Wonder Woman #750 – Steve Orlando, Gail Simone, Mariko Tamaki, Greg Rucka, Kami Garcia, Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Marguerite Bennett, Vita Ayala, Scott Snyder, Writers; Colleen Doran, Elena Casagrande, Nicola Scott, Riley Rossmo, Laura Braga, Amancay Nahuelpan, Bryan Hitch, Artists; Jesus Merino, Phil Hester, Pencillers; Vicente Cifunentes, Ande Parks, Inkers; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Hi-Fi, Sunny Gho, Trish Mulvihill, Ivan Plascencia, Jay David Ramos, Mike Spicer, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: An Excellent Celebration Issue!
Ray: DC has back-to-back successes with the #1000 issues of Action Comics and Detective Comics, and they’re not going to let a good trend to go to waste. They’re now doing Wonder Woman #750 and Flash #750 with the same profile – an anthology of stories featuring all-star creators from the last few decades of the character – and soon after one-shots featuring Robin, Joker, and Catwoman for the 80th anniversary of those characters. The 100-page volumes for 9.99 are good value for the price, but issues like this are only as strong as the talent involved. So how does Wonder Woman’s issue stack up against the competition?
Corrina: Wonder Woman #750 is a fitting celebration for the Amazon Princess. There are some tales I liked better than others but no clunkers or even just so-so stories. However, I have to stop here and point out of that of the 28 creators credited above, seventeen are men. Which means men created the majority of this anniversary issue.
Yet, still, that’s more than the minuscule percentage of female or LGBTQA+ or creators of color creators who were in Action Comics #1000 or Detective Comics #1000.
To even the scales, shouldn’t straight whie male creators have less than ten percent of Wonder Woman #750? /sarcasm.
The real answer is that DC Comic still need to do far better in this area, not just for women, but for other traditionally marginalized creators, even though Wonder Woman #750 is an improvement in all those areas over last year’s anniversary issues.
Today, more than ever, it matters who is allowed to tell these stories.
Ray: The story opens with a full-length issue from Steve Orlando and Jesus Merino, concluding the ongoing Wild Hunt storyline. This story has been up and down, but the finale brings all the pieces together in compelling fashion. Cheetah, Wonder Woman, and Hera engage in a battle of wills for control of the Golden Prefect as the issue begins. Silencer’s appearance in the story seems a bit pointless – she mostly exists to try to kill Cheetah and cause Diana to yell “No killing”. But the strength of this issue is Diana’s compassion as she tries to pull Cheetah back from the brink. It’s a good example of how Diana can be determined to defeat a villain but still protect them from themselves. Diana’s interactions with Hera are a bit harder to read, with the context of the Azzarello run still in recent memory. The strongest part of the story is Diana and Hippolyta’s brief interaction at the end, but the cliffhanger in the finale comes out of nowhere. It’ll be interesting to see how Orlando does when he’s not writing off someone else’s plot.
Corrina: I know we needed an end to this plot but parts of the conclusion felt a bit random. Silencer’s inclusion, certainly, and those who didn’t read her series (which is most people, I would guess) might be hopelessly confused as to why this character matters. Then she’s stabbed through the shoulder and Diana pulls the sword…OUT! Nooo! Don’t do that to stabbing injuries. (I clearly have done too much research on how to treat stabbing injuries to believe in this scene.
But, mostly, while I understand not letting Silencer kill Cheetah, Diana seems unconcerned with the damage Cheetah is doing to others. I know compassion is her first mode but, this time, it feels like her understanding went too far. (Or maybe I’m just wincing still from the should-be-fatal shoulder injury.)
We’ll see what happens next.
Ray: Next up is a story by Gail Simone and Colleen Doran bringing back Simone’s fan-favorite character Star Blossom – one of DC’s youngest superheroes, with a distinctly more benevolent form of plant powers than Ivy. The story opens with Star Blossom saving a family from a fire and being assisted by Diana, but quickly turns into something much deeper. As Diana has a dinner with Peony’s family, the conversation turns to the harsh reality that young heroes like the Teen Titans face out there. A surprise appearance from Hippolyta revealing a tragedy that’s befallen an unusual friend of Diana’s adds some real emotional punch to the storyline, and the entire segment has a powerful message about the power of family that should make this another classic.
