Note: we’re doing all our DC reviews in separate posts starting this week. To find the reviews of all the other issues from November 15 and previous weeks, check our index.
Wonder Woman/Conan #3 – Gail Simone, Writer; Aaron Lopresti, Penciller; Matt Ryan, Inker; Wendy Broome, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Terrific Teamwork!
Ray: One of the strongest crossover events in recent years continues with an issue that shows us Wonder Woman and Conan as we rarely see them – Conan as vulnerable, kind, and lovestruck; and Diana as unsure and rebellious. The childhood years of both characters are rarely delived into, so setting all the flashback segments during their earliest meetings is what gives this series such a unique vibe. The issue opens with a reunion between them in their early teens, as Diana has made the decision to leave her tribe and head off to a life of adventure. But in the present day, she’s without her memories, and she and Conan are battling to survive against an army of sharks. The segment aboard the collapsing pirate ship is among the best of the series.
Once Conan and Diana survive by killing a shark and riding its body until they find a plank, they soon find themselves drifting across the sea endlessly, and this gives them time to sort out the issues from their last meeting. There’s a lot more talking this issue than you’d expect from an issue about two warriors, but we’ve never seen a Wonder Woman who wants to reject her destiny before, and it adds an interesting angle to her younger years. But then the main villains of the series, the Corvidae, show up, and the issue takes a dramatic zigzag into some great fantasy horror. This is a book that fully embraces the fantasy elements of both Conan and Wonder Woman, pitting them against gruesome and fearsome enemies, with a huge scale battle developing but grounded in some great character work. This is the kind of crossover we need more of.
Corrina: Yes, I smiled at the in-joke of Simone adding sharks, yet again, to her work, though these are not kings. But the in-jokes are simply a bonus to this excellent mini-series, which manages to show us a new side to each character and yet still keep Conan and Diana their essential selves.
For instance, the moment when they’re ordered to battle to the death and both decide, without consultation, that they’ll never follow orders. Diana, because she’s so much herself, even without memories, and Conan because he’s just that ornery. Though the series so far is set in Conan’s fantasy world, I suspect the Corvidae may have origins in Diana’s mythological world. They make terrific villains, in any case, with just the right amount of evil and a hint of pathos in their hints as to what is at stake in manipulating Diana and Conan into battle.
But, still, my favorite segments are the flashbacks. If you had told me first that a story of tween/teen Diana and Conan becoming friends and falling into first love would be part of this story, I would have been skeptical. But it works because it allows Conan to be humanized, and provides some insight into young Diana. (If she really is that young girl, which may not be true at all. I would be surprised to see a swerve pulled at the end.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.