Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wonder Woman #43

When a pillaging alien race descends on Washington, anxious to transform the entire human race into little more than rocket fuel, somebody should probably stand up and say something. Thankfully, Wonder Woman is around to serve just that kind of purpose, because I'm not really sure how I'd want to begin such a conversation. Turns out the Amazonian princess has more than just a passing interest in this particular invading fleet, however, seeing as how she's discovered a distant relative at its helm and all.

Gail Simone tells a good story this month, smoothly and effortlessly shifting the plot from past to present, narrator to narrator, without feeling overly reckless or jarring. Jumping in mid-storyline as I did, I can't say there weren't a few moments that had me scratching my head, but Simone generally takes it easy on unfamiliar audiences. The author isn't short on creativity, either, with virtually every new page carrying its own original concept. An army of force field-garbed female alien warriors on this page, a thirty story-long aluminum serpent on the next… no threat is too unbelievable, nor too absurd.

But therein lies my problem with this issue. Despite the wealth of opposing forces, precise attacks and competing problems, I never took any of them as a serious threat. Diana doesn't, either – always wearing that stern, confident disposition, nary a dash of concern or surprise registering on her face. While on the one hand, that kind of poise is what made her one of DC's heaviest hitters, on the other it gives the impression that no threat is particularly serious and the conclusion of this little skirmish has already been determined. Stoicism is important in a strong lead, but a bit of concern and shock shouldn't be out of the picture. Simone spins an elegant plot, sprinkled with a few hints about Diana's lineage, but it serves as little more than a showcase for the writer's imagination. I was looking for something with a bit of permanence, but at the end of the day all I got was a return to the status quo with an ever-so-minor nugget of info about Wondie's extended family.

Nicola Scott and Fernando Dagnino divvy up the visual duties fairly evenly, with a small army of inkers around to provide backup. The two have different enough styles as it is without those added influences giving the impression that we're looking at a quilt spun by a dozen different artists, a handicap that ultimately damages the issue. I can understand the needs of a major publisher, monthly deadlines to meet and all, but is it really worth the sacrifice in quality to meet the requirements of quantity?

Despite the new obstacles distributed with nearly every page, I never shook the opinion that this issue was just treading water. The lack of substance with each new threat gave the impression that Diana was merely assembling a checklist and working her way from top to bottom, and I don't especially care to see her polish that off and chuck it into the nearest wastebasket. It's worth a flip through but not much more.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 3

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