Wonder Woman #20-21

Written by Gail Simone
Pencilled by Aaron Lopresti
Inked by Matt Ryan
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

I always feel like I need to give credit to a new creative team, when their run follows up on what came before. It seems like a natural thing to ask for—but so often everything that existed before the new regime is thrown out (cast members, setting, raison d’étre) in favor of something new and different with which the new people can make their mark. So with Gail Simone’s taking over of Wonder Woman, she’s juggling two previous takes on the character along with her own. And here, at least, it almost seems to work.

A mysterious soulless stranger has come to Wonder Woman with a request—to have her help him kill the Devil. But if teaming up with Beowulf isn’t dangerous enough, there’s also the effect the stranger is having on Wonder Woman’s own soul. Or, the fact that her superheroic excursions are starting to catch the notice of her new public identity’s associates…

Simone’s writing feels like it’s continuously building on everything that’s happened in this new Wonder Woman series. So we’ve got Diana still working for Steel under her Diana Prince guise, mentions of the recent Amazon attack on Washington DC, and even the return of the intelligent gorillas from the start of Simone’s run. Considering she’s juggling the plots of several other writers (Allan Heinberg, Jodi Picoult, Will Pfeifer) as well as her own, Simone makes it look effortless. At the same time, though, it’s hard to see just where this book is going. There feels in places like there are too any balls up in the air at once—that if Simone stopped juggling them all, we’d see a little more depth to the remaining pieces. Why does using the lasso on Stalker have an effect like nothing we’ve ever seen before? Why exactly are we hopping dimensions and why is Beowulf still wandering around looking for Grendel in one of them? (Although it is nice to see Simone continuing the usage of non-Greek mythologies in Wonder Woman.) There’s so much happening here that it feels like Simone needs more space to elaborate on what’s happening. It feels strange to say that it’s almost too much going on here (I normally gripe about the opposite) but I can’t help but feel like it’s a bit of a problem, especially when reading this in a serialized format.

Aaron Lopresti is a smart choice for replacing Terry Dodson as penciller on Wonder Woman. Like Dodson, Lopresti has a smooth, clean art style that is exactly what Wonder Woman needs. It’s a fine line between the two requirements for this book’s art that exist in my mind, being able to juggle both beauty and strength. So while Lopresti’s Wonder Woman is drawn with a slick and clean line, with sometimes elaborate layouts and a real sense of style and class, he can also use that same style to draw down-and-dirty battles that don’t hold back any punches. Wonder Woman may be a beautiful woman, but she’s also a fierce Amazon warrior and Lopresti’s art never loses sight of that fact.

Simone is now eight issues into her run on Wonder Woman and I appreciate that she’s trying to keep it part of a unified whole. I do worry, though, that it’s at the cost of finding her own voice on the book. We’re getting glimmers of that here and there—hopefully with a little more time it will shine through. She’s proven that she’s not forgetting about what happened in the past, but now I want to see more about what she has planned for the future.

Comments are closed.