Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman has been fairly uneven, but it must be said that, at the very least, her eight-part “Rise of the Olympian” arc has been exciting and action-packed without sacrificing the wit or character moments for which Simone is rightfully known. This issue is no exception. To wind down her most widely publicized arc yet, Simone gives us a fun, exciting, slightly flawed issue that nonetheless offers up a more-than-satisfying conclusion to her massive story.
The series has had a fair number of epic moments, and this issue is no exception. With Genocide finally handled – or was she? – by Wonder Woman last issue, it seemed like things were finally being toned down for the last issue… at least until it was revealed that there was another side in this fight. Long-time Wonder Woman villain Ares makes his appearance, a traitor is unmasked, and war breaks out.
Lopresti is better than ever. When asked to illustrate a fight that Simone’s dialogue made out to be Hurricane-like in its devastation to the surroundings, he seemed ill-suited to the task, but there’s something about this issue that suits his talents much better. Perhaps its that we’ve been trained to largely ignore the carnage of war, or perhaps its the larger-than-life nature of the participants, but Lopresti’s art was top-notch for this final issue, illustrating the monstrous sea-beasts as well as a variety of Amazons with skill and distinctive designs.
The issue also brought about, to my surprise, a rather immense change to the status quo, one which Simone has in some ways been building up to for the entirety of her run. I’m not sure how I feel about it – from a storytelling perspective, it provides a lot of interesting opportunities, but there are a few moments that I’m not quite sure the book earned, a few shortcuts seemingly taken to the book’s detriment. One in particular, at the climax of this issue.
Despite those, however, it can’t be denied that Simone did an excellent job subverting the expectations of her audience in a fun, exciting way, and if her new status quo has any sort of staying power in an era of retcons gone wild, she’ll be an influence on Wonder Woman writers for years to come.
– Cal Cleary