Finally. It’s Part 5 of Rise of the Olympian and at last the Olympian does indeed rise. It happens in a fine sequence that shows Zeus at his creepy best, laying down the law about what type of champion the reborn Achilles will be (I’m assuming it’s the Achilles of classical Greece, following a comment from Zeus about him not being ‘of your time’). He won’t, unlike Diana, offer words of piece – he’ll bring down the warmongers with force.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t yet meet Diana. She’s still busy in the aftermath of the Genocide battle, desperately trying to find the missing Etta Candy. She gets one step closer via a confrontation with Cheetah, who masterminded the inhuman creature’s creation. Gail Simone writes Cheetah up a storm – at first. Then her defiance is replaced by whining as Diana picks her up by the tail. It seems way out of character for Cheetah to be perturbed by something as small as a cut face from Diana, but the cat creature squeals like a pig even before Diana comes up with a terribly creative threat. Maybe she’s playing Wonder Woman, or maybe it’s cat skittishness. Whatever, the moment gave me pause.
And I wasn’t too keen on Diana’s rage issues, I’ve had enough of her being unsure of herself. She’s been a warrior long enough to control her feelings, not become the berserker. I suppose this could be a legacy of the recent Ends of the Earth storyline, or linked to the loss of her lasso. In which case, I should probably just shut up . . .
. . . as if. Things that were just plain great included the courage of Etta, the renewed friendship with Steve Trevor, the fact that Diana inspires fear even in the super-villain Phobia, Felix Faust auditioning for Dragon’s Den (‘I’m out’) and Diana’s eagle soaring as she channelled her anger at the Secret Society HQ. Best of all, the Amazons are back on Paradise Island and united – let’s hope they form a cavalry for Diana soon.
The question the issue leaves me with came with this panel. Has the post-Crisis origin been tweaked, so that Steve Trevor did indeed have romantic feelings towards Diana? The last we heard, the extra years he gained meant he looked on her as a younger sister, and was drawn instead to the also-older Etta. It certainly looks as if a sub-plot is being born.
Yes, there’s a lot going on this month but penciller Aaron Lopresti, inker Matt Ryan and colourist Brad Anderson make the script sing; the storytelling is clear, with a side-helping of style. I especially appreciated the lasso panel borders at the start, Diana’s battle with the Society, the summoning of Achilles and the goofiness of Felix Faust pulling his overcoat on over his evil mage robes. Lopresti also gives us one of his best covers yet, with help from the Hi-Fi folk – I expect that’s the trade paperback image.
So, another excellent issue, congrats to the creatives, including new (or at least, just noticed by me) editor Elizabeth Gehrlein. I can’t deny I’m impatient for the final battle with Genocide, and the first encounter with the Olympian, but hey, I like my stories two or three issues tops – I’m old school. Six-eight months for a story (see also Gail’s Secret Six book) – even a great one – is the type of thing that could have me moving to trades.