Wonder Woman #772 review

On a quest for a magic key, Diana has allowed herself to be swallowed by Nidhogg, the snake that surrounds the World Tree of Norse mythology. She’s confident she can find the key and get out again, but hasn’t factored in the fact that when it comes to stomach acid, the bile of a mystical serpent takes some beating.

The surprising positive that emerges before Diana wakes – she’s in Asgard, where death is a phase – is that an old friend is so frustrated by her unwillingness to head to the ‘right’ Afterlife, they help out.

Diana wakes, escapes the proverbial belly of the beast, and is soon back with the Norse warriors who spend their days fighting and their nights drinking.

Diana’s Valhalla vacation continues in fine style in Wonder Woman #772, with page after gorgeous page of drama, mystery and humour. Diana’s memories of her earlier life begin to return, the identity of the Amazing Amazon’s shadowy friend is revealed – called it! – and there’s the DC debut of Norse sea god Njord, who has the most impressive hairdo this side of Marvel’s Medusa.

We also meet that shadow self from the cover, a delightfully leering dark Diana.

And, if you look closely, you’ll see that someone is stalking Wonder Woman and her squirrel pal Ratatosk.

It’s hard not to gush about the Afterworlds story by Michael W Conrad and Becky Cloonan, of which this is part 3. It’s a massively enjoyable romp replete with colourful characters, and seeing Diana plunged tiara-first into a mythology other than the familiar Graeco-Roman realm is hugely refreshing. And while Diana is mostly having a whale of a time, smiling broadly in the face of death after death after death, there is an element of self-discovery to her journey.

The artwork by Travis Moore is, again, beautiful – not pretty pretty, there’s plenty of gnarliness where called for – but it’s certainly a feast for the eyes (singular, if you’re Odin). The Asgardian creatures are real horrors, the Norse warriors terribly manly, and Thor – oh, how I love DC’s Thor. I wonder if I can persuade the creative team to pitch a mini, it’s not like Marvel owns the guy!

Tamra Bonvillain’s wintry palette makes the snow scenes and enchanted forest extremely enticing, it’s Diana meets Narnia, while the spooky reds for the encounter with ‘the God Queen of Asgard’, set against her blue skin, is seriously unsettling. And when Diana makes an entrance like no other, the greens are suitably sickening.

Pat Brosseau’s lettering is a tour de force of fantastic fonts, never showy for the sake of it, always sitting sympathetically against the art.

This chapter ends on a note of, appropriately enough, wonder – I am really looking forward to seeing what comes next.

The back-up strip, Young Diana, has really grown on me; suddenly I’m seeing the massive tonal shift between lead story and support act as a feature, not a bug. The tween princess, like the older Diana up front, is on a quest, to find a book of knowledge that’s gone missing from the library of Themyscira. And that involves…

…megaladons! Everything is better with megalodons. And again, there’s an element of learning for Diana, courtesy of writer Jordie Bellaire, who keeps things easy breezy.

Paulina Ganucheau’s storybook-style art is perfect for the fantasy setting, I especially love the Mykonos vibe to the architecture and, well, megalodons! Kendall Goode’s colours add an extra layer of loveliness, while Becca Carey has fun with a scene of Diana rambling away, giving us the Incredible Shrinking Font.

The chapter ends of a quiet cliffhanger, one that has me looking forward to seeing what comes next. With luck, the mystery manipulator, the person keeping secrets, won’t – for once – be the usual suspect.

I haven’t mentioned the cover by Moore and Bonvillain but what is there to say – just look at that beauty!

I hope the current Wonder Woman creative team sticks around awhile, this is the most fun Diana has been in years. Anyone for an Annual?

8 thoughts on “Wonder Woman #772 review

  1. I agree with your thoughts – and “romp” is a good word. I think I like the humor here more than the other elements – they keep it lively even when the story lags a bit. The comedic tone strikes me just right.

    The art is really excellent.

    So, they went back to the sword joke from #770. There, the joke was that a sword named “gram” couldn’t be all that “impressive.” Now it’s just a “large” sword, and Diana comments on the size joke. Anyway, at least their reuse of the joke kind of clarifies what they were going for the first time. It’s a dumb joke, but really it’s just part of the farcical tone they are looking for. Heck, they even threw in a vomit joke where the serpent throws up simply from the suggestion that it might. I’m not fond of vomit jokes, but I know some people who always find them funny.

    Has anyone slipped on a banana peel yet? We’ll probably see that eventually.

    Yours is the only review I’ve seen so far that even MENTIONS the backup story. I like it, though I don’t know who the audience is. Doesn’t it belong in a DC Kids graphic novel? The story is cute, but why do we need it? Is anyone buying Wonder Woman because it has a backup? And would anyone drop the book if it lost the backup? It seems irrelevant. But that’s true for most of the new DC backups.

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    1. I wonder if people are skipping the back-up. I’m far too mean – DC has stung me for it, so I’m reading it, so I’m commenting. It reminds me a little of that extended DC digital young Wonder Woman story who’d name escapes me of a few years back, by a husband and wide team. What was that again…

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      1. The husband/wife WW connection rings a bell. I’m thinking of a DC GN for kids – do you mean Dean and Shannon Hale? They wrote Diana: Princess of the Amazon, from January 2020. I didn’t read it, but try to keep track of those releases. I see they also wrote a story in Wonder Woman 750. (Drawn by Riley Rossmo, an unusual writer/artist matchup.)

        https :// comicbookroundup . com/comic-books/writer-artist/dean-hale

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  2. This arc IS fun. It reminds me a little, in that, of Gail Simone’s run, where she was very geared toward a bit of levity and whimsy. And she also did a wintry sword-and-sorcery arc, if I recall correctly.

    It’s a good question, who’s the audience for the backup. Maybe it will be collected into a volume aimed squarely at the youngsters, but I’m enjoying it just fine. Eight pages a chapter is about my appetite for it, too.

    I do wonder what the collection plan is with the backups. Many would be an even odder fit in a TPB than in the singles.

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    1. Excellent observation on the Simone WW run, boy, I’d love to see those Gorilla City boys again! As for the back ups, perhaps DC will do a slim volume – I can’t see them being around long.

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