Corrina: I am such a sucker for superheroes having family time like ordinary people and this hit every note that I love in those sequences, especially if one of those families is out of Greek myths, and the other one consists of regular parents dealing with an unusual and powered child. The joy and emotions of every single character comes through in Doran’s vibrant art.
What I also love about this story is how Diana treats Star Blossom not as a pupil, but an equal, with as much to contribute to conversations and superheroics as any adult. It’s a lovely relationship and I could read a zillion stories with the two of them teaming up.
Ray: Mariko Tamaki and Elena Casagrande have one of the oddest stories in the volume, a tale that begins with Diana facing an interrogation from a dogged police detective who believes there’s something suspicious about her ability to be there before a tragedy occurs. What starts out as a face-off between Diana and the officer turns into a reveal as to the true villain’s identity and a very different kind of interrogation. It’s a fast read, but it also does a good job of explaining the motivations of one of Diana’s deadliest villains and shows how she and her allies can use guile when needed. An appearance by Cassie Sandsmark is welcome, but she’s never addressed by name and I would have liked a little more context to her partnership with Diana.
Corrina: They got me! I thought this would be another one of those “superheroes cause more problems than they solve” stories but, instead, it’s Diana turning the tables on her interrogator, having been in full control all the time. It’s a great take on Diana and on this iconic villain, and I love what the art does with the perspectives, and then with the moment of transformation.
Ray: Next up is Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott, the creative team behind one of the best Wonder Woman runs in recent memory, picking up on the nuances of their take on the relationship between Diana and Barbara Minerva. Taking place sometime later, it finds Diana seeking out Circe for help in performing a dangerous ritual to rid Cheetah of her corruption. If you’re reading Justice League Dark, this story will throw you a little. Tynion’s Circe is an all-powerful monster, while Rucka’s Circe is a chaotic neutral trickster being who Diana has an odd understanding with. That quirk of rotating creative teams aside, this is a brilliantly tragic story that forces Diana to come face to face with a harsh truth about saving people from themselves.
Corrina: It’s a well-done story but a fairly grim one, as saving Minerva is just out of reach. DC seems determined to keep Minerva in her villainy, to judge from this story and Orlando’s tale.
Seeing Scott draw Wonder Woman and her supporting cast is always a treat and Circe’s ritual sequence is lush and horrifying at the same time.
Ray: The clock turns back for Kami Garcia and Phil Hester’s tale, the story of a teenage Diana as she starts to grapple with the isolation of being the only native of Themyscira born there. This is a good narrative, featuring her going from one member of her family to get their perspective on Themyscira. Most are grateful to have this refuge, and it was good to see characters like Nubia again. There’s a segment involving a falcon that is one of the strongest, but these themes have been explored a lot in recent OGNs and it doesn’t feel like this separates itself too much. Phil Hester draws a great Themyscira and Kami Garcia has a good handle on Diana, but the references to sexual assault in this story feel like they belong more in a Black Label take.
Corrina: This is the second time in recent memory where a tale has centered on Diana’s childhood and feeling out of place among adult, though this is a much darker take than Diana, Princess of the Amazons. I’m never sure what’s in continuity or not anymore with Diana, so the return of Amazons who are reclaimed souls of victims of sexual assault struck me as odd, as the origin seems to have moved on from that.
Hester draws Themyscira with clean, clear lines, so the art never becomes too graphic, even if the story itself includes very adult material and concepts.
