With the events of “Rise of the Olympian” over, I can’t be the only person who expected very little of Wonder Woman #34, which should fall squarely into the ‘fall-out’ category of comic stories. Hell, after “Batman R.I.P.” we didn’t only have a fall-out issue – we had an entire fall-out mini series. Simone, however, smartly ditches the trend. Instead, we get the first part of “Birds of Paradise”, a seemingly slight story that manages to fulfill the most basic aspects of the fall-out arc while being, from start to finish, just downright fun.
This issue begins a team-up between Wonder Woman and Black Canary, a character who has, since Simone left Birds of Prey, been systematically treated with less and less respect by her writers. Though the dialogue is sometime a bit too exaggerated, especially when it comes to Black Canary, the issue is ultimately a joy to read. Black Canary and Wonder Woman infiltrate a caged, metahuman fighting match in an effort to hunt down Doctor Psycho, who currently has possession of Genocide.
Of course, there’s more happening than that. Nemesis is still reeling from the last arc, the Amazons are having trouble adjusting to their new situation, Genocide is still loose, and Diana is keenly feeling the loss of her gods. The aftermath of “Olympian” is present, and generally handled with a deft touch, but it isn’t the point. The issue doesn’t wallow.
Lopresti’s art is gorgeous as ever. I have to say, I really enjoyed his designs for the undercover fight club costumes of Wonder Woman and Black Canary, and his fights are top-notch as ever. Though his facial expressions aren’t quite as interesting as, say, Maguire’s (JLI), that’s largely because they’re more understated – but looking through the book, his expressions here are perfect, from Black Canary’s tongue just out the side of her mouth as she digs through her closet to the pained expression on Wonder Woman’s face as she fights Lira.
Whether or not you liked or even read “Rise of the Olympian” is unimportant here – “Birds of Paradise” looks to be a blast.
– Cal Cleary