Island looking for their commander, the God of War, and these days, that's Wonder Woman. Diana has been missing the attacks, due to her preoccupation with Man's World. As the latest assault occurs, she's sparring with boyfriend Superman and rebuffing his suggestion she talks about the many things on her mind. Instead, she yells about them. 

Back on Paradise Island, crone-like Amazon Council leader Derinoe, angry at Diana's neglect of her duties as new Themysciran queen, supervises a terrible ritual. A mother - apparently the hag's own daughter - allows herself to be slaughtered by a sorceress, her baby transformed via a stew involving the recently melted Hippolyta statue...

And if you want to know just who the child becomes, I'll get to that in a few paragraphs. It's a big deal.

Talk about surprises. Not just the character who shows up on the final page - and Lord knows, that was unexpected - but how much I enjoyed this issue. Yes, Diana is still a tad whiny, moaning about a clutch of responsibilities rather than prioritising and giving something up - I have sympathy with the Amazon Council when they demand she step up, or abdicate - but that's just one 
scene. The rest of the book is filled with an engaging atmosphere of dark unease as Diana's problems come home to roost. Said issues are literally embodied in the metal rocs that pounce on Paradise Island, birds Diana should, if she focuses, be able to control. But instead, she rushes off on Justice League business - remember the floods from last month? 

As I said, the Council has a point.

Not that any of it excuses the horrific ritual in which Derinoe partakes, along with a witch with an anti-Diana agenda and a terrifying look - that's a great design from artist David Finch, her head spikes recalling the Statue of Liberty, and the Silver Age Wonder Queen. And the result of the ritual?

The birth, fully grown, of Donna Troy.

One of the most beloved characters among longtime DC fans makes her New 52 entrance. She's obviously intended to be foe rather than friend, but will she wind up a heroine? You can bet on a sales bump next issue.

Meanwhile, congratulations to writer Meredith Finch for a massive improvement on her first script. This issue's second chapter of War-Torn is more focused in its plotting, not so melodramatic in its narration. The dialogue is less self-conscious. A problem with the statuesque Hippolyta is addressed. I'm genuinely gripped by the situation. Sure, an anti-Diana ritual by rogue amazons has been done previously, but when your lead character is in her eighth decade, situations are going to re-occur. It's all about the approach, and story and art mesh extremely well.

Penciller David Finch and inker Richard Friend's Diana looks less creepily doll-like than last month, no longer the startled child, more a full-grown woman who actually has a brain. There are some fine portraits throughout the issue, with a variety of Amazon faces, and the cheesecake quotient has gone down (Diana still has barrage balloon breasts, and the debuting Donna gets them too). 

I was surprised that Diana apparently stops to change into armour as the metal birds are attacking ... or can she do that magically now? Whatever the case, it's great to see Finch nod directly to the chest eagle Diana wore for decades. The birds themselves look superb, while the settings are often sensational - I particularly like the council chamber. Colourist Sonia Oback brings real atmosphere to the pages and Dezi Sienty's lettering is pleasingly precise. I don't know if editors David Pīna and Matt Idelson are behind the improvements this month, but I enjoyed the comic, so well done to them too.

Diana looks better inside than on the cover, which would likely have been done awhile before the interior art - and that's one ugly claw our heroine has.

If Wonder Woman continues to get better by the month, I'll be one happy kanga. Meanwhile, I'm itching to see what the new deal with Donna Troy is. 


  1. Mart, enjoyed the review and I'm glad you're finally liking the main Wonder Woman magazine, but so far I've had a big 'meh' to the new team's run. The art's nice but unlike the previous run it doesn't seem to distinguish itself from the usual 'over-stylized realism' mainstream of comics art. And, if possible, the story seems to be moving along slower than the previous run, essentially we've had two issues of WW fretting about all her many responsibilities (I don't pick up on such things with male iconic characters, for example Batman fretting that he's got too much to do given being Gotham's Dark Knight Protector, saving the world/sparring with Luthor in the JL, hunting for the corpse of his son, etc.). I found the sacrifice/Troy subplot to be equal parts incoherent and ghastly attempt to shock which is too typical of comics today.

    To each his own, of course ;) Keep up the good work, and happy holidays!

    1. And all the best for the season to you too! It's fair enough that this isn't your cup of tea - I'm certainly not declaring it a classic run after two issues, just noting that this issue was a definite improvement on the previous one.

  2. Batman might not be the best example to compare Diana to. Like Wolverine, suspension of disbelief in him being everywhere would be hurt by pointing it out in story. I like what the Finches have done so far. I'll never get too excited about Mister Finch's art but the Mrs. has been very smart so far. The whole 'too busy' thing feels to me like Mrs. Finch looked at what she was inheriting and latched on to an angle she could relate to, having way too much on one's plate. It's also very smart to start the return of the inexplicably popular Donna Troy two issues into her run.

    1. I think Donna's popularity is a holdover from the Seventies and the New Teen Titans' early days, where was comparatively uncomplicated in background and characters. Let's see how long before the new version is totally mired in baggage ...

  3. Donna's back? Martin, you keep making me want to look at things I later regret :)

    That Amazon witch looks rather like a cenobite to me, and can't say the Amazons still being a bunch of murdery baby-killers (sacrificers, whatever) doesn't sit well.

    Not terribly taken by the open-midriff cheerleader armour either.

    But Donna Troy... have to take a look

    1. Don't read it, best to hang on to the idea that you MIGHT like it...

  4. In WW#36, Diana had a memory of looking at a dark-haired infant as Hippolyta watched. Could Donna Troy be Hippolyta's second Love Child with Zeus? Stolen in infancy and presumed dead?

  5. I wouldn't put it past DC. For now, I've packed the comic in again, it's just too dispiriting.


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