Finally, we come to the end of this unsatisfying “Odyssey” arc for “Wonder Woman.” It’s hard not to breathe a sigh of relief and look with hope toward Cliff Chiang and Brian Azzarello’s take on Diana next month.
This issue of “Wonder Woman” feels like it was tacked on to get the “Odyssey” arc to match up with the September re-launch and, as a result, it reads like an anti-climactic re-hash of issue #613, with some saccharine pages at the end. Diana, having “reabsorbed” the rest of herself (don’t ask) in “Wonder Woman” #613, now fights Nemesis and defeats her. But since Diana kills Nemesis with Nemesis’ own sword, the sword binds to Diana and tries to make her the “new” Nemesis. Diana solves this problem by breaking the sword. While that resolution doesn’t feel like a terrible way to end a battle for a single-issue comic, it certainly seems thin for an epic 14-issue story arc. I also have trouble buying how an ancient sword “designed to kill the gods” can just be casually broken over Diana’s knee, but whatever.
Phil Hester has done his best here to clean up the mess he was left with, and I can’t blame him for my dislike of this run months ago, or now. Hester’s affection for Diana is evident, and though the treacly ending here was not to my tastes, he does his best to finally bring Diana some peace and happiness as well as a return to her powerful and true self. I appreciate that he makes the effort. The one thing I will say that Hester has done quite well here from a storytelling standpoint is to set up Diana’s re-launch next month. I honestly would have thought that task near impossible considering the mess this book has been for the last fourteen months. However Hester does a good job of sowing the seeds for the new series, closing things up happily enough for this Diana, and teasing what we all know is to come.
Unfortunately the art continues to be inconsistent and sketchy at best. The split art duties by Don Kramer and Lee Garbett do not blend particularly well together. More importantly, Diana looks different from panel to panel in Kramer’s pages; and the same is true, although to a lesser degree, in Garbett’s art. The backgrounds for the most part feel incomplete, and a surprising amount of the character movement looks awkward. There’s nothing majestic or exceptionally beautiful in these pages. Nothing inspiring, which is, frankly, what Hester’s words beg for, especially at the end. It’s unfortunate that throughout this storyline the art has had so many hands on it and thus been so mediocre, inconsistent, and unreliable. Great art couldn’t have saved this epic storyline, but it could have made it much more bearable and entertaining.
This is one of the few books that I find myself truly excited to see re-launched next month, not just because of the powerful creative team coming on board, but because the Diana I have seen for the last 14 months in this book has not been a Diana I could really love. And I’d like a chance to love Wonder Woman again, both the book, and the character.