Wonder Woman #38 cover

Review – Wonder Woman #38: Hard Pass

Comic Books DC This Week
Wonder Woman #38 cover
Jenny Frison’s gorgeous variant cover. copyright DC Comics

Wonder Woman #38 – James Robinson, Writer; Emanuela Lupacchino, Penciller; Ray McCarthy, Writer; Romulo Fajardo Jr., Colorist


Ray – 3/10

Corrina: ::bangs head on desk::


Ray: So, I’ve had some pretty harsh words for this run of Wonder Woman since the start, finding it an weird mash of old plotlines that kept Diana oddly off-center. But a new arc could turn things around.

Could…but doesn’t in this case.

I found this issue to be quite the drop in quality from last issue’s action-packed finale. The odd thing is, Diana is sort of off-center once again – pushed out of the limelight for a rather unlikable character for the second time. That makes it maybe two or three issues out of this run that actually felt like they were about Diana. But that’s not the main problem here. The main problem is that this new take on Vanessa Kapetalis, aka the Silver Swan, is one of the most off-putting new developments in a Rebirth book that I can remember, feeling more like a poorly-advised subplot for the New 52. So this take on Vanessa is a teenage girl who was disabled in an attack by Major Disaster and saved by Diana.

Instantly, my warning bells went off – do we really need another embittered disabled villain?

But she at first seems to keep a good attitude, and then gets the ability to walk back thanks to nanites. Diana is by her supporting her – but then her mother (Julia Kapetalis, an important Wonder Woman supporting character who doesn’t get a single line here) is killed off-screen, Diana is otherwise occupied, and Vanessa suddenly becomes embittered to the point of being murderous and starts killing the people Diana saves with her new nanite powers. This is just so many bad stock plots thrown into one, and the last thing disabled readers need in the way of representation.

And then there’s the subplot involving Jason crashing at Diana’s apartment, throwing parties, and getting lectured by his twin sister on making something of himself. I’ve seen nothing indicating Jason is a character who needs to exist, and him continuing to pull focus from Diana in her own book is just one of many things this title has gotten wrong over the last few months.

This isn’t a good book, and it’s barely even a Wonder Woman book. I will say the art is the best it’s been in a while, but it’s 100% wasted on this story.

Wonder Woman #38 page 4
Such gorgeous artwork by Lupacchino that’s wasted. Image copyright DC Comics

Corrina: I don’t do this often but


All of it.

This is lousy on many levels. Ray’s touched on most of them but I want to add that nothing concerning Jason has made him remotely interesting or likable or worthy of taking up any space in this comic. Oh, look, he’s gonna through parties like an innocent frat boy. GAH.

Through all of the mess with the supporting characters–oh, great, let’s make another disabled villain–is the fact that Diana herself is off. She’s a shadow of what she should be, at the edges of her own series but even when she comes forward, her dialogue is patronizing, which is the last thing she should ever be. (Remember “Who will sing for us, Charlie?” from the movie? This comic doesn’t.)

Further insult: the story wastes the talent of the wonderful Lupacchino, who has done beautiful work in service of a terrible story.

Please, DC, get a better story direction for Wonder Woman.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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3 thoughts on “Review – Wonder Woman #38: Hard Pass

  1. So Robinson killed Julia Kapatelis, George Perez ‘s most beloved addition to Diana’s friends, off-panel.

    So, to recap: Robinson managed to ruin a classic Wonder Woman villain and two of her classic Perez-era allies in one issue.

    The original reveal that Vanessa Kapatelis was the second Silver Swan was done in a very meta-commentary way about how DC editorial had forced Perez to put less emphasis on Diana’s relationship with the Kapatelis and eventually edged them out of the picture. Vanessa’s accusations of abandonment which led her to become the Silver Swan was basically a recrimination at DC Editorial in the most meta way possible.

    Here, Robinson just uses them as throwaway characters.

    Congratulations, DC, you screwed up the re-introduction of a classic Wonder Woman villain in this new continuity and destroyed any possibility of beefing up Wonder Woman’s supporting cast. Good job.

    1. It kills me that they used Vanessa and Julia in this fashion. They could’ve just as easily used Helen or Valerie (the first and second Silver Swans) in this role without having to off such an important character to Wonder Woman’s mythos like Julia.

      Fans have said it time and time again: Wonder Woman doesn’t really have that many prominent supporting characters and villains. Killing off one that had such an important role in Diana’s history and then making a mockery of another in the same issue is just… ugh.

      And I have yet to see one person who actually *likes* Jason.

  2. Donna Troy is being wrecked over in Titans right now. While Jason gets the spotlight in this book. ARGH.

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