Family Matters (Wonder Woman #32 Comic Review)

In part 2 of the “Children of the Gods” story, Diana explores her family roots facing realities she’s long ignored and ties she never knew she had. Will she unravel the knots of her past or find herself tangled up in even more mystery?

WONDER WOMAN #32
Writer: James Robinson
Art: Sergio Davila/Scott Hanna/Mark Morales
Cover: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Jenny Frison
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need to Know:

Last issue we found Diana had set off seemingly away from her government ties but still in the company of Steve Trevor. We witnessed the death of Hercules at the hands of Darkseid’s daughter. Diana catches up with the readers a bit later, learning not only of the demi-god’s demise but also that she was the heir to his estate. We also need to reach back a year or so ago, and remember that it was revealed to Diana at the end of the Darkseid War that she has a twin brother, Jason.

What You’ll Find Out:

There are several action sequences to start us off, somewhat to advance the story, but really mostly I think to squeeze in some fights before the emotional bits. Most of the issue revolves around Diana reminiscing about her family and in particular Hercules, what she knows of him, what she thinks she knows about him, and what she learns about him. Most of what we find out comes in the form of a letter, delivered by the executor of his estate, Mr. Hooper. During the Darkseid War, