‘Wonder Woman’ #40: how to ruin Wonder Woman

CoverWonder Woman #40
Written by Meredith Finch
Pencils by David Finch; Inks by Jonathon Glapion
Colors by Aspen Mlt’s Peter Steigerwald
Published by DC Comics

In the midst of Convergence, one of the most troubling facts to acknowledge is that despite the company’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.

This new arc started by relative comic book newbie, Meredith Finch, follows Wonder Woman as she copes with the many responsibilities pulling at her from all sides, not just her position as one of the biggest three superheroes in the world, but also as the queen of the Amazons and the newly appointed god of war. The central conflict is with the Amazons themselves as her frequent absences have turned them against their own queen and towards the mysterious new comer, Donna Troy, an Amazon seemingly born from clay. Donna uses Diana’s split responsibilities along with her establishment of a new colony of male Amazons on Themyscira to gain power and threaten life on the island. As painful as it is to say so, Meredith Finch is a terrible choice for this book. She’s had very little experience and it shows. It’s not something that’s comfortable to admit that a female writer shouldn’t be writing Wonder Woman, but in this case it’s true. She’s a bad choice. The greatest problem with her book is the Amazons who’ve been turned into a caricature of themselves. Instead of being a forward thinking society with some tinges of xenophobia, they’re psychopathic killers, they rape and murder men, they sell children into slavery, and in this issue commit blatant acts of genocide, all of this on top of the fact that apparently they need someone else to lead them and are incapable of leadership themselves. That’s one of the most disturbing themes of this book, that apparently women are incapable of holding positions of power. As the Amazons rebel against Wonder Woman and hoist up Donna Troy as their savior, none of them think to take the crown for themselves. Diana is a hero, a god, and a queen, and hates almost all of those roles. Not to forget how this entire arc has been dragging its feet with an impossibly dull subplot that’s only purpose seems to be squeezing out some cheap Justice League cameos.

 

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On the art side there are a few, but comparatively miniscule, improvements. It’s nothing serious as David Finch’s artwork is as ever soulless and lacks any emotional weight, although it seems he’s finally learned how to draw Wonder Woman’s face so she doesn’t appear fifteen years old. He’s far more talented at drawing men than he is women and this is another piece of evidence to prove such.

It’s time to be frank; this is as bad as Wonder Woman has been for the past four years and maybe then some. There’s so much negative subtext, so much sloppy writing, and all of it so utterly lifeless and funereal. It’s been said before but it bears repeating. This is not the Wonder Woman book the comic book reading public deserves. Right now DC is publishing the Sensation Comics anthology with some fantastic stories like Wonder World and Girls’ Day Out. Marc Andreyko’s Wonder Woman ’77 has also been getting great reviews. If those don’t work go read her earlier books such as Gail Simone’s The Circle. Read anything, anything, but this toxic dreck. Comic book readers deserve better than this.

 

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