In a sentence, Ultimatum is the superhero comic that will make you hate superhero comics and will have you reading nothing but Harvey Pekar, R. Crumb, and Daniel Clowes for the rest of your comics reading career. (My apologies to Fantagraphics.) Jeph Loeb really should have apologized to Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis for destroying their carefully crafted, simultaneously optimistic and nihilistic universe with all the skill of a child knocking over sand castles and then pulling its pants down to take a piss on the wretched ruins.
As DC’s next big soft-core reboot begins underway, one of the most troubling facts to acknowledge is that despite the compay’s claims to have a new marketing strategy with a wider target audience in mind, that some of their most troubling decisions dating all the way back to 2011 are going nowhere. Case in point, just about everything involving DC’s handling of Wonder Woman, not just in comics but also video games, animated movies, and very likely the upcoming live action films, seems to be stripping the character of the revolutionary feminist philosophies that she was born from and replacing it with the same toxic masculinity straight out of 300. DC has taken William Moulton Marston and swapped him for Frank Miller and it still remains one of the New 52’s cardinal sins that intends to live on beyond Convergence.
One would go on to think that after being the problematic brain child of a single writer for three years, seeing someone else take up the reigns would be exciting. It would be a chance to explore brand new territory, perhaps utilize the seventy-plus years of history and say something regarding Wonder Woman’s place as the best known female on the planet. So why is it that David and Meredith Finch’s Wonder Woman so boring?
Wonder Woman #36 marks the end of the lengthy Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang run which has defined Diana Prince since the New 52’s inception. Unfortunately, many of the newer elements introduced have been controversial to say the least. It’s difficult to talk about Wonder Woman on the conceptual level as she’s been one of the most reworked and re-imagined A-list heroes in DC’s entire roster. This makes avoiding hang ups about personal interpretations on how the character should and shouldn’t work a challenge, so please keep that in mind.