I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the choice to “reinvent” Wonder Woman yet again. I think Gail Simone did a very good job on the title, and in her exit, she left the character in a newer place than she had previously been. J. Michael Straczynski came along and the entire concept got a reboot. Then Straczynski hightailed it out of there and Phil Hester was brought in to work from what was left behind. At this point in the evolution of the character, Hester needs to grab the reins on this book and steer it out of whatever the hell it is soaking in right now.
I see bits and pieces that are right, such as Diana fighting alongside her sisters and looking for answers, but I see other areas that are wrong, such as the appearance of a Minotaur who seems to be of sinister motivation. Truly this book needs to be sifted through and it is Hester’s task to do the sifting. It is clear in reading this book that Hester is trying to find the path this book has strayed from, but it is equally clear that a true map of that path might not have ever existed. The story jumps from scene to scene with little transition, and characters pop up seemingly out of the woodwork.
To complicate matters more, Pansica’s art seems to favor sensationalism, pouring blood onto panels as frequently as possible and playing up the curves of the female characters over enhancing their strengths.
Cheesecake overpowers what could have been a chilling moment as Diana’s three (arguably) strongest foes rise from their rebirthing chambers. The level of gore and ketchup-like blood topping nearly every figure set in battle within these pages is just mind-numbing. I understand the need to establish Diana as a fierce warrior, but it is possible to do so without slathering the character in blood and having her do likewise to her opponents.
This is a sloppy book, the art wants to be better than the final printed page truly is. Eduardo Pansica’s got the talent and ability, but his final pages as just not detailed to Don Kramer’s level. Conversely Pansica’s drawings are not kinetic enough to be anything other than static. I’m sure with each panel, page, and issue, it is obvious that Pansica is growing, but he needs to determine where he is growing to in order to make his own odyssey a fruitful one.
The phalanx of inkers provides evidence that there is a quick handoff between writer and artist and that shows through with the massive lack of consistency between art and story. Early on, Diana is told to keep her left arm close to her side, as she has been run through with a spear, but moments later, Diana is using that arm as though there is no wound. Now, I’m not going to make any leaps and compare her to Jay Cutler, but to go from clutching the limp arm to your side to using it in the fever of battle as though it were unmolested does not add credence to consistency.
There is a sense of direction beginning to settle in on this book. The sense is here, but not the direction itself. Diana is still very much a puppet in her own title, but Hester is a good writer and he has some solid toys to play with here. I’m interested to see where this book goes once Hester gets it more fully under his control. A reliable artist would certainly help make this book more Hester’s own title. Hmmm. Maybe Hester himself could step in and multitask an issue, providing script and art. That would help to get it back on track, right?