Ray: Next up is a story by Dean and Shannon Hale, writers of the recent acclaimed Diana: Princess of the Amazons OGN. The art by Riley Rossmo, while brilliant, is an odd fit for the rather jokey story that finds Diana called back to Themyscira to help with a hydra attack. It soon becomes clear that the entire thing was a ruse to lure her back to visit her mother, who badgers her with questions about her life in America. Hale and Hale delivered a brilliant larger story recently, but this one didn’t really work for me. Hippolyta seems like a different character, and Diana being able to return home but not bothering to for months at a time doesn’t really fit her character. There’s a good message about taking time for self-care mixed in, though.
Corrina: I really loved their graphic novel, and I also love Rossmo having a chance to draw one of Themyscira’s iconic monsters, the Hyrdra. On the other hand, turning Hippolyta into a mother who manufactures a crisis seems to be a bit over the top. Perhaps that’s the point: it’s a fun, comedic take on a mother-daughter bond that is often strained.
Ray: Marguerite Bennett and Laura Braga reunite for a return to the world of DC Bombshells next, and it’s one of the highlights of the issue. Told from the perspective of the people who knew her best, this spotlight on Wonder Woman lets each of them – Batwoman, Supergirl, Mera, Steve Trevor, and the Wonder Girls led by Cassie Sandsmark – retell the stories of their encounters with Diana from the war. There isn’t much new here because the main narrative is over, but seeing these events from a new perspective is a great reminder of how this was one of the best Wonder Woman stories in recent years. Laura Braga’s art is brilliant, and it makes me want to see the Bombshells return for a journey into the 1950s.
Corrina: BOMBSHELLS! YAYAYAY!
Um, yes, I was destined to love this as I sorely miss DC Bombshells. There’s nothing new here but the art style and the recap of Diana’s influence on her fellow Bombshells is a wonderful reminder of an excellent series.
Ray: Vita Ayala and Amancay Nahuelpan draw the short straw in terms of subject matter for this volume, to my eye – they have to follow up on the Silver Swan plotline from the Robinson run, which turned Vanessa Kapetalis into another example of a bitter disabled character who turns to evil after experimenting with mad science to heal their legs. See the Morbius trailer that just launched.
Fortunately, Ayala is a very good writer and does her best with the character of Vanessa, giving her some agency as she works to recover mentally from her descent into madness. Diana isn’t the main character here, but Ayala does a good job of capturing her tireless compassion. It’s just hard to care about this version of Vanessa given how she was shown repeatedly killing innocents for no reason besides bitterness.
Corrina: This story is saved by the focus on Vanessa’s recovery, rather than her despair. I wave away the killing because, once again, I have no idea what’s in continuity or not for this issue. I like this version of the friendship, a Diana who will not relent on her hope for her friend, and a friend who accepts that. You can see Vanesss’s struggle not so much with her disability as with her lack of hope in some of the close-ups and the way the art depicts her carrying her pain.
Ray: Finally, it’s Scott Snyder and Bryan Hitch’s turn to end the issue with a 1939-set story that establishes Diana as the first superhero to make her debut in the DCU timeline. Featuring Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a mysterious assassin at the World’s Fair, and some stunning visuals as Diana pulls off a daring rescue, it has a timeless feel that reminds me a lot of some other WW2-set DC stories – the reason for which becomes very clear when the narrator is revealed. This is an excellent story, and feels like it has to be the beginning of something bigger. Snyder could be doing a Wonder Woman run, but this feels more like a prelude to a JSA run down the line.
Corrina: So, a prelude to a Justice Society of America title? I hope so, as I sorely miss the JSA. And it’s a fine story, almost a throwback. Hitch, who also delved into World War II with his Captain America work, is always brilliantly reliable.
Ray: Overall, this is another strong volume. Some stories are misfits with the volume’s tone, but there are more than enough highlights to make this anthology a must-read for any fans of Wonder Woman.
Corrina: I enjoyed seeing the different versions of Diana through the various creators’ vision, and, oddly, the only one I thought wasn’t a full success was the opening story, which relied on the ongoing events of her series. One note: Steve Trevor is very much missing in action which seems strange for an anniversary issue.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.