Wonder Woman #772 continues down the series’ path of being essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the new DC Omniverse. Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Travis Moore explore mysteries ranging from Olympus to the Parliament of Trees, and continue to compel readers to dive further into this series. It’s such a welcome change to see Diana taking point on the exploration of the DC Universe as a whole, and this series is a landmark step in establishing her importance to DC’s long and tenured legacy.
Cloonan and Conrad continue establishing an exciting world and mystery for the Princess of the Amazons, characterized by its great pacing, fresh supporting cast and compelling setting. It’s here that some of those qualities become stumbling blocks. In an attempt to keep up with the book’s established pacing, it feels as if Cloonan and Conrad manufacture an extra story beat, an extra interaction with Thor, which feels pointless. It then itself suffers from an inconsistent interpretation of Thor, who tucks tail from his former unsavory attitude and turns begrudgingly face for this unnecessary interlude.
That structure, though, allows the book to recover incredibly quickly from the misstep. Each and every other story beat is on point, exciting, and moves the story forward in worthwhile ways. Whether it’s the story’s opening which wraps up the side quest to Nidhogg, the final tease of a battle to come or the issues big surprise reveal, story beats are used effectively and excitingly.
While the issue does suffer from the misinterpretation of Thor early on, it builds up and develops characters like Odin and Dr. Psycho in ways that give the story and Diana’s relationships with them more depth. These interactions give the story more intrigue than had previously been established, and compel the reader to want to see more.
Cloonan and Conrad take time out of this issue to address the long-held concern of some readers that might see certain interpretations of Diana as too violent or bloodthirsty. It’s a direct rebuttal of that interpretation, which might act as a warning for Diana’s future, a refutation of her current path or a manifestation of Dr. Psycho’s view of Wonder Woman. None is specifically correct, and the layers available in this one interaction are truly a testament to the intelligence of this script.
In the same breath it must be mentioned that elements of the story can be at times insufficiently explained. Often, a specific character is finding themselves present to interact with our protagonists and it isn’t entirely clear how they have that power. It’s something that again fits to the story beats the authors are trying to hit, but doesn’t entirely work in the way it is portrayed.
In a similar vein, Travis Moore is putting out more incredible work this week, but it’s suffering from some small inconsistencies such as some unusually blank backgrounds. It’s a small nitpick, but when the work is as consistently strong as Moore’s has been here it’s somewhat necessary to make.
Other than that, Moore brings the same exciting and epic sense of design to the table he’s showcased the whole book. It stands out particularly strongly on the last splash page, where Moore’s work begs readers to come back to the next installment. He also delivers a compelling, and off-putting design for the book’s evil Diana, which is featured on the issues cover. It’s a design that fits perfectly within the book’s production, as well as Diana’s journey into the more mystical side of the DCU in recent years.
The action continues to thunder across the page under Moore’s pen. Each action scene feels as if it’s a quintessential moment in Diana’s story.
It’s also impossible to discuss Moore’s work without mentioning how impactful the work of Tamra Bonvillain’s colors are. Everything pops, moves and dazzles infinitely more because of the beautiful work she puts in. Whether contrasting bright greens and purples, or blending soft pastels, this is some of the best coloring in comics.
Wonder Woman: Afterworlds is the most exciting Diana story in a decade. It’s incredibly telling that only small nitpicks can be made, and that the worst element of reading it is the worry that the payoff might not land correctly. Cloonan, Conrad, Moore and Bonvillain are crafting one of the best books DC is publishing right now, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
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