After the slight, fun “Birds of Paradise” arc, the Wonder Woman master-plot is back, though the issue takes the longest route possible in getting there. After a brief confrontation, Wonder Woman and Giganta sit down for some major girl-talk. Simone manages to wrap up a number of the more troubling aspects of Diana’s relationship with Tom Tresser in this issue, and while I can’t imagine that we’ve seen the last of him, his arc is finally at a place that jives more fully with Diana’s character.
Of course, far more than that is going on. Giganta and Diana together face down the Olympian’s army, while the Olympian himself has made a few powerful bids for more total control of Paradise Island. While just about every aspect of the issue is well-handled, and Giganta is always welcome (especially as a not-entirely-bad-guy), it’s a rather loosely-strung-together segment to happen in such an important arc, and it takes up a great deal of the issue.
Lopresti continues to make Wonder Woman one of the best looking titles on the shelves. Whether it’s Wonder Woman and the Olympian throwing down on the field of battle or a Polynesian Goddess growing out of the sand, furious, Lopresti seems to have a clear handle on everything Simone is throwing down. While I still hold that he was not the best choice to illustrate the brawls with Genocide, the quicker, more civil fights with the Olympians and his army, as well as Diana’s scenes with Giganta and Nemesis, display his skill to far greater effect.
Wonder Woman #36 was a promising, if slow, start to the book’s latest big arc. Simone has become adept at zagging when we all expect a zig, so the brief scenes giving character to the Diana’s current enemy, the Olympian, are surprisingly tender and awkward, suggesting an essentially likable guy who is merely keeping the faith that she broke. The issue introduces a number of potential conflicts and trials, most of which are extremely promising, suggesting that, post-“Rise of the Olympian”, the book has no interest in slowing down. While many of Simone’s earlier arcs on the title were meandering and unfulfilling, she seems to have stepped up her game in the last year and made Wonder Woman one of DC’s most delightfully readable current books.
– Cal Cleary