I’ve never cared for the character of Diana or the stories about her. All that changed when G. Willow Wilson took on the writing duties in 2018. With artist Cary Nord, she delved into the complex themes revolving around deities in the modern world in an intelligent, entertaining way (AHEM Zack Snyder).
Unfortunately, this recent issue is a frustrating one since it retains the positives of previous installments, but suffers from logical gaps.
If you remember, Steve Trevor was being escorted by a band of mythological beasts to an unknown master who likely had ill intent on their minds for Diana’s hubby. In fact, one creature said Steve was their only way to “get home.” In an exciting twist last issue, the mystery master turned out to be Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love. What’s her mission? Nothing. Why did she want Steve Trevor? No reason. Why are these creatures working/worshiping her? No reason given. Do these grunts even say anything? Not really. In fact, Aphrodite’s whole MO is to do nothing because love has lost all meaning to her — at least, until Trevor gives her a quick pep talk, which suddenly drives her to join him and Wonder Woman.
There’s a way to write effective stories with mysterious elements and dubious character motivations. But it has to feel intentional and logical. Aphrodite and her minions are a hot mess that really brings the whole arc into question.
This schizophrenic, ill-thought out character work also translates to Ares. I won’t spoil what he does in this issue or his role, but it’s yet another 180 from his last sudden ideological turn. I can understand if Wilson wants to play into the idea of Greek gods being fickle like in the Homeric myths–but if you’re doing that, make it logical and fleshed-out. Instead, their mood swings feel more like Wilson doesn’t know where she’s taking this story.
While I’ve enjoyed Nord’s art, Xermanico is far superior. There’s a grace and elegance to his interiors that reminds me of Joelle Jones. Yet, the attention to detail for the characters’ faces and the delicate linework is reminiscent of Lee Weeks. Diana’s compassion, Are’s rage, and Aphrodite’s breezy indifference are amplified to brilliant heights with such nuanced work.
As for our leads, Diana and Steve Trevor, they continue to impress as our heroes. Diana’s overflowing altruism helps her stand out as a unique character, and although Steve’s pep-talk to Aphrodite doesn’t work that well narratively, it’s a compelling speech that reflects a lot of personality and maturity to the character. In terms of theme, Diana has a piercing line where she questions how gods can be trusted if they’re as flawed as humans, a statement likewise echoed by Aphrodite.
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