Wonder Woman #36 review

The Justice League gathers when water of tidal wave proportions kills thousands of people in Thailand and Ecuador. Wonder Woman finds Swamp Thing at one of the scenes of devastation and attacks, accusing him of mass murder. When Aquaman counsels calm, Diana explains that she just doesn’t know where her head is at…

The new creative team of Meredith and David Finch certainly makes an impression with their first issue. Most immediately, it’s the art of penciller David Finch – working with inker Richard Friend and
colourist Sonia Oback – which grabs the attention: the sturdy, not super-sexy Diana established by previous mainstay artist Cliff Chiang is replaced by a mega-curvy, doll-faced creature. The action sequences are confident, reflecting the immense anger of Wonder Woman. And the team gives us fantastic hands and the best Amazon crone ever.


Sadly, Diana comes across as a moron, attacking Swamp Thing when nearby teammates Aquaman and Superman know the man monster, know that he’s not going to have committed genocide. Sure, she comes out with the ‘so many responsibilities’ speech – which does act as a bit of a recap for any new readers – but she may as well have said ‘the first issue needed a big fight’ for all the sense the encounter makes.

I do like Meredith Finch’s handling of Swamp Thing, a patient presence amid a sea of melodrama – he’ll take some crap, but only so much, and he’s every bit as powerful as Diana. Aquaman, too, comes across as a mature hero.

But Diana? She’s regressed from where previous writer Brian Azzarello left her; yes, she had a sea of responsibilities, but she had the solidity of character to deal with them. Here she’s worrying about juggling priorities like some wannabe domestic goddess and using them as an excuse to get hysterical, taking out her anger on those who don’t deserve it. I can see what Meredith Finch is likely going for – a Diana who eventually shows just how much she can handle – but editors David Pīna and Matt Idelson might have taken the inexperienced comics writer in hand and advised a more subtle approach.

And never mind ‘might’, they certainly should have taken the proverbial blue pencil to the opening pages, a cod-poetic meditation on water and what it means to us. The idea of showing the devastation of floods and transitioning to Diana isn’t terrible, but the narration is obvious and cringeworthy.

The same can be said for some of the dialogue, with the phrase ‘vegetative injustice’ set to become a meme any moment now. As for Diana clutching the teddy bear found at the scene of tragedy, it’s cliched to say the least.

If Diana has too much on her plate, the same can be said of Meredith Finch. Dealing with Wonder Woman’s status as a Leaguer, goddess, leader … it may be too much. One of these areas would be enough to make for an intriguing first issue. I give credit for not simply throwing out the Azzarello/Chiang plotlines, such as the integration of the new male Amazons onto Paradise Island, but going their own way for awhile might have been best for the Finches and the book alike.

Still, it’s just the first issue. There are bound to be teething problems. Let’s hope they’re quickly worked through and this new Wonder Woman run becomes a creative success.

13 thoughts on “Wonder Woman #36 review

  1. Subtle not at all, is it.
    Not at all subtle.
    And that scene with the teddy bear just was SO crass – reminded me of those anti-bombing protestors who deliberately 'plant' a teddy or a doll on a bomb-site to show the folly of war.
    Not a good first issue, lets hope it gets better on from here.
    And Diana's look remedied me of one of those Bratz dolls, all big head and pouting insouciance.


  2. I agree Karl: The teddy bear bit was ridiculous. It reminded me of Linus and his security blanket as he tries to make sense of the world. Martin: I agree, she came across as an idiot. Yet compared to how she was written in Superman/Wonder Woman this week? This, mho, was Proust.


  3. Is Diana in danger of becoming the new Barbra Streisand? I only ask cause in the film The Mirror Has Two Faces she stipulated in her contract that she can only be filmed from her right side only [check it and see, its the oddest thing in films ever, you never see her left side] and from this opening issue Diana seems incapable of turning left[!].


  4. I, for one, won't stick around for this baby to have teeth. Here's what I wrote over on my own space:

    Wonder Woman by Meredith Finch, David Finch and Richard Friend. Brian Azzarello's WW story lasted too long, we can agree on that, but having recently read his final issue (#35), it ends with a beautiful statement about who Wonder Woman is, attacking directly the notion of her as a weak and unwritable character is she's at all interested in mercy, love and/or submission. It should have acted as a an essay on how to go forward with Diana. It did not. We all had a good eye-roll over David Finch's comments about Wonder Woman not being “a feminist exactly”, and the appointment of his wife as writer, with her few T&A comics credits, didn't inspire confidence, but how did it actually turn out? Like the train wreck we thought it would, actually. In the story, we have Wonder Woman taking a shower for a page and a half, hanging with the Justice League so she can play second fiddle to the guys, and fighting Swamp Thing without provocation like the thoughtless fist she's now become (until the much smarter guys point out her mistake, naturally). If plotting isn't Meredith Finch's strength, then maybe scripting is? Well, Twitter had a good long chuckle at Diana's “What vegetative injustice was worth so many lives?!” 'nuff said. As for the art, I still struggle to understand why Finch is a star. His expressions are ugly (one Amazon looks like Gollum, for example), his Wonder Woman has spindly arms and looks tiny (from the nose, I'd say he's basing her on Sarah Michelle Gellar), and his splash pages make the story a short read indeed. But even if he starts missing deadlines (that's his thing), it's not like anyone can really salvage his better half's scripts.
    Keep reading? NOOOOOOOO. We went from a well-respected writer, an awesome artist (on about half the issues) and a unique take on the character's world to a virtual unknown, a star artist with delusions of quality, cookie-cutter superhero action, and a Wonder Woman that better not be the template for what the movies end up doing with her. Just awful.

    As you can see, I REALLY didn't like it.


  5. Thanks for sharing your review, cystoid. It's hard to argue which anything in there really – I suspect that if this next issue isn't really improved, I will actually be dropping off the book. Again.


  6. Ugh, that pouty face! Yikes.

    And I'm sorry, but while WW would never storm into battle with him, and while I'm all for giving Swamp Thing props, WW should clean him up. She should break those 'plant tentacles' that grab her, no prob. This is someone near Superman's level, after all.


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