Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Wonder Woman #48

Wonder Woman #48 came out last week, an issue in which Diana appears on exactly one page. Critics (including me) have bristled a bit about Wonder Woman's secondary role in her own book since James Robinson took over and this issue is probably the strongest evidence of that. In reality, this should be called DC Comics Presents: Jason and Supergirl.

But as a fan of Robinson, in particular his run on Justice League of America - a team where Kara was the muscle, I enjoyed this issue. This read a lot like one of those JLA issues. I don't know if that is praise for the story or criticism for the complete lack of Wonder Woman in her own book. The super-powerful villains of the piece just disappear in the middle so heroes can talk a lot. But if comics are supposed to entertain me, this one did. Your mileage may vary but this is a Supergirl blog and this was a Supergirl heavy issue.

Jesus Merino is on art and I've always liked his style, thin-lined and precise. There's a lot of 'standing around chatting' in this book but he brings some character and expression to the proceedings. And this Jenny Frison variant of an all-female hero group is just gorgeous. I very much like how Supergirl looks younger here, appropriately.

On to the issue.

Diana is off on Zamaron leaving Jason alone to deal with the four Dark Gods floating in the sky.

Three of them spring to life and reveal themselves. They are the God of Mob Rule, the God of Nothing, and the God of War/Power.

The fourth god, King Best (sounds like a Dragon Ball Z villain), remains in monolith form.

I like the design of these gods. But they seem, in the long run, utterly forgettable.

We get pages of Jason trying to battle them with limited success.

Just when it looks like the War goddess has him in her fiery clutches, Supergirl arrives and bashes her.

Hard to believe but between her and Jason, she is the veteran. I kind of like her yelling at him to look alive and keep his head in the game.

And nice, iconic, double-fist bash here.

These gods are magic based and so even that successful shot weakens Supergirl.

I like the 'old school' stars around her head showing she is dazed.

I also like that Supergirl's reputation precedes her. Jason can only imagine what a fight between Kara and Diana must have been like. (So well drawn by Stephen Segovia last month!)

But Jason is an unknown. I am glad that Robinson knows enough to have Supergirl wonder just who the hell he is.

She hasn't even heard of him.

As for the three Dark Gods they are fighting? Well, for some reason they just up and disappear, leaving just King Best there.

Then the Justice League arrives. That makes sense given the enormity of the Dark Gods presence. I like how Supergirl says that the Dark Gods remind her of the Source Wall gods. I have been saying that too!

For unknown reasons, Superman isn't among the Leaguers. So Supergirl gets to say that she'll take Superman's place.

I love this panel! There is this look of a sort of whimsy on her face. I love the arms out like 'who else can take his place but me!' She is the legacy character!

And with that the League flies off. Remember, Robinson wrote a stretch on JLA of all legacy characters - Supergirl, Dick Grayson Batman, Donna Troy, Jade, and Jessie Quick. I can't help but wonder if he was trying to call back to that time with this grouping.

Sure, Batman, Aquaman, and Flash are there but in the background. The big images are all legacy or replacement or 'not Big 7'. Pretty cool.

Unfortunately, I don't think Robinson knew where to go from there. So he has King Best sprout legs and with a wave of his stony hand teleport the JLA away. Just like last issue the threat of Supergirl fizzles, just like earlier in this issue the dark gods fizzle, now the JLA blips away. Too many easy story contrivances to make things unfold the way Robinson wants.

It is Jason alone against King Best.

That is, until it isn't.

Robinson brings Diana back on the last page.

Okay, 22 pages to get Diana and Jason to face off against the toughest Dark God. It seems like a lot of filler between this issue and the last to simply get us to this point. And the filler doesn't seem to have significant impact to the story. Things come and get knocked out. Or they come and disappear. So not exactly compelling.

But it is, for me entertaining. I love the Supergirl stuff in this issue.

Overall grade: C+


Anonymous said...

So the past issue ends up with Diana and Jason about to face the Dark Gods... and this issue ends up with Diana and Jason about to face the Dark Gods. God, this has been pointless.

It doesn't help the villains look absolutely forgettable.

Upon seeing the cover I thought this issue would feature four powerful heroines teaming-up, with Wonder Woman the leader. Speaking about lying covers.

At the very least we had a Supergirl appearance and some good scenes.

Anonymous said...

Very good review. Subjectively, this merits more than a C+ purely from the Supergirl-story and blog-oriented perspective. And, you really liked the art. I call for a B- or better!

Since this isn't a forum where anyone can start any old thread, let me piggy-back on this to observe a eureka moment I had as I was just reading Batman/Superman #3.1 from 2013. You reviewed the issue here:

Check out the Kryptonian costumes - the blue one on Lara in battle, the final one of young Kara when she confronts Zod (those may be silver Kryptonian pj's, but the blanket is turned into a magnificent cloak), and most especially the black-and-red-clad imaginary Kara in the story Zor-El is telling her about the fall of the Knight of El and those who arise to take up his heroic mantle.

Your review included scans of most of those images.

These are all suggestive to me of the upcoming costume designs, and I like them all! Wonderful art by Brett Booth and colorist Andrew Dalhouse.

Anonymous said...

This dialogue didn't work for me at all. The villains didn't work for me either. I'd be hard pressed to accept those names as god names even in the campiest of silver age stories.

If I had been the artist (who did good), I would have refused to spend my time drawing such beautiful art to such terrible writing. Almost any fan writing is better than this. The artist probably spent more time and love in one panel than the writer did with the whole story.

This is (in my subjective opinion) the worst writing I have seen in a comic since one of the issues in infinite crisis.

What's the lowest score possible?


Martin Gray said...

I know I should mind WW being absent from her own book but real Wondy was swapped out for Xena a long time ago. So I’m enjoying Jason’s quest to become a hero. And Kara was great. Love the god designs.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!
You can see I struggled between reviewing this as a comic or as a Wonder Woman comic.

I find Jason forgettable. That made this a hard one to review.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to think of it as anything other than a Wonder Woman comic since DC puts her name on the masthead. So that’s how I have to evaluate it. It’s a classic case of bait and swirch for anyone who just happened to pick the book up off the stands thinking they were getting Wonder Woman. They’ve been on this course since her movie came out, which is odd in itself.

I’m going to agree with anon1, this book was pointless. The villains are by the book standard, Jason is like a character out of a self-insertion fan-fic, and yet again for the umpteenth time the titular character is barely part of the story. Even the ending was a let down.

Also, I guess I misunderstood how magic affects Kryptonians in this iteration of the DC universe. Does the mere presence of magic make them weak?

But this book has been like this since Robinson took over so at least there’s consistency.

Anonymous said...

Great review, I like that you were reminded of Robinson's JLA run in this issue. I just wish I felt this was as good as that series because Robinson is not doing a good job IMO. This series has become about Jason first and Wonder Woman second which is the wrong direction for a series titled Wonder Woman. To be honest, Diana hasn't had a stable status quo since Rucka, and I liked Azzarello's subversive New 52 WW more than Rucka's Rebirth run. Wonder Woman needs a reliable writer to get her back to prominence again.


Anonymous said...

As usual I'd be angry that Supergirl got "jobbed out" to enhance the rhetorical threat potential of some new Big Bad in someone else's damn book, but for once Bruce Wayne and the JLA got jobbed out too, so I found that curiously refreshing.
Jason however is a complete misfire as a character, he seems unusually indecisive even for a late-additional legacy type,I'd sooner see "Drusilla" or Wonder Tot reintroduced into the Wonder Mythos than this Mook.

BTW back in the bronze age, for the most part, Supergirl's guest appearances outside her own feature were times for her to shine, depicted by new artists and largely displaying her character's innate potential and charisma she made a great team mate for everyone from Batman out to Mary Marvel. These days she gets shoe-horned in to get smacked around and lobbed into the moon....sad a real waste IMHO.