Written By: Meredith Finch
Art By: David Finch, Johnny Desjardins, & Miguel Mendonca
Inks By: Scott Hanna & Sandu Florea
Color Art By: Brad Anderson & Stephen Downer
DC’s run of double sized anniversary issues continues this week with two anniversary books hitting the stands. The bigger of the titles, Batman, will be reviewed on this site in another piece, but here I’ll take a look at the 50th issue of Wonder Woman. One of my favorite books when the New 52 launched, I’ve been on and off since the change in creative team. This issue was the first I’ve picked up in quite a while, and it’s not looking like I’ll be back until the book relaunches this coming summer.
When I read some of Meredith Finch’s earlier work on Wonder Woman, I wasn’t blown away, but it was still a fairly solid script. This issue was rough. The narration boxes seemed to come right out of the 1960’s in explaining what was happening in the panel, and the dialogue was very tired. Overall, the whole issue seemed very overwritten, and page to page was getting tough to follow from the large amount of flowery exposition. You could really tell her prose background in this issue because of this. Essentially, Wonder Woman is attempting to cure a sick Zeke, who is the new king of Olympus, by retrieving these Orbs. These orbs, according to the God Hecate, are suppose to have the cure, but it remains unclear if the cure is actually there. The actions of the issue, from Wonder Woman meeting some Cyclops, to a fight with the God Ares (more on that later), and to a battle with Typhoeus, the father of monsters, was really disjointed. In addition to this, we get a back up story on Donna Troy, the new Fate. This is what really drew me out of the issue. The whole story circles around her battle to save a boy, after seeing what his fate will be in a boat. While she does, it ultimately proves for naught, the the child dies a day later due to an unrelated matter. This story was a real slog, and the ending was extremely abrupt. I get the Fate motif, but having that death lead to the death of a man who has done some horrible crime, and the a resolution therein, is extremely convenient. I’m being so harsh because I know Finch has done better work, and this is uncharacteristic.
Moving onto the art, I found myself pretty in the middle on it. While I didn’t think any of it was particularly bad, it looked a little unfinished and stiff. The stiffness I’ve come to expect with Finch, but the heavy rendering that usually comes with him wasn’t there here, excluding some double page spreads. My biggest point of contention was in the rendering of Ares. In the Azzarello/Chiang run, Ares was an old man, usually seen drinking. Here, he’s in his more traditional, viking like look. I understand Ares had significantly changed after the previous run, but this brought it back to a familiar that drew me out. If it was a totally different design, kind of like the Hecate design (which was at least to me) I wouldn’t mind as much. It soured me on his whole sequence. The back-up story art was much the same, middle of the road. The layouts were different, but it maintained a sense of stiffness. That said, the art was definitely the stronger half of this book.
I tend to think that Wonder Woman is one of my favorite DC characters, and maybe that explains this viscerally strong negative reaction. That, and this was an oversized issue that was actually a standard issue and a back up. After this issue, the relaunch cannot come fast enough.
1.5 Serpents out of 5