‘Wonder Woman’ #38 is unfocused and soulless

Cover

Wonder Woman #38

Written by Meredith Finch

Art by David Finch

Published by DC Comics

When it was announced, the main draw of Meredith Finch’s run on Wonder Woman was that it would be something new. Barring Scott Snyder’s Batman, Wonder Woman was one of the few New 52 books which retained a long term writer and artist team. While Brian Azzarello’s work with Diana Prince was controversial at best, it was imbued with a unique gritty American Gods sensibility. That’s not to say returning Azzarello would in any way be an improvement, but it would be more interesting, for better or worse.

The main problem with Finch’s current Wonder Woman arc is just how soulless the proceedings are. The three plot lines of Diana coming to terms with being the God of War, helping the Justice League track down the cause of a uncanny natural disasters, and maintaining leadership over the Amazons have all failed to gain any ground and seem to be fighting for the center stage rather than playing into one another. Who or what is wiping out villages across the world has barely managed to register. The reader is told how much damage is caused but because it’s never shown and more importantly doesn’t affect Wonder Woman in any meaningful way, there’s no weight. The Amazons, now fed up with Diana’s long absences, decide to make the newly born Donna Troy their Queen. It’s strange. One would figure any of the other Amazons would have been perfectly qualified to rule. Instead, they throw their lot in with a complete stranger who’s less than a week old. Despite being one of the most requested return characters, Donna Troy is a complete waste.  She doesn’t speak or act the entire time and could easily be replaced with a cardboard cutout for all intents and purposes. This is ignoring the creeping theme this book has taken on. With none of the Amazons stepping up to take control and Wonder Woman tormented with her role as War, “women with power equals bad” is a unifying element in this story . Diana’s place as the God of War has led to nothing but suffering for her. The issue dedicates two entire pages to Wonder Woman being told just how terrible power is. This also raises the question of where the other female goddess of war, Athena, is given her own influence in Wonder Woman’s mythology. It’s a little bit more than uncomfortable to read.

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David Finch’s does very little to lighten the mood. He is not someone who should be drawing a large cast of women. They all have the same face that would better fit a fifteen year old. The closest he gets to standing out this issue is his work on a genuinely impressive dragon. Unfortunately, that whole sequence, as well as ten pages of a twenty page long issue, turns out to be just a dream.

While Azzarello was a problematic fit to Wonder Woman, Meredith Finch is clearly inexperienced when handling comics’ biggest superheroine. The entire comic is lifeless and drab, almost every character exists to berate Diana Prince on every decision she makes, and the art lacks soul with an ill fit style. It’s sad that this arc marks the return of Donna Troy to the New 52 and she’s not given anything to do. Right now, there’s already the digital first Sensation Comics and Wonder Woman ’77 coming out. Judging by only a few panels, it’s clear they understand Wonder Woman in a greater capacity than either Azzarello or Finch and deserve readers far more than this series does. This book is just sad.




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