Wonder Woman #762 review

The people of Washington DC are having dangerous hallucinations. Crazed by visions, individuals are attacking others, driving moving vehicles into crowds and more.

The only people preventing complete chaos is Wonder Woman… and Max Lord? The heroine’s former enemy has been using his mental ‘push’ power to make victims stop seeing the lies they’re being fed.

Still Diana doesn’t trust him.

As the villain behind the attacks forces a military man to take her to Diana and Max, the latter tells Diana he really has changed.

Now that’s a turn I like – the Max Lord of current canon, who has apparently had more run-ins with Wonder Woman than the one which ended in her ending him, has seen the light. A look at his other, multiversal lives, has put him on the path of righteousness. Apparently.

I do hope that’s true. The villainous turn which saw him kill Blue Beetle was never convincing, but it was damaging, taking not just Ted Kord and, ultimately, himself off the board, but tainting the entire history of the much-loved Bwaa-Ha-Ha Justice League.

I’m less delighted with how much space is wasted this issue. The first three sides are Diana musing on what lies mean to Amazons. A two-page spread shows Diana playing Bullets and Bracelets, something she’s been doing since 1941.

Pages are used to show the influence of stupidly named new villain Liar Liar which basically repeat what we’ve seen over the past several issues. The final page ‘shocker’ is basically the same as last issue’s.

I gave writer Mariko Tamaki’s first issue of Wonder Woman, a few months back, a big thumbs up. It was fast paced, refreshing, fun. This issue and the previous three, though, have used a lot of space to move the story forward very little. A two-page spread of Amazons riding into battle to illustrate the idea that deceit is a useful tactic? The same again for bullets and bracelets? Yes, it’s a cool move, but it’s a Diana default.

Remember the days when comic book writers would give us the A plot, the B plot which often developed into an A plot, and subplots featuring supporting characters? Remember how much Silver Age writers could do in 8 pages, or their Bronze Age successors in 12? I realise I’m not going to win the decompression battle at this juncture, but for crying out loud, one new plot point in 20 pages is pretty poor. This comic cost $3.99 and takes five minutes to read.

So yes, it’s great that Maxwell Lord may be being ‘de-villainised’ – he could be in cahoots with Liar Liar – but a bit more would be nice. I know the talented Tamaki can do it.

Carlo Barberi, whose work I’ve enjoyed since his Impulse days, brings a lot of energy to the pencils, and Matt Santorelli’s inks are sharp. The layouts are terrific – I especially like the montages, despite Max looking overly young at times – and the bit players full of character. Still, this new run was sold on the back of Mikel Janín drawing the book, and he vanished after two issues… does anyone know if he’s coming back?

Oh, and I hate the current Etta Candy design, she’s more like Mr T than the fun-loving, body positive gal of old.

The colours of Alejandro Sanchez are solid, and the letters of Pat Brosseau more characterful than most. David Marquez and Sanchez’s cover is fun, though misleading… which isn’t inappropriate for this storyline, I suppose.

So, not an unenjoyable issue, but there’s an awful lot of ‘been there, done that’. Hopefully this storyline will wrap up soon, with plenty of incident before the end.

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