Review: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 was an exciting, well-written dive into Wonder Woman’s character.  There were some clunky moments as Rucka tried to shoehorn in the fact that Diana very clearly would become a Star Sapphire in the near future, but otherwise, it was one of the event’s few true bright spots.  Comparatively, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 is a fairly confused mess of an issue.

Beginning after Wonder Woman became a Black Lantern in an incomprehensible scene in Blackest Night #5, BN:WW#1 doesn’t even attempt to fill its readers in of this fact, confident that everyone alive is reading Blackest Night.  This gives it more a feeling of the second one-shot in a series of three than any sort of ongoing narrative.  Rucka manages to give Wonder Woman more of a personality than we’ve seen any Black Lantern thus far display, which manages sidesteps the idea that they are peresonalitiless husks being worn by the black rings.  It also means that most of the issue’s genuine conflict is taking place beneath the surface of the fairly placid Black Lantern Wonder Woman exterior, which Rucka and Scott never quite get to work as well as it could.  A late game twist makes sense for the character and the mythology, but takes away any sense of consequence for the issue, while also reintroducing one of the character’s most boring romances.

Scott’s work remains utterly gorgeous (though not even she could save the hideous WW Star Sapphire costume).  Her crisp rendering of Black Lantern Diana, the BL insignia now etched into her tiara and ax, is a lovely sight to behold, and her action scenes are smooth, exciting and, at times, surprisingly brutal.  Her work, and Rucka’s ability to write a powerful, intriguing Diana save the issue from hitting the depths it otherwise may have, but make no mistake: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 is utterly trivial.

Grade: C+

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

Review: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

Much like Blackest Night: The Flash #1, Wonder Woman #1 is set entirely in the build-up to Blackest Night #5.  And much like Blackest Night: The Flash #1, Wonder Woman #1 offers a fair bit of continuity reminders, though it never stops the story completely to give them and they’re never unnecessary.  Unlike the week’s other Blackest Night mini, however, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 also offers a fairly interesting look at one of comics’ hardest heroes to write, and it does so with very, very few flaws.

Narrated to mimic Simone’s current run, Rucka makes a good impression right off the bat.  It continues throughout, as he combines a narrative that cuts to the character’s core with plenty of enjoyable banter.  Few writers have grasped Diana quite the way Rucka has, and even working off of Simone’s recent model of the character, there’s little doubt in this single issue what she stands for.  An enemy that would give most heroes a great deal of pause for angst is instead dealt with in a logical, strangely mature manner here as Wonder Woman displays that she’s more than come to terms with killing Maxwell Lord, and Rucka leaves me genuinely curious as to how he’ll deal with Black Lantern Diana next month.

Nicola Scott does absolutely lovely work here, as she always does.  Her action segments are smooth and clear without ever seeming static, her characters are all distinct.  Brief sigh gags, like Lord meditating, head on backwards, introduce brief moments of levity, but Rucka mostly uses the issue as a character study of Diana, and Scott is game to provide all the drama and emotion he wants underlying the large scenes of mayhem and carnage.

With “Life is much more than seven simple colors,” Rucka cuts closer to the heart of Blackest Night and the War of Light than any writer thus far.  Wonder Woman is a complex character, and Rucka smartly acknowledges that completely independently of where she exists on the emotional spectrum.  Wonder Woman cares, and that in no way hampers her ability to fight the Black Lanterns.  Rucka and Scott do more with Wonder Woman in this one issue than the last three events combined have managed.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Grade: A-

Cal Cleary

Read/RANT