When we last saw Diana in Immortal Wonder Woman #1, she was watching Darkseid attempting to take Kal El down with him in the final moments of the universe. This issue jumps forward untold centuries, after nearly all life in the universe has been snuffed out by The Undoing.
What’s most impressive about this second part is that this story, from writers Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad, feels like it should be all gloom and doom. We’ve seen so many of these “end times” stories that act as an unending parade of sadness, but this story and its protagonist refuses to give up hope. Even when Diana finds one last survivor, she is able to let them go in an act of compassion. The dialogue throughout this issue (both spoken and internal) is a testament to Diana’s endless capacity for love, and it’s easily the highlight here, along with Jen Bartel’s gorgeous artwork.
This issue is significantly less colorful than the previous installment, but this makes the bright moments stick out even more. Working with black backgrounds allows Bartel’s colors to truly pop out of the page, and the eye is drawn even closer to Diana’s poses. Every second of the last several thousand years is etched in Wonder Woman’s face. From the crumbling remains of the Daily Planet to the dazzling display at the end of the issue, it’s clear that Bartel was exactly the person to bring this story to vivid life.
Unfortunately, while I appreciated the tone and themes of the book, a good bit of the actual plot just didn’t work for me here. Nearly every plot thread introduced in the first issue is cast aside here. The showdown between Darkseid and Superman ends rather abruptly. Swamp Thing’s function in the story (and loss) is never quite elaborated on. The Legion of Super-Heroes appear for a single panel that makes it unclear where and when their stand-off with The Undoing occurred. While Diana’s last stand against the darkness makes for a hell of a metaphor, there’s ultimately no explanation for The Undoing. As a result, this half of the tale feels more like a mood piece than a story.
Meanwhile, the Nubia backup story written by L.L. McKinney ended up feeling less like its own tale and more like a setup for future storylines. Even so, there’s a lot to like about this part of the issue, particularly when it comes to further fleshing out Nubia’s world and supporting cast. The dialogue between Nubia and Nancy is also particularly snappy, with both characters dancing around versions of the whole truth.
The story is full of exposition, giving readers more background on the magical artifacts that set Grail’s plot in motion. Even so, a good amount of this half of the book is concerned with the characters posturing and intimidating each other, with the confrontation between Nubia and the villains being almost comically brief after all of the set up. Still, I love that Nubia makes a frequent point of asserting herself as the Wonder Woman, regardless of how her enemies may try to put her down.
This two-parter should pique interest for further Nubia adventures, but I must confess that this was another Future State mini that made me wonder why it was included as part of this event, rather than as its own series launch.
The artwork by Alithia Martinez and the heavy line inking by Mark Morales liven things up a bit, making even the flashbacks feel exciting — particularly thanks to some interesting page layouts. The final dust-up is brief, as I mentioned before, but the posing is striking, particularly in the way that Nubia stands triumphant at the end of the issue. Also of note is the lettering by Becca Carey, who provides some fun and crunchy sound effects.
Both of the stories in this issue do a lot of table setting, but I ultimately felt like I was missing out on major pieces of the puzzle, particularly when compared to the strengths of Immortal Wonder Woman‘s first issue.
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