Wonder Woman #36 (DC Comics)
Story : Meredith Finch
Art : David Finch (pencils), Richard Friend (inks), Sonia Oback (colours) and Sal Cipriano (letters)
Wonder Woman is one of the “Big 3” of DC Comics and rightfully so – she is THE female powerhouse and one of the most iconic characters amongst both comics fans and non-fans.
So it was great for fans to see her get a great comic with the 35 issues preceding this one that was acclaimed by fans and critics alike after a lot of hits and misses for the Amazin’ Amazon!
Those are some pretty big shoes to fill for anyone and the spotlight can be even more harsh when it’s someone who is NOT a known comic creative as is the case here with Meredith Finch. Her husband who takes on art is a familiar name to readers but it was her story-telling ability that was most going to be under scrutiny.
Till now we saw Diana revealed as a(nother) child of Zeus, given the mantle of God of War, became Queen of the Amazons and decreed that the exiled Amazon men would be brought back into the fold of Paradise Island – amongst a great many other details.
SO, this issue comes in with a load of story-telling potential and many threads to play with and seeds planted that can be nurtured and harvested – and in fairness to her, Finch does a decent enough job hitting all the beats, touching on many of the things I recounted above and Diana’s increasing burden. We get to see her both with the Justice League and briefly with the Amazons back home and a cliff-hanger shocker closing page that is undoubtedly meant to lead to some mystery evil coming for her and all that.
The problem is that while the beats are all struck along the way, I did not find a resonance with the Diana character. It did not feel like the so strongly established character that we have been reading for the past 3 years, it doesn’t help that there is a stark change in visual thanks to Davids’ art style and the choice to recreate Diana as a skinnier, less imposing and impressive figure and to change her face which under the previous art team had more decidedly (in an excellent choice!) Greek features that allowed a feel of the ancient Greek art and sculpture. She felt like a Grecian Goddess wherever she was placed and now she seems like a model in cosplay.
Add in the choices like her utterly unprovoked and “leap-first” attack on Swamp Thing, her dialogues pretty much the entire time and other details and I was left quite displeased with the characterisations in the story – even the scene of her and Aquaman talking together could have been expanded to a meaningful conversation as the King of Atlantis (and all the worlds oceans!) would help her deal with her growing burdens but instead ended up being a cliched whine-fest on her part with nothing worthwhile from him except some cliches that to me fell flat.
I’ve already commented on my dislike for the way David Finch pencils our heroine, though in fairness to the man except for that choice, the overall quality of artwork is pretty good. It’s helped in HUGE part by the inks and shadow-work and Sonia Oback does a really good job (though a wee bit too dark for my liking) with the colours. Yet again, we have a comic that stood out both in story and visuals from the entire line of DC’s comics in which even the art seems like it’s now trying to toe the company style/line, which is fine but is a step backward.
Overall the comic is fine enough, albeit more than a little underwhelming, but would I recommend it to those like me who enjoyed the previous run? No.
STORY: 2 / 10
ART: 5 / 10
SCORE: 4.5 / 10