After last month’s shocking cliffhanger, this issue gets into how Diana proceeds with heroics when she’s not sure if she can trust herself. The results are a bit of a mixed bag.
Right off the bat, I love the way Etta responds to the situation. In so many of these “mind-controlled superhero” stories, we see people react with immediate distrust toward the heroes we’ve seen them supporting for years. It’s great to see that Etta immediately knows Diana wasn’t in charge of this situation, and instead tries to figure out what Diana thought was happening.
However, when Etta tells Diana that the Parademon attack from last issue wasn’t real, it’s kind of hard to swallow Diana’s reaction of “How is that possible?” The previous two issues have seen Diana face off with multiple people reacting to things that aren’t there. She’s also come face to face with Maxwell Lord recently, a guy who literally makes people do things they don’t want to do. In other words, it seems absurdly naive of Diana to react in this way.
However, the following moments of Diana completely refusing to believe her eyes feels more in-line with her character. She immediately begins telling herself to remain calm, which isn’t the easiest thing when faced with a hallucination of one of her greatest foes. This sequence shows a solid understanding of the character from Tamaki. This inner strength is 100% backed up by the art, which depicts Diana furrowing her brow and clenching first fists so tightly that they begin to tremble.
This kind of strong but subtle imagery is present throughout the issue, showing just how hard Diana is trying to keep things under control. Carlo Barberi’s lines and Matt Santorelli’s inks really bring things into focus at all points in this issue, even during the more frenetic moments. Alejandro Sanchez’s colors are darker than we’ve seen in the past few issues, but there are some interesting ways in which the art team switch things up here and there. In particular, a series of panels showing people using a mysterious new app have a softer focus, with colors to match.
Much of the issue feels like setup for a larger set piece to come, but it’s still pretty intriguing stuff. There’s some solid character work throughout. The argument between Wonder Woman and Maxwell Lord is a loaded one, showing us just how much distrust there still is between them. The looks back at previous battles are much appreciated, catching readers up on the most pertinent parts of their post-Rebirth history. This is how you do exposition right.
Despite some odd pacing issues and the fact that Wonder Woman starts the issue acting somewhat out of character, this was an interesting chapter with a bit of thrilling heroics right at the end. It gives readers a satisfying reason why Diana isn’t currently behind bars, one that perfectly fits Etta Candy’s character and her relationship with Diana. It also cleverly introduces a new threat — one that was previously spoiled by DC’s solicits, but that’s not something to hold against the issue itself.