Wonder Woman #759 begins with a quick refresher on Diana’s history, touching on some of the highlights of her recent history and showing us a bit of how the world views her. Tamaki treats this issue as though it could be anyone’s first issue of Wonder Woman, but also doesn’t over-explain things. It’s a nice balance that allows new readers to catch up, but doesn’t burden longtime fans with an overabundance of exposition.
While we get to see Wonder Woman throw down a good amount in this issue, it also serves as a lighthearted introduction to her character in some respects. I’m always a sucker for the fish-out-of-water stuff, so there were some sweet comedic beats that really worked for me here.
Mikel Janin’s artwork is splendid throughout. The action sequences look great, particularly during the vignettes at the beginning of the issue that show Diana facing down dinosaurs and some of her greatest enemies. However, outside of the action scenes, this issue thrives in the small details. Small character moments are rendered beautifully — Diana kicking off her shoes to chase after a van on foot, the uncertain face of the man who just watched his mind-controlled wife put their child in danger, Maxwell Lord’s utterly relaxed pose when staring down the strongest woman on Earth.
Tamaki and Janin are already working so well together to bring their vision of Diana to the page. Jordie Bellaire’s colors bring the same vibrance to every sequence as with her work on Batgirl. Everything feels simultaneously modern and classic, which perfectly fits Diana as a character.
There are a few moments in the book that feel like they could use some more clarification, particularly for new readers. Diana’s mission sending her into the super max prison doesn’t feel like it’s been properly set up, but that could perhaps be illuminated further in later issues. As it stands, it feels a bit jarring in both tone and structure, going from one set piece to the next. It occasionally feels like this issue is a little bit overstuffed, attempting to get readers up to speed, then introduce new characters, then bring in the new big bad. Each of these segments are done well, but putting them all into one issue makes does make it feel a little cramped at times.
Still, the choice to bring back Maxwell Lord just in time to tie into the upcoming (hopefully) Wonder Woman 1984 is a smart one. New readers will not only get a solid introduction to Diana’s status quo, but they’ll get a solid and intimidating introduction to one of the Justice League’s most persistent foes.
Also of note is the title of the issue’s story, “I Walk the Line.” Given the fact that Max is the narrator of this story, it’s hard not to wonder if this title refers to how he views Diana and the other people he has controlled. After all, the preceding line in Johnny and June Carter Cash’s classic song is “Because you’re mine.” And that’s a chilling thought to consider, coming from Max.
This issue does a fantastic job of focusing on all of Diana’s best qualities. I particularly love the sequence at the furniture shop that shows Diana’s naive and more practical side. It humanizes her just in time for us (and her new friend) to see her do something incredible. There’s a sweetness to her throughout that makes her more intense moments feel all the more intentional and striking.
The final pages are brutal in a way that I didn’t entirely expect, but it should set the tone for how this arc is going to play out. The ending of this issue should have longtime fans and new readers excited to see what comes next.