THIS WEEK: Wonder Woman #759 marks the debut of a new creative team for one of DC’s vaunted trilogy of lead characters, while a very amusing summer anthology does great and goofy things with the wider DC universe.
Wonder Woman #759
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Mikel Janín
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
A new creative team takes over this week with Wonder Woman #759, and the timing couldn’t be better for the book. That team is writer Mariko Tamaki, artist Mikel Janín, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Pat Brosseau (with the artists rotating off the book in short order), and the reason the timing is so good is that just days ago, Tamaki won the 2020 Eisner for best writer, doing so on the strength of a 2019 that saw her write a number of lauded and high-selling titles, including the graphic novel from First Second, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, and the DC Comics YA book, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass.
What all this means, is that this week Wonder Woman is now getting one of the biggest writers in the industry, and one who has a new level of attention being directed her way. This is all great from a marketing perspective, but in the fickle world of monthly comics, all attention and momentum is meaningless if not backed up by great stories. I am, however, happy to now report that I have read Wonder Woman #759, and it is a fantastic start to a new run for one of DC’s best characters.
There is, perhaps, nothing all that flashy about this issue. It returns Diana Prince to Washington, D.C., from where she was most-recently living in Boston. It introduces a familiar villain for her to tangle with from her rogue’s gallery, one we haven’t seen much as of late but who will most certainly be in the Wonder Woman ’84 movie, once that finally sees release, and it even does that new superhero creative team thing of introducing a debut side character for the audience to essentially use as a point of reference within the story, a normal who is interacting with super-powered characters on their behalf. Like all of Tamaki’s excellent body of work, this is a comic that doubles down on getting the basics right, on orienting the reader so that it can move on to more interesting narrative fascinations in short order.
Within all of that, however, it doesn’t forget that a key ingredient for a superhero adventure is also action with high-production artwork. This issue is certainly one that serves that vast visual talents of Janín and Bellaire, and it wastes no time in doing so. The second and third pages in the book are a full spread of Diana combating dinosaurs, followed immediately by another spread that contains a montage of Diana adventuring with the Justice League, as well as battling two of her other signature foes, Cheetah and the god of war, Ares. It’s great stuff, polished and clean and a reminder of who our hero is, how much she matters, and what we might expect from her adventures moving forward.
That’s not where the action stops, however. There is another set piece in this issue wherein Wonder Woman starts to confront a new and unexpected threat, a high-octane chase scene that hints at the beginning of a conflict to come. It’s handled well both from a narrative and visual perspective, giving us a tense scene in which a barefoot Diana has to land between a corrupted motorist and an oncoming semi-truck. You can see both of these spreads on this page.
Again, I know none of this sounds flashy or surprising, and it’s really not. What it is, however, is a precise and clear story that hones in on the character. It’s an assured burst of storytelling that knows the themes and ideas it wants to emphasize, and allows those to lead its way to an entertaining and fast-paced comic. If this is what we can expect from the rest of Tamaki’s run on this character, I’m very excited, to the point I think we may be in for some fantastic Wonder Woman comics during the longer-than-expected run up to the new movie.
- The new Suicide Squad has subtly been very good, which is an odd thing to write of a book that’s so over-the-top in so many ways. Writer Tom Taylor and his collaborators have built a great foundation with a set of new characters that allows them to hone in on the franchise’s long-time stars in new ways. This week’s Suicide Squad #7 is a great example of that. It’s a moving and tense story that sees Deadshot’s long-time wish to be with his daughter granted…right up until it all goes to hell and the new characters show up to deal. Also, the possibly evil Ted Kord story is now rolling along in the background, doing a nice job of maintaining a sense of narrative momentum between issues.
- In spite of myself, I continue to enjoy the new Batman Superman comic as of late. It’s a meat and potatoes book, to be sure, but the creative team takes it so seriously that it’s hard to not enjoy the good ol’ superhero adventuring within. The book has also been an artist showcase since its inception, with Clayton Henry doing great work this week as writer Joshua Williamson continues to display a knack for teasing out excellent and dynamic visuals. If you’re looking for something innovative, you may be dissatisfied with this book, but if you just want to see the two biggest characters in the DCU solve crimes, face-down famous foes, and have a delightful interplay based on their similarities and differences…this book delivers.
- I thought this was the best issue of the new Legion of Super-Heroes run yet, one that doubled down on what the franchise has to offer when it’s not doing high-concept futuristic sci-fi adventuring, and that’s contentious banter between teenagers. With the first arc now finished, writer Brian Michael Bendis deploys his ample dialogue writing talents to deliver a classic Legion election issue. Writing this book (withs many MANY distinct characters) is perhaps one of the hardest challenges in all of comics, and late-career Bendis is clearly taking it seriously, doing all he can to make it an exciting and viable book in this new era of paired down DC superhero shared-universe publishing. What also helps this week is that he’s paired with Stephen Byrne, who is such a perfect choice to take over Legion should Ryan Sook ever move on to other projects.
- Finally, the DC Cybernetic Summer anthology was an absolute blast from start to finish. I laughed out loud multiple times, particularly at my new favorite DC Comics character, Super Cyborg Cyborg Superman. No attempt to explain anything about said character would do it justice, so you’ll just have to read (and enjoy) that one for yourself.
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