Years from now, when comic book historians look back upon this age, they will wonder just how DC Comics could possibly have mismanaged the Wonder Woman title so badly in the wake of the smash-hit Wonder Woman movie. They had a ready-made audience. They had millions of women, eager for stories of female empowerment and heroism.
Unfortunately, the comics of the time were mired in an overly complicated story involving the New Gods, the half-Amazon daughter of Darkseid, Diana’s long-lost twin-brother and a distinct lack of anything that made much sense to the average comic fan, much less to neophytes.
It was hoped that a new creative team might be able to turn the tide in the era of Rebirth, and do for this title what Gail Simone once did a decade ago. Alas, G. Willow Wilson – the co-creator of the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel – doesn’t quite manage a mighty leap away from the mess that is the modern Wonder Woman. Still, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And there is enough good in the story of this issue to hope that something special might yet be built, though this series still remains largely unfriendly toward the new readers the films should be attracting. The opening scene with Grail, for instance, does little to explain who she is.
Thankfully, the issue improves immensely once we get away from the opening and into the nitty-gritty of Diana and Steve Trevor’s relationship. Yes, Steve is alive and well in this reality, but a call to Diana from his superiors after he goes MIA in a war zone suggests he might not be for much longer. Of course before they can tell Diana not to get involved, she’s already in her armor and halfway around the world. More than that I can’t say without giving away the game, but suffice it to say there is a lot of action and it is all well-handled and riveting.
Cary Nord was an unusual choice for a Wonder Woman penciler, but a logical one from one perspective. Too often has the artist for Wonder Woman been chosen purely on their ability to draw a beautiful woman. Nord is an artist of action, best known for his work on Conan the Barbarian, and he draws a savage action sequence like nobody else this side of Mike Grell. Nord’s style is rough and visceral, not given toward dramatic poses or cheeesecake shots. Doubtlessly many will find his art displeasing, but I for one welcome high-action over pin-ups when it comes to amazonian action. The rest of the art team is equally impressive.
While Wonder Woman #58 may not be an ideal introduction to the character and the status quo of her world, it is a serviceable one, backed by solid artwork. This will be a series to keep an eye on for some time, as it is clear Wilson and Nord are building to something epic.