What is it about “Wonder Woman”? I don’t think it’s a stretch to say she’s the least popular member of DC’s big three. Her origin isn’t as snappy, her rogue’s gallery isn’t as memorable, her supporting cast isn’t as iconic. Personally, I thought she got pretty interesting during the lead up to "Infinite Crisis," and her role as a staunch defender of the power of good -- usually at any cost -- put her in an interesting position among the DC Universe’s heroes.
But that rebellious gloss seems to have faded somewhat, and DC seems to have settled on a middle ground between that ruthlessness and a kind of Supermanian approach to truth, justice, and the American Way. In her latest reboot, Gail Simone has crafted her own take, heavy on the mythical roots of the character with a focus on her interpersonal interactions. While not yet the analogues of Jimmy Olsen or Lois Lane, Etta Candy and Tom Tresser have been built by Simone into wholly believable and engaging characters orbiting Wonder Woman’s life. Her run so far has had some high points, like an apartment full of sentient gorillas, but often times failed to really keep my interest personally. There was just something intangible that wasn’t connecting with me. Was it my disinterest in the underpinnings of the character? (The early issues were heavy with the mythology of the Amazons.) The focus on realms more magical than real?
Whatever it was in the early goings that never landed with me, this first issue of what DC is touting as a major new storyline, “Rise Of The Olympian,” seems to have at least the promise of of more engaging days ahead. The focus is squarely on Diana Prince’s role as a secret agent for most of the issue, an aspect I’ve always liked and an approach that Simone has always been expert at executing.
In introducing the villain of the piece, Genocide, we also have a rather brutally illustrated but undeniably threatening antagonist. She’s vicious, relentless, and never gives Wonder Woman a moment’s advantage. The closing image of the issue is a stark one, but not one that could really fail to inspire interest in what might happen next. It leaves Wonder Woman in very dire straits.
Whereas previous storylines on the new run showed traces of the best of Simone’s work, “Rise Of The Olympian” has her skills on full display. It’s an engaging and even startling read at times. And while Aaron Lopresti might not carry the same weight as the Dodsons who started off Simone’s run, he has remained a very dynamic artist since he started on the book, and has improved with each issue. “Wonder Woman” is finally starting to gel into a book every part a flagship as its two companions in DC’s “trinity”.