Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #4 – Daniel Warren Johnson, Writer/Artist; Mike Spicer, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Black Label allows creators to get as dark as they want, and few have taken that to the limit like Daniel Warren Johnson. What started out as a story about putting Wonder Woman through her paces as the savior of a destroyed world turned into something very different as last issue revealed she had been the architect of the world’s destruction – setting off a devastating chain of events after a tragedy resulted in the death of the Amazons. The opening of this final issue has Batman, grieving the death of Superman, making the decision to leave the future in Wonder Woman’s hands and allow her to be resurrected in the world she created. On the surface, this is a ridiculous concept – Wonder Woman’s transformation into a mass murderer never rings true to me – and in lesser hands it would have been a disaster. The good news is, Daniel Warren Johnson is definitely not lesser hands. He’s managed to make this a compelling journey for Diana as she seeks redemption.
The real star here is Johnson’s art, as he captures the epic battle of the survivors against the mutated Amazons like I doubt anyone else in the business could. But it’s a little hard to enjoy when you remember that this is Diana being forced to watch her family die for the second time. I suppose the closest parallel to this series is what Tom Taylor did with Injustice. Even though it’s not a story that should ever be told in some ways – Superman or Wonder Woman becoming a monster is a pretty big reach – it’s told so well that you’re willing to overlook that. Johnson has done some other DC work in recent weeks, and it’s clear he has a great handle on the grittier, darker corners of the universe. Black Label is unique in that it can take its heroes to much stranger and darker places than any other line can. Letting its creators cut loose and see how dark they can go has been paying dividends so far.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.