In some ways, it feels like Wonder Woman is biding its time for something, and not in a particularly exciting way. Several of the beats here feel like they have been reused from last issue already, with only a few sequences really feeling like they’ve been given proper forward momentum.
This feeling starts to set in right away as the first few pages seem to contradict what the final pages of last issue told us. The idea of Max Lord possibly not being responsible for Diana’s troubles (or at least some of them) is an interesting one. The story almost seems to be leaning towards making him something of a Hannibal Lecter figure; a necessary evil to be consulted.
I absolutely adore Mariko Tamaki’s characterization of Max and Diana in this scene. He’s so impossibly confident that he either is innocent or knows he won’t be caught. Either way, it feels exactly right for the character and justifies so much of Diana’s dismissive anger.
What doesn’t quite seem right is the following scene in which Etta Candy tells Diana that Max Lord couldn’t be involved in the recent chaos that Diana has seen. Diana doesn’t seem to buy it, but she just takes off in a huff. No followup questions, no nothing. It does feel like an odd excuse for the book to back off of last issue’s cliffhanger and slow down a bit.
The interactions with Diana’s new neighbor feel largely similar to the previous issue as well. The conversation drifts around the subject of what exactly Diana does for a living and we get a few new details about young Emma’s sad backstory (although, given what DC’s September solicitations tell us, we can’t even be sure any of this is true). It’s a nice scene that again shows Diana’s more personable side, but it does feel like it largely serves the same function as last week’s scenes involving Emma.
Likewise, the sequence involving the mind-controlled construction worker feels like a doubling down of the vehicular perils of last issue. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a strong moment, however. In particular, the way Mikel Janin illustrates the poor man crumpled in fear as he snaps out of his stupor is very effective. Still, it does feel like a lot of this issue is restating what we just read.
The final scenes are seriously impressive, with panels that seem to slash across the page in the same way that Diana is seemingly dealing with her enemies. Jordie Bellaire’s colors also make this sequence really pop; it feels simultaneously graceful and graphic, without showing much in the way of gore. We’ve seen Diana mow through these particular fiends before, but it feels genuinely vicious this time.
This final action sequence is the highlight of the issue and sets the stage for some serious consequences for Diana. While much of this issue felt like it was a bit of a retread, the promise of those final pages are enough to recommend this issue.
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