Friday, May 25, 2018

Review: Wonder Woman #47

Wonder Woman #47 came out this week, the only book on the shelf this month to feature Supergirl as we await her 'bold new direction' in August. So even though Kara is out of her mind in the issue, I have to be happy she is somewhere.

I have been collecting Wonder Woman since the Rebirth reboot. I found the Rucka run to be good enough, especially the early issues resolving some of the New 52 snags. Recently James Robinson has come on board and his time has been a bit more hit or miss. At times Diana seems like an after thought in her own book.

This issue seems to underscore that a bit. The first half is a fight with Supergirl in which we get some good insight into Diana and some wonderful art by Stephen Segovia. But this fight, in the end, is sort of meaningless and ends with a whimper. The second half is dedicated to Diana's long lost brother Jason, a character who has dominated the book a bit too much. I don't read the book for him; I read it for Wonder Woman.

The overall story here is about Dark Gods coming to Earth which seems a bit badly timed given that we also have Omega Titans coming in No Justice. I thought this was a tie-in to that book but it turns out the Dark Gods are their own entities.

I'll stress again that Segovia really crushes it this issue. His visual storytelling is superb. On to the book.

With the Dark Gods coming, people of all faiths are losing their minds. And Kara, a follower of Rao, isn't immune. The voice of the Dark Gods whisper in Supergirl's mind. They want her to kill Diana because Wonder Woman will stand in their way. And the enraged Supergirl is addled enough to oblige.

Robinson is giving us some hints about the Dark Gods in these rantings but it is hard to figure out what is real and what is insanity. Did Diana summon them? How? And what is their mission? And if the Dark Gods killed Rao shouldn't Supergirl be miffed at them and not Diana?

Nice panel work here.

This is just a bit of a two page spread of the fight as it careens through the city. It is worth finding the whole thing in any of the preview sites. But it really is a solid visual as we see Diana and Kara brawl in a series of poses on the same background giving the sense of how fast they are moving and how powerful they are. Like Flash 'after images', this works well to clue in the reader on how fast all this is going down.

But for me, the best thing about this is Diana's dialogue. She isn't jumping into the fray. She is fighting defensively, trying to both talk Kara down or just subdue her.

No easy task given this is a Kryptonian.

I had to include this panel because it struck me as pure Zach Snyder Man of Steel. I wonder if intentional.

So how do you stop a rampaging Kryptonian? With magic. Using her lasso, Diana binds Supergirl, like breaking a horse.

This was my favorite panel in the issue. You can see the effort Wonder Woman is putting into this, hair whipping, as she strains to pull Supergirl in. And you get a sense of recoil by Supergirl, like a dog running without realizing they are tethered. That slight bend in the back let's you know she is being yanked. And Supergirl's cape splayed like that gives her an almost horse-like (or centaur-like) body shape, enforcing the words. Beautiful.

Meanwhile, in Greece, Jason has a nice lunch with three beautiful young women. It turns out they are the fates of myth. He seems surprised at what they look like.

In a nice little set of rapid panels, we see them take on their other mythological forms, from the Greek weavers to the Witching Hour crones. Segovia seems to be channeling Alex Toth there. Nice.

One of the mysteries in the book is Jason's magic armor. He blacked out for several days and awoke clad in armor which lets him access the powers of the Greek Pantheon, albeit one at a time ... sort of an Ultra Boy Mount Olympus.

We don't know how it ended up on Jason or where he went. But we now learn the armor was meant for Diana, to be used against the Dark Gods. Now that it has grafted to him, it cannot be given away.

So who has motivation to do that? Ares?

But what about the Supergirl fight? Well, in a 'we better wrap this up' moment, we cut to Diana standing over an unconscious Kara. When asked about the Dark Gods, Supergirl 'had a reaction' and passed out.  Hmmm ... a bit too easy. And definitely should have been 'on screen'. So in many ways, the whole thing wasn't needed for the story.

The Dark Gods then arrive. Jason joins Diana in preparation for a fight.

They seem more like stone statues. They shoot beams from their eyes. It all seems sort of 'Source Wall-y' to me making me think once again about where this fits in with No Justice. But that is my problem.

But before we get anywhere, Star Sapphires appear and blip Diana away to help save Zamaron. Now I wonder if Diana's time as a Lantern during Blackest Night will be mentioned. Again, I assumed this was part of No Justice explaining Wonder Woman's presence there. Turns out that Zamaron story is in an Annual.

And that means the big fight next issue will be by Jason alone, harkening back to my complaint that Wonder Woman isn't even the star in her own book.

Okay, I am not the biggest fan of heroes fighting heroes. But I have to say this one was so gorgeous to look at that I didn't mind it. And I liked Diana's attitude during the fight.

I also have to laud Jenny Frison for her variant covers on this run. I have loved them. And this one, with Wonder Woman and Supergirl laughing and having ice cream is spectacular. Both characters have had ice cream moments in mainstream media so this just was joyous.

Overall grade: B


Anonymous said...

I liked the fight layout as well, and the variant cover is a "screen saver" its so good...but once again poor Supergirl gets jobbed out in a brawl with one of DC's "Holy Trinity". Thats pretty much all I am seeing here, she wasn't quite "fridged" but she was reduced to be a peril-intensive plot device and that I can't endorse.


Martin Gray said...

I'm sure Diana would get the same treatment in Supergirl's book, but yeah, you're right, a guest star shouldn't be there just to be fight fodder. I'd rather the pair had run off to Paris...

Nice review Anj, especially as regards the art commentary, again, I wish Segovia had a regular assignment. He did great work, though I'm not a big fan of the extended double page spread layouts that are spreading through the DC line. It started with Detective Comics, moved to No Justice, now we have it here... did someone send out a memo?

I've actually come around on Jason, he's growing as a character, and the Witching Hour moment made my day.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure Diana would get the same treatment in Supergirl's book"

Supergirl Vol 5 #5 and Vol 6 #17 kind of suggest otherwise.

"And if the Dark Gods killed Rao shouldn't Supergirl be miffed at them and not Diana?"

I don't think those lines mean Rao is literally dead.

And once again, a Kryptonian is jobbed out to another hero so said hero can look good. And don't dare to get the Kryptonians win, lest the other hero's fans get angry.

At the very least, it wasn't a curbstomp fight. Supergirl delivered some good blows, although both heroines were incredibly careless (yes, Kara blasted her eyebeams through a building. But Diana tackled her through several buildings. And she isn't possessed). And that ending... Why did Supergirl show up, exactly? And we couldn't have her coming around, already sane, and discussing things with Wonder Woman?

At least it's apparent both women will team up in future issues.

The ending of the issue was also somewhat anticlimatic. After spending two issues building up the coming of the dark gods, and Diana being a danger to them, the plot has her spirited away. Weird.

Hey, maybe Diana having to deal with the Star Sapphires is related to Kara's future space mission.

Oh, God, I hadn't thought that about Jason. He's like Ultraboy now.

The art was excellent. That Lupaccino cover reminds me how much I miss her drawing Kara. And Frison's cover is a delight (although Wonder Woman and Supergirl's faces are a bit odd).

Anonymous said...

I loved the art. Didn't care for the writing. Jason's part was decent but Supergirl really served no purpose beyond being a punching bag and it was about half the issue. The dialog between Kara and Diana did not provide anything beyond what was said in the last issue.

Grundy has held better conversations

Anonymous said...

I'm going to agree with you, especially about Steven Segovia's art, which I also think is spectacular.

As you say, the whole thing wasn't needed for the story, but Segovia's art saves the day. If the art wasn't so stunning, there would just be a pointless fight. But he drew an incredibly dynamic 9 page action sequence, bailing out Robinson's fairly spare plot.

The story may make no sense yet, but it's all relative. First think - if you dare - about the incompressible, preposterous, laughably bad train wreck known as Justice League No Justice #3. After that, this Wonder Woman arc ain't looking so bad!

There's a few things with how Segovia depicted heat vision that I found striking, drawing things that I haven't seen, or noticed, before.

When the heat vision is still "warming up," it's steaming out to the sides of Kara's eyes. Of course we always see red hot glowing hot eyes, and this steaming effect does look kind of Red Lanternish, but the steaming is drawn like splatters of red molten globs, perhaps like lava, which seems fresh to me. Examples: Page 2, first panel. Page 5, right side of double-splash page. Page 6, top right. Page 7 top panel. Page 5/6, right in the center, is an interesting variation, as the splatter breaks up from Diana's punch.

And look what happens on page 7, bottom panel - as Kara is twisting to the side, the molten heat from her right eye trails behind.

Finally, on page 9, when Kara is subdued, the eyes are also subdued down to standard glowing red.

Some other heat vision special effects:

Whenever there is an actual beam of heat vision, an arc of red flaming light is drawn just in front of Kara's face. Check out Page 3 2nd panel; Page 4 bottom left; Page 6 bottom. Reminds me of the way massive explosions are often depicted in film and in comics, with rings of radiating light. Also looks a bit like some Green Lantern constructs. Or the arc may even be serving as a kind of targeting scope as the heat vision radiates through the center of it.

Page 3, panel 2 doesn't just have that arc, but also has several thick parallel beams of heat vision, I guess implying Kara has been moving her eyes around very rapidly?

And finally, a small but stunning effect (I think) on page 4, middle left of the double-splash - as Kara is falling backwards, there are puffs of the lava floating above her, like clouds that have broken up. It's possible, from the rounded shape of the uppermost "cloud," that this was actually an arc of light, broken up by Diana's body as she pushes Kara back and passes straight through the arc.

Color me impressed!

Anj said...

Thanks for the great comments.

I love the art and seeing bits others appreciated made me go back to the book and look. Segovia does deserve a regular slot somewhere!

And Suoergirl getting beaten up? I think the worst part of this was Kara just passing out. Robinson wants Supergirl in the story fir the fight but out for the Dark Gods bit so she faints? Shouldn’t have it both ways. Either she s in or she’s out or she’s dealt with properly.

Anonymous said...

Segovia's art was indeed gorgeous, his work in the Adventures of Superman series and Action Comics Rebirth was amazing. Glad that standard has been maintained here. As for the story, the fight between Wonder Woman and Supergirl was decent but the Jason and Dark Gods stuff was boring. Jason is being set up to sacrifice himself at the end of this Dark Gods story though so that gets him out of the series. I know he's been an unpopular element amongst fans.


Anonymous said...

Didn’t they just do this “mind controlled Supergirl” plot on Justice League Action a few months ago?

Anonymous said...

Ok, went back and checked. This story and the Justice League Action plot were both literally “Supergirl is mind controlled by the power of gods to fight with Wonder Woman on Themyscira”,

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it Felix Faust or some wizard who mind controlled her? Pretty sure it wasn't a god.

Anonymous said...

You’re right, my mistake. Just mystical control of one form or another.

Anj said...

For those curious because of re ent comments, here is my coverage of that JLAction: