Diana ventures into the Graveyard of the Gods in the most recent issue of Wonder Woman. Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan and Andy MacDonald draft the newest depictions of DC’s Greek Gods, while giving readers their first real look at Janus, the series’ villain. How will Ratatosk and Deadman factor into this adventure, and what whimsical mishaps lead Diana into the world of the Faere?
Wonder Woman #775 is an exhibition in this series’ worst qualities. Diana comes across as largely unaware and thoughtless during her trip into the Graveyard of the Gods. There’s a brazenness that overtakes every other element of her character, and whittles her down into a singular note. This is compounded by her still simply not being that smart, and the supposition that grade school riddles are meant to be an adequate challenge to a character who is supposed to be one of the smartest in the DCU.
Secondly, the team makes the very odd choice to use Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s depiction of the gods from Wonder Woman (2011), yet they go out of their way to whitewash them. Literally the blue, green, purple, etc. gods are all reimagined as similarly looking but altogether caucasian for no reason. This is of course except for those characters whose appearances are changed entirely into something Hellenistic, sometimes despite appearing in Chiang’s design just pages earlier.
Furthermore, one might come away from this issue with the impression that not much of anything has happened, as resurrecting all of the gods a singular issue after the reader has found out they’re dead means there’s almost no status quo change. It was a weird pacing decision in a series which has traditionally had great pacing.
Truthfully, the book isn’t just all that well written in a few different places. Whether characters are hamfisted or deliberately unlikable, it can be a slog to get through.
This isn’t to say there are no positive qualities. The overall mystery is still inherently compelling, and the few pages readers spend with Janus are the best in the issue. It’s entirely possible that element of the series takes over and it sees a pretty strong recovery. There are also characters such as Ratatosk and Deadman which, while having little to do with this issue, maintain their charm.
Eagle-eyed readers might also notice a neat call out to the gods of the Martians as a certain character visits Lesser Ma’aleca’andra, which is a fun reference one might not expect.
Next, MacDonald really struggles to bring back most of the positive elements of his art from the last issue. Throughout, the line work is a lot choppier and less steady. His form, and perspective fall apart on certain pages, and specifically in certain action shots.
Environments can often be dull, with little detail past what is immediately necessary in the foreground. And designs can be inconsistent, especially in the case of the Greek gods. It’s sad to say that MacDonald’s work does partially contribute to the book being a bit of a slog to get through.
Nick Filardi on the other hand is still delivering really solid colors throughout. It’s exciting to see the emotion of his work poor through some of the shakier line work and still be able to elicit some amount of feeling in the reader. This is easily the strongest part of the book.
It’s a shame to see this book seemingly fall off so hard, especially after such a strong and intriguing start. What once seemed like it would be an inventive story that explored the Sphere of the Gods and found intriguing ways to incorporate Diana’s rogues gallery, now feels like a story propped up by a gimmick. One can hope that Conrad and Cloonan have something special up their sleeves to reverse course here.
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