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Subj: Re: Wonder Woman #32
Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 at 07:31:14 pm EDT (Viewed 196 times)
Reply Subj: Wonder Woman #32
Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 at 03:33:38 pm EDT (Viewed 242 times)
Hmm, Well, upon finishing reading it I found my initial impression of Wonder Woman #32 was of a typically competent solid outing from this writer, but classifications such as "it was a good read" were not my immediate thoughts and impressions either. On reflection though and having given time for the issue to digest and settle in the back of my mind It strikes me that whether James Robinson's second issue of Wonder Woman can be termed as some "excellent/non-excellent" outing belies the simple truth that, by default of being merely a second chapter in an ongoing new storyline, the issue is predestined to be what it therefore is - a solid, but largely uneventful, second step. An issue that is, by necessity, devoted to exposition and examination of the events of the previous first chapter.
So, nothing self-contained and done-in-one to be had here. Indeed even the art has shifted since last issue to match the more slowed down pace of the story's continuation, this time Sergio Davila, who delivers fine work for what the script demands, but as with so many of DCs books this constant shifting of artists and their resulting differing styles does detract from the reading experience - one can't imagine a Geoff Johns project being similarly handled so why it should be that other writers major storylines are given rotating artists per-issue seems as much a matter of deliberate purpose as much as any concern over scheduling.
Saddled with such unevenness then it has to be the writing and plot that pulls a reader in, which fortunate for Wonder Woman James Robinson is one writer who rarely fails to deliver something that is at least a solid read, if not actually enjoyable. And whether Wonder Woman #32 can be judged as "enjoyable" is subjective to the individual reader. And yet there is more than that to consider. Does the reader in themselves support the notion of Wonder Woman suddenly having a hitherto unmentioned (non-existent) brother? Does the reader care that, as a book, and character,Wonder Woman has had an internal history that has been less than consistent and comprehensible?
Those questions are all worthy points that can colour the ability to be relax in the experience of reading this issue, certainly for myself the deviations from accepted history concerning Hercules now being Wonder Woman's brother is the most significant obstacle to absorb, the fact that Robinson makes no mention of the demi-gods historical emnity and disgracing of her mother and people suggests a rewriting of history that cuts to the core of both characters and long entrenched history. But then Robinson himself makes something of an acknowledgement of this lack of consistency as his scenes of Hercules reflecting on his eventful past do carry some of the sense of genuine remorse from the now retiring legendary reclusive hero of ancient times, and the admittance from the equally isolated-in-the-world Diana that much of his early life and its controversies was open to reinterpretation goes hand in hand with her subsequent admittance that she too has nothing but uncertainty and an increasingly receding memory of her own home and history, the lonely doubt as to whether her homeland of Themiscyra was ever actually reality.... the underlying theme being deftly wrought by Robinson then is the question of myth, look upon that Bryan Hitch coverpiece with Wonder Woman wearing the dress of the Nemean Lion that was the fabled first labour of fallen 'brother' Hercules and the purpose to the story within gains a powerful reinforcment, as apart from being a memorable image conjured by the ever capable Bryan Hitch it functions perfectly in its highlighting of one modernday legend's lineage and debt to the legend of one of the world's most famous and enduring legends, the ancient greek deeds of the Son of Zeus himself. Myths influencing reality, and reality being written into new myth.
There isn't a good deal to complain about with this issue really. It straddles the line between being a very workmanlike competent production, and being in itself merely an exercise in treading water. We come to see some of Diana's longstanding pent-up loneliness as she is faced with the fact that she had a hidden brother in Hercules, and whom post-humously reveals to her the existence of a more contemporary brother whom she had not suspected was real. The possibility of a brother is certainly a new development in both the title and in her own life, and whether this is a development that is befitting of Wonder Woman and her mythos will rather depend on who and what Jason come to be revealed as. Purists may well, justifiably, object to the introduction. It is a development that comes on top of various other more minor shifts and changes to her background. And change too much in a characters backstory and there comes the risk of alienating some sections of the readership. But after nearly eight decades of relatively little change to the status-quo I would argue that there is latitude for such experimentation, of opening up the possibilities for the Wonder Woman mythos and developing a wider perspective, so far in his reaffirmation of Steve Trevor's presence and importance in Wonder Woman's life James Robinson has shown his is the right hand for implementing such evolution in the mythos, that he has so far introduced only Blake Hooper as a new character is not a thing I will judge him too harshly on, as while I personally have little interest in the monotone character of Grail and the leftover plot of a young Darkseid, these, as with Jason, are quite likely elements that were part and parcel of his being offered the writers chair on the title. Asked to make a meal with these pre-determined elements Robinson's options are therefore inherantly limited. Nevetheless he delivers a competent second installment here, and on reflection a very wordy one! I would suggest that we will only really get some sense of a James Robinson vision for Wonder Woman one this initial introductory arc is over with... but so far so good.
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