Wonder Woman #27
Writer: Shea Fontana
Art: Mirka Andolfo
Cover Art: Jesús Merino (variant by Jenny Frison)
Summary: Part two of “The Heart of the Amazon”, the first story by the new creative team. While attending the wedding of Etta Candy’s brother, Diana and her friends are attacked. Their unknown assailant quickly makes themselves known and implements their plan of mediocre proportions. The story is a pretty standard one in the realm of comic books, but is it worthy of a flagship book?
What has gone: At the end of last issue Diana was dealing with the strain of war fatigue. In an attempt to unwind, she accepts an invitation to the wedding of Etta Candy’s brother. At the wedding, Diana discovers a bomb with the help of a new friend, a young girl named Destiny(!!) The bomb is seconds from exploding, whatever shall our Amazon princess do?
Where we are (spoilers!): Diana contains the blast and manages to save the girl (but not the wedding cake). After saving everyone in the building, Diana discovers Etta has suffered the ever-dramatic “skewered through the torso but missed everything vital” injury that has become very popular of late. Rushing Etta to the newly-introduced Dr. Crawford, we see my hopes for a more intriguing plotline dashed and find that Dr. Crawford has graduated from the “trick the hero and steal their powers” school of medicine.
From here, the plot follows your standard villain model for evil scientists. She’s dying of some rare disease, so she bends science to her will to create a technique that will give her Diana’s powers. As a scientist myself, I do admit I’m curious how god-given powers are transferred via DNA tomfoolery. The Nobel prize in medicine will have to wait though, we have a story to finish! After some fighting, some ranting, some stuff with a cell phone, and some serious posing, Diana discovers the key to defeating Crawford is that Crawford has Diana’s strength, but not Diana’s heart. Somehow via the magic lasso the truth is revealed to……Crawford’s DNA? Our villain falls to the ground, defeated. And like all self-respecting villains facing ultimate defeat, she gives up the ghost, apparently figuring that more scientific research was pointless. We take a minute to lament the fate of the desperate doctor. The issue ends with Etta on the mend, some cookies and a glimpse at the next new villain.
What does it all mean: This seems to end the first story from the new team, and I have to admit….I was underwhelmed. The art is solid enough. It’s a little more cartoony than my preferences run, but it’s still a nice style with good flow and expression. I could get used to it as a regular look for the book. Though it’s a huge leap from the style of the cover and variant cover art to the interior (which are wonderful covers). It seems almost disingenuous to have such a difference in styles between the cover and the interior art. But I’ve always been of the opinion that the interior artist should be the standard cover artist as well, rather than advertising one style on the outside and delivering another on the inside. And the art meshes with the writing style.
The plotting was more disappointing. The book does seem to have heart, but it lacks substance.
Wonder Woman is a flagship book for DC, and expectations for handling a character of Diana’s caliber should be high. The current team seems to be presenting a more action-oriented and, for lack of a better word, “fun” approach to storytelling, but that doesn’t have to come at the cost of creative plotting. Fontana’s writing develops character personalities well enough, but the plot was so predictable and hastily rushed through that it practically wasn’t there.
If the story had been fleshed out more and given more motivation and meat to it, it could have been a solid start. But as it was, it was so generic it was barely worth telling, and seemed to be an excuse for a sequence of action scenes and some post-battle cookie therapy. There was barely any time for development of Crawford before she went full-on She-Hulk (apologies to Marvel) on Wonder Woman. Her motivation was surface, how she managed any of what she did was just swept away for the sake of a huge fight scene. And what we got out of it is that the heart of an Amazon can deflate the determination of altered DNA. There was never a plotline innovative enough to spark much interest for me. Hopefully the next story will put things back on track with more interesting stories worthy of the heart AND the soul of the Amazon.