Writer: Meredith Finch
Penciller: David Finch
Collects Wonder Woman #36-40, Wonder Woman Annual #1
I think we can all agree that Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang set a pretty high bar with their run on Wonder Woman. Not only was it arguably one of the best runs exploring the character ever, it was also one of the best books of The New 52, period. DC did what any publisher would do upon their exit and enlisted a superstar creator in the form of artist extraordinaire David Finch, who is joined by his wordsmith wife, Meredith.
The best thing about this book is obviously David’s art. It’s insanely detailed and is his best work since his days on Batman: The Dark Knight. He is indeed a master of visual storytelling. Much like The Dark Knight, there are instances of characters showing up seemingly for no reason other than for David to draw them. I mean, it’s not really that bad of a thing when you think about it, but Swamp Thing doesn’t really do much aside from popping in so Wonder Woman can smack him around in the opening chapter.
The writing, however, while not bad, is a little inconsistent. It often feels like you’re reading two separate comic books. The previous creative team focused on the drama involving the Greek Gods, whereas this one divides time between Wonder Woman’s Justice League duties and her life as Queen of Themyscira and God of War. I do get their intention of showing Diana trying to balance her responsibilities and how they affect her, but the latter duties are explored much better. Showing how her progressive ways cause much consternation among her Amazon sisters made for a much more compelling and entertaining read than her helping the Justice League investigate missing villagers which leads to them finding a marooned alien society beneath the Earth’s surface. Yeah. It feels entirely disconnected from everything else going on and left me befuddled.
One of the major points of interest of this volume happens to be that it includes The New 52 introduction of Donna Troy. I guess it’s up to you as the reader to decide how to react to this. Personally, I’ve never been into Donna, so it didn’t matter much to me that this iteration is Donna Troy in name only. She’s created via a grisly ritual and is pretty much the villain of the piece. I absolutely understand if this upsets you. On the positive side, Diana’s dialogue during the climactic battle (and the rest of the book, for that matter) is pretty damn good and character defining.
There is a backup story included that chronicles Hippolyta’s rise to queen and shows why men were banned from Themyscira, along with giving insight on Derinoe’s vendetta. It’s wonderfully illustrated by Goran Sudzuka, who worked with Azzarello here and there on the previous run, and fills in some historical gaps. Other supplemental material includes variant cover and sketch galleries.
I believe I stated in a past review that Wonder Woman has been a title that I’ve been keeping up with in collected editions as opposed to individual monthly issues. I have been consistently enjoying the title and while this debut from the Finches falls short of the previous creative team, I’ll probably read at least one more volume to see where things go. Had things focused solely on Themyscira and not the weird Justice League adventures as stated earlier, I would have given this book a higher score. I must be honest and grade this book for what it is: an entertaining, yet inconsistent read that is probably worth a purchase for the artwork alone.