Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Wonder Woman War of the Gods #1 – Vita Ayala, Writer; Ariel Olivetti, Artist; Trish Mulvihill, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: This is the first of the Tales from the Dark Multiverse one-shots based on a story I haven’t read—George Perez’s Wonder Woman was just before my time—but this dark reinvention was relatively easy to get into. Set around a war between the various pantheons of ancient Gods masterminded by Hecate, it left Wonder Woman dead until she battled her way back and triumphed over the evil witch. But in this world, Diana contained Hecate within herself, thinking she could control her—which might have worked had it not been for another villain working behind the scenes. The evil God Phobos, who specializes in fear, had infiltrated the US military and was working to bring his bigotry against Amazons into the mainstream.
First he sets up sneak attacks against “Amazon sympathizers” Steve Trevor and Etta Candy, followed by a military strike on Themyscira that kills Hippolyta. This grief weakens Wonder Woman, allowing Hecate to increase her influence and take over. Soon enough, the new evil Wonder Woman has taken over the White House and declared it the new Amazon kingdom while the former residents of Themyscira are torn between their loyalty to their new queen and their desire to rebel against what they know is going too far. Some of the visuals of the other Pantheons are well done here by artist Ariel Olivetti, but much of this issue feels like it’s biding time until Diana’s former allies come to confront her.
That’s the big problem with this issue—it all feels like it’s a slow march towards tragedy. While many of the other one-shots in this series center around a decision that seems like a good idea at the time but starts the ball rolling, this one gives Wonder Woman and the other heroes relatively little initiative. Hecate makes an effective villain, but the overall scale of the disaster is much smaller compared to others and much of the final battle is just Diana/Hecate ambushing one hero after another while they talk to her. While some like the Hush issue felt like they were too much story crammed into fifty pages, this one felt like it could have been 35-40 pages instead. Vita Ayala is a great writer, but I don’t know that remixing this story gave them enough to work with.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.