Before DC’s two-month Future State event began the company produced a free magazine, with features about the characters. Almost hidden at the bottom of a couple of pages was a timeline, making it clear that different comics were happening in different years.
So although the Gotham-set books all reflect a Bladerunner future, they’re not all happening in the same year. It would be nice if the comics themselves included this information, but no, the stories are presented context free, after a few lines about Death Metal having changed things.
This comic, the timeline says, happens at the end of time – well, sort of, there’s an annoyingly oxymoronic opening caption – but there’s not much information about what’s happened to Diana in between. Man seems to have died out, or left. Diana, with a ring on a chain around her neck, looks to have had a thing for Batman…
A sadly depleted Swamp Thing is her friend.
And she’s grown apart from her Amazon sisters.
The stars say something eeeevil is coming. Diana wants her tribe to go into space, find a new home but while she’s immortal, it seems she’s lost the power to change hearts with inspirational words.
As it turns out, someone very bad indeed is coming. He’s not the ultimate enemy, but is pretty darn scary.
Now that’s an awesome Darkseid, courtesy of Jen Bartel’s full colour illustrations. There’s another amazing outer space image in the issue as Bartel drops a very eerie Bizarro World into the background; maybe that will come up in part two, but if it’s simply an Easter egg, it’s a terrific one, tying this issue to the wider DC Universe. Her valkyrie-style Amazons look formidable, for once the women of Themiscyra aren’t all supermodels. There are a few instances of featureless heads – I ask once more, artists, please remember that a lot of us are reason with guided view.
Bartel’s Diana is stunning. It’s just a shame that so often the script has her seeming defeated by life. Over in Superwoman, Kara is inspired by a dead dog; here, Diana needs a pep talk from a Batman hologram.
We don’t learn what happened to Man, but I suspect they left to avoid Diana’s lectures, with her talk of ‘solipsistic vanity’ and the like. Faring better under writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W Conrad’s is Darkseid; he’s a fearful affair, utterly disdainful of Big Barda and Orion’s warnings about something called The Undoing, not caring what happens to the worlds he once wished to conquer. The Amazon spokeswoman makes a big impression in just a couple of pages, and I hope Cloonan and Conrad have plans for her when they transition to the regular Wonder Woman book. But I really hope they tone down the poetic writing, give Diana some fire, and the humour of the Golden Age heroine.
The final pages show us that Diana isn’t the only 21st-century hero still around, and has me looking forward to next issue. Wonder Woman has her mojo back and kicks cosmic arse in a dynamic fight scene with some of the most explosive sound effects I’ve seen in a while. This is a gorgeous-looking story, by writers who seem to have a big tale to tell, and know how to pace a comic book.
The second story in this issue stars Nubia, Diana’s too-seldom-seen Black sister. LL McKinney’s story opens well, in Atlanta, with Nubia confronting Darkseid’s daughter Grail mid-museum heist. There’s some useful exposition, and the sense of enmity between the two is nicely done.
Penciller Alitha Martinez and inker Mark Morales do an excellent job of showing that Nubia’s fighting style is different to Diana’s, it’s a lot more hands on. I’m not convinced Nubia’s enormous hair is the most practical, but I’m not getting between a woman and her style choices…
Grail is collecting mystic objects, and this particular one gives Nubia some kind of psychic feedback; a vision distracts our heroine, allowing the half-Apokoliptian, half-Amazon harpy to escape.
Something Nubia sees in her head, though, sends her to a club with a more impressive bouncer than most.
The venue is owned by an information broker, someone she knows very well. Meet Auntie Nancy.
Auntie Nancy, Ebony Web… I guess Nubia’s relative is the always knowledgeable spider god Anansi. And her chat with Nubia teases an interesting history, one I’d like to know more about.
McKinnney, Martinez and co have done something I was beginning to think wasn’t possible – made me want to read more about a Future State character. Of course, Nubia isn’t new, but she’s completely refreshed with a different look, relationships and, finally, looks to have a life in Patriarch’s World.
Colourist Emilio Lopez and letterer Becca Carey are both new names to me, and they do a great job. (The Wonder Woman strip is lettered in fine style by veteran Pat Brosseau who, happily, uses a tidier font than some of the spidery ones he’s been choosing of late.)
The cover by Jen Bartel is spiffy, we seldom see Diana in the heavens but she always looks great. Nice new logo, too, courtesy of Darran Robinson.
Edited by Bixie Mathieu and Brittany Holzherr, Immortal Wonder Woman is a fun, vibrant read; I look forward to more work involving Diana’s world from its creators.