Wonder Woman #769 – Mariko Tamaki, Writer; Steve Pugh, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Mariko Tamaki’s run on Wonder Woman has been short, less than a year, but it’s delivered a compelling story before she heads on to Detective Comics next month. This run has been defined by Max Lord and his traumatized daughter Emma—aka Liar Liar. When we last left off, Lord was clinging to life after a murder attempt orchestrated by Emma, and she was determined to finish the job. When the issue kicks off, she’s arrived outside the hospital where Max is being kept, leaving Diana to keep her at bay. Unable to snap Emma out of her twisted delusions where she’s a knight trying to kill the King of Lies, Diana decides to join her in that world and sees herself transformed into a massive supernatural warrior. Steve Pugh has done a great job with the art on this run as a whole, but this issue may be his finest hour—particularly as he depicts the massive monsters inside Emma’s mind, like a rabbit that turns into a dragon.
One of the biggest strengths of Mariko Tamaki’s writing is that she perfectly captures the emotions of her characters, and that helps to keep Diana grounded in the compassion that defines her. No matter how intense the battle, she never loses sight that Emma isn’t a villain to be vanquished. She’s a child who’s been hurt and is lashing out the only way she can. She’s trying to protect herself, Max, and Emma at the same time—which isn’t easy. Max’s story just sort of ends off-panel—or so it seems—with him being evacuated from the hospital, but Emma gets a happier ending than I would have expected from the first part of this run. The ending may cast a pall over that, but there’s an honesty to it—even when you get away from an abusive parent, they’re never quite gone because it takes a lot of work to undo that influence. I can’t wait to see what Tamaki does on Detective, and what Cloonan and Conrad do in Wonder Woman’s next chapter.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.