Wonder Woman 23 review

The Ends of the Earth storyline concludes with Diana battling nasty demon chap D’grath in Washington while her barbarian allies remain in whichever sword and sorcery dimension they were in last month. I think it was that of Claw the Unconquered, but one sword and sorcery scenario is much like any another to me, Mart the Uninterested.

That’s just detail, what matters is that we were given an interesting battle; as a diehard ‘get on with the fisticuffs so we can move on to the soap’ fella, it takes a lot to keep my attention during a fight. Writer Gail Simone managed it here, by having Diana fight against herself too, her soul having been stolen by a plot contrivance. Diana’s internal monologue complemented her battle banter with the fiery fella nicely. Diana gets a tad worthy at times – as a news copter comes too close and is thwacked by a demon, she thinks: “Thus we see the danger of mistaking a lust for base titillation with a lust for true knowledge.” But, there are moments of levity too, my favourite funny this time being: “Every swordlackey and would-be assassin on three worlds has called me whatever the local slang is for ‘strumpet.’ “

Scenes back at Diana’s flat, in which Donna persuades Nemesis that she’s friend, not foe, were likewise a decent blend of light and shade. I enjoyed these moments as much as those featuring Diana – when Donna is written correctly she’s just plain fun, the solid superheroine next door. Diana, while capable of wit, as mentioned above, doesn’t feel as approachable. Diana feels born to majesty, like Princess Anne, whereas Donna is more like Fergie, the fun-loving gal who married into the firm. I like them both, for different reasons.

Mind, we see here that Donna can do royal every bit as well as Diana, kneeling before Nemesis and making a sacred vow that she’s. y’know, his pal. Diana, meanwhile, uses her royalty as a prelude to kicking Demon Guy’s arse (character names with apostrophes don’t half get on my nerves – give us a vowel, for crying out loud! The only one I can ever remember is that New Titan woman, Curryand’r).

Those nice houseguests of Diana’s are still on the scene, making me laugh. God knows how Diana’s downstairs numbers don’t notice the sound of half a dozen big apes bounding around . ..

The final fate of the demon is different, to say the least; I was expecting him to be sent to a Dark Dimension for All-Time (about two years, max), but no, he’s dispatched by Diana, Claw, Beowulf and Stalker, and no mistake). Good on Gail for making me think about the nastiness involved in killing a foe, even a demon lord.

There was an apparent disconnect. Maybe I’m reading without comprehension, but in one scene Oracle, the Witch Queen seems ready to kill Beowulf and Claw. Next time we see them, they’re all getting along fine. Please, someone explain!

The end of the book sees a somewhat smaller demon spying on Diana. At first I thought it was boring old Etrigan, but this one actually looks hairier. Maybe it’s one of those guys from Trinity. Or maybe not!

Anyway, this has been an enjoyable few issues. I’m going to read them together, and fill in the odd blank in my brain. And look again at Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan’s art, which has been simply spectacular. You want possessed princess? No problem. Gorilla pruning secret agent? Of course. Imposing demon? How big? There seems to be no scene this pair can’t make look great, whether it’s quiet or action-packed. Even the transitions between scenes are smartly handled, with swords and skeletons lining the borders of new scenes.

They’re helped by the vivid colours of Brad Anderson, and letters of Travis Lanham, who does a great line in demon-font.

Simone, Lopresti and co have become a Wonder Team Supreme – kudos to them, and editors Matt Idelson and Nachie Castro for running the show. It’s great to have a solid Wonder Woman book, after years of instability.

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