Wonder Woman #25 review

How many reviews of Wonder Woman have I begun now with, ‘I’m going to give Wonder Woman another try?’ 
Well, it’s anniversary time, the alternating Lies and Truth stories are over and it’s the end of Greg Rucka’s run… how could this issue not be interesting?
It gets off to a terrific start with Diana truly impressive, though strangely guarded, as she proves the MVP in a Justice League battle against Shaggy Man. And it’s all downhill from there. There’s a military intelligence scene with Sasha Bordeaux miserable and forgetful about something – Wikipedia hints that she was possessed by Dr Cyber – and the butchest Etta Candy ever apparently wanting to distance herself from Diana. 
Veronica Cale has an interview with the FBI which no one gets anything out of, especially me… it’s basically two slow, wasted pages. Then Diana visits Veronica, and she doesn’t get Veronica to help either. 
Batman and Superman have words with our heroine, they’re worried, wonder if her odd mood is connected to the fact she doesn’t have the magic lasso with her. She explains that her gods have betrayed her, the boys remind her that she’s really a hopeful soul and should confront her disdainful deities. 
Diana goes and find them – it looks like Athena the owl poops on her – and her anger vanishes because they say that despite lying to her for years, they love her, and give her her lasso back. 
Steve Trevor has decorated Diana’s new house, made a meal and shaved his beard off. He’s really sad about something, but gets to bed Wonder Woman. 
Maybe if I’d read every issue this one would have been satisfying; the comic is certainly pleased with itself, revealing the story title, Perfect, on the final page. But I purchased the first eight, and probably every third one since then, and every issue has proven similarly frustrating. It’s all slow reveal, or no reveal. I still don’t know why the Paradise Island from the Brian Azzarello run has been declared false… what’s that all about? Was Diana miming her visits there, or was there a Rebirth reality check? 
Diana isn’t an attractive character here – she’s cranky, then angry, then dim, and could she not at least have tried a few mouthfuls of Steve’s food before trying a few mouthfuls of Steve… sorry, that’s coarse, but that’s another thing that bugs me, Diana wanting to have sex with Steve when the guy looks like he really needs a hug (maybe he’s sad about being the only major cast member not on the cover). 
And as with his first run, Rucka has Cale be the vaguely annoying ordinary woman immune to Diana’s charm. I suspect we’re meant to find her fascinating. 
I laughed at the scene description here…
Can’t let those pesky comic book readers know the name of a made-up place that’s never appeared previously and will never be seen again, eh?
And how annoying are Diana’s gods, hanging around like extras in a Snow White cartoon when they could be explaining stuff, maybe apologising? 
I did like the panel of Diana literally getting in the ever-smug Cale’s face. Then again, maybe if Diana came down off her floaty metaphorical mountain and stopped looking down on Cale, she might get the assistance she’s after.  
That shot is the work of artist Bilquis Evely, who took over when Nicola Scott left the book; I really enjoy her art, I’m glad she’s gotten a regular gig since the sublime Sugar & Spike mini. Superman’s body language in the scene set… hmm, my notes seem to have a gap… is superb. 
And the more ornate illustrations of Liam Sharp are perfect for Diana’s mythological mission. The two art styles in the one story, though, make for a difficult fit, despite the lovely, gem-like colours of Romulo Fajardo Jr. 
While I still dislike the default expression Diana has worn in this book since DC Rebirth began – she honestly looks dopey, half drunk – Sharp’s cover is gorgeous. A UK gallery currently has his work on display and I applaud them, he’s a terrific illustrator, and only getting better. The second cover, by Jenny Frison, is a stunning portrait – Diana has been blessed with splendid art since this run began (probably there’s a god involved). 
I suppose this is a happy ending. Diana has learned something and made her peace with it. She and Steve are together. And she has a new home shaped like an umbrella. 
But as with every other issue of this series I’ve read, there’s no wow factor. Still, new writer next issue. 
Of course, I shall give it a go. 

8 thoughts on “Wonder Woman #25 review

  1. I think the decision to alternate “Lies/Truth” and “Year One” was a mistake, as it kept killing whatever momentum either story had built. Also, the decision to focus on explaining all of Diana's retcons over the past 25 years meant too much navel-gazing. Just establish her new situation and move on!

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  2. I liked the run on the whole — especially after my mid-run reread, when I read the even numbered issues, followed by the odd ones, to deal with the momentum problem. But I can't say you don't make some good points. I'm very excited to see what Shea Fontana brings next issue.

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  3. I'm glad I dropped this series early on in favour of Tomasi and Gleason's Superman. Rucka's Rebirth Wonder Woman run has been lukewarm overall. The alternating stories really hurt the momentum and pacing of the comic. Readers are still left unsure which origin is true for WW; the original clay origin or the Daughter of Zeus one. And several developments like Cheetah becoming Barbara Minerva again were pointless since Rucka reversed that in a couple of issues. You hit the nail on the head with the ending where despite Diana being ticked off with the gods for jerking her around, suddenly they say they love her and give her lasso back.

    Louis

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  4. It's a real puzzlement. Listening to Rucka interviewed when the series was announced it sounded like he had all the answers; was it wrong to expect them to be laid out before us? Your choice of Superman was a wise one, Louis.

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  5. My feelings about this run have been mixed. On the one hand I enjoyed some of the slower pacing to get into some of the backstories here, but I did also find that the overarching story never really seemed to materialize. The lies and the truth were murky, and the characterization of modern Diana suffered from something many versions of her have in the past, lack of actual characterization. Like in Azzarello's run, Diana sometimes seemed like a supporting character in her own book, at least in the modern sections of the story, while the more innocent, fish out of water Diana in the old stories was much more delightful and seemed to be a real person.

    Characters like Cheetah basically stole the show (and Sharp's version of her was just stupendously dangerous looking) just as characters like Hermes and Lola stole the show in Azzarello's run.

    I think, and this is just my theory, that what Diana is experiencing is the shift in the reality of the DC Universe, and because she has some elements of divinity in her she has experienced it in such a way that she still remembered her previous existence and as it overlayed her current one it cause major confusion in her. Frankly, DC always makes this mistake. They do a “reboot” but they can't ever seem to commit to it 100%. If the New 52 characters were causing them issues, then they should have made a shift that took us from that New 52 Earth to another, explained it as Earths shifting in the Orary and this new Rebirth World taking over as the prime element.

    Sorry, speculation rant there…

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  6. No apology necessary, you made my day with this brilliant idea, Hector, it would fit wonderfully well. If only someone big at DC were reading this, they could make it canon. Oh go on, Geoff…

    More speculation always welcome!

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