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Subj: Wonder Woman #23 - Willingly Blind.
Posted: Sun May 28, 2017 at 08:42:07 am EDT (Viewed 179 times)
Reply Subj: Wonder Woman #23
Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 at 10:13:49 am EDT (Viewed 273 times)
The long awaited conclusion to Greg Rucka's semi-epic storyline, and overhaul of Wonder Woman, and it surely must be worth a couple of hundred words at least to discuss it. After all I have had little trouble so far in talking about previous installments.
As we join troublesome Veronica Cale as they arrive at den of Ares, surprisingly hidden beneath Themiscyra, the The visual flair of the piece is strong thanks to the illustrative techniques preferred by Liam Sharpe. Sharpe's instincts have always been for the storybook approach over the sequential, so with an interspersion of full page bleed layered with embedded panels a style emerges that straddles the two approaches to tell a story as supplied by Greg Rucka as to how the women of Themiscyra came to be where they are and just what their purpose has been these past three thousand years. Sharpe's work here for the story climax then is reassuringly strong and assured, and while surely not to everyone's liking it is a valid and strong work, and does successfully convey the ideas and emotion by which Greg Rucka finishes Diana's journey off on.
From the opening pages it is also noticable that Colour once again plays an important, if subtle, part of the storytelling. As Ares narrates a cautionary observation and self-confession on the dangers of War the air of threat and menace by which colorists Hi-Fi imbue the scenes will be counterpointed some time later as we watch Diana confront his wild Sons in a limbo of heavenly light and peaceful silence. Diana's is the quietest of presences in this issue yet by this quiet stillness proves to be at the very center of its resolution and will make a self-sacrifice that mirrors both Veronica Cale's own eventual painful decision and that of Queen Hippolyta, who much like these two will be forced to accept that they cannot have what they want, not at this time at least. If anyone arriving at this issue is expecting a happy ending then Rucka bravely chooses to confound that assumption in favour of the further development of these characters and a concession to the lessons that Ares himself has been impressing on the women these last twenty pages. The Gods are cruelly indifferent, but so too from suffering and hardship can a deserved eventual peace come forth. And while Rucka doesn't directly state as such we as reader can draw the conclusions needed from what we have read, and Ares' philosophy, that both Diana and Veronica Cale will one day find, and earn, what it is they strive so hard to be reunited with.
The pain incurred by heavy Self-sacrifice and yet the need for moving on in ones life is a well judged and needy lesson by which Greg Rucka closes his story and ends his own part in his casts's journey, for now. But always there is a question floating here - the question - and it is one which Rucka has cleverly left for the reader to be the one to even ask - Is it the watching Gods, the ever silent Gods, who control the events here, or is it the guile and deceptive brilliance of the War God himself who is the master of events?
Ares' apparent contriteness and his air of acceptance over his fate has some of the trappings of plausibility f one chooses to take his word on the reasons for him being chained here beneath the island, yet strangely none present even question the validity of his version of events nor is there even any independent corroboration of these circumstances other than the obviously biased and suspect views of the young daughter of Veronica Cale. That said daughter ends the story fforced to enter Themiscyra rather than return home with her mother can be seen with some suspicion if one casts a suspicious scrutiny over Ares' role in events and the obvious tactical thinking of a God of War. For chained and removed as he might be Ares is still that God of War. Yet none involved here question his possible alternate motivations in all of this nor is there even any conferring with the gathered Gods who watch on with ever silent and apparent impartiality to the events unfolding. The nagging doubt is left, for those willing to see it, that things are not at all as transparent as they appear here, and yet strangely Diana herself questions not the integrity of this chained God before her nor does she entertain obvious alternate theories as to what his intentions might really be. Whether this is a deliberate move from Rucka to make the story more ambiguous in meaning is open to some interpretation, but the after-effect when one is digesting the issue as a whole lends it an intriguing depth. It has been a strength of Greg Rucka's writing that some latitude is left for the intelligent reader to probe deeper beneath the surface and draw forth their own readings on the events that have just unfolded.
Ambiguous as some of these components of the script are, and as unclear as some of the finer details are within, they do not affect the balance of the story itself. As the plot is secondary to the physical emotion of the finished piece.
As Veronica Cale faces a painful choice so too does Queen Hippolyta and Diana. And yet from the sacrifice of the three the safety of Isadore Cale is the reward. And thus a satisfying moral climax is achieved. A fine way to end things for now...
Divining the truth of a situation when the facts are so difficult to decide upon might as well come down to an act of faith, though the notion of the ever optimistic and trusting Diana accepting the unproven words of Ares seems most unlikely proposition in itself - either from logic or any act of faith.
Resplendently foreboding and intimidating In his most pure and honest interpretation, as Greg Rucka and Liam Sharpe impress on us on the very first pages this issue, Ares is by conception a violent ugly force of nature, a reflection of the stormiest and most violent side of human nature, and therefore stands as a quite different proposition to the chiselled features of the handsome and romantic figure stood before Diana and Veronica Cale as they arrive beneath the Island and into a territory that is oppressive in its confines as it is in its hue. Yet at the center of this apparently seething catacomb awaits this ideal of grecian manhood. And a charming fellow he proves to be too. The romantic face of War, rather than the true face which Rucka and Sharpe indicate on the very first page.
So what then is the purpose of Ares' manipulations to arrive Diana and Cale here before him? On the face of it a penitent face such as his might seem plausible, on an emotional level at least, here is a man who tells a confession concerning his own madness and the love of Aphrodite. That he accepts his imprisonment away from Mankind and the need for the Amazons of Paradise Island to be his custodians and watchmen. And yet, and yet... is it even feasible that chaining a War God away in exile would make the slightest difference upon the affairs of man or Godkind? The question has to be asked, and it does seem that Greg Rucka wants it to be asked. The reality of the world that we live in demands such a questioning - just how does chaining a God of War out of sight remotely better or affect our world? Indeed have we not just watched the world that Diana lives in struggle through darkness. If War can be lessened or eliminated by chaining a God away from man then what need is there even for a Wonder Woman on our world...?
Taken as a whole then the story as told by Ares has to be taken with some suspicion and doubt, and this as I keep impressing is no doubt just the effect that Greg Rucka was hoping to achieve with this issues climax to the ongoing storyline, it isn't so much the possible scheming that is the substance of the issues content but the purity of the emotion from both Cale and Diana. As as we and Rucka well know Ares will always be Ares. And we should take nothing at face value. Even if Diana apparently does choose to do so....
In the end I have to pass full credit on to Greg Rucka. As as with past issues I have found that the true worth of the given issue only comes in the hours after the initial read, when the work of both he and Liam Sharpe is allowed to be properly digested and thought upon the subtleties of thee scripting and visuals have always come together to form a work that is big hearted enough, human enough, to overcome the flaws in the actual plot and the schizophrenic marketing of the series. And as I have pointed to before I do find In many ways Rucka's Wonder Woman is a very similar experience to reading Jason Aaron's Mighty Thor, the difference being that for all the visual flair of that series it is the subtlety and depth of Rucka's scripting and focus on character that has made this series nominally the better and more pleasurable journey of the two. In short then Greg Rucka has held the attention consistently and has contributed to the actual strength of his cast of characters in a way that Jason Aaron's, still pleasant, Mighty Thor has failed to consistently achieve on a monthly basis. Both fine books. But it has been Rucka's that has lingered in the mind longer.
I shall miss it.
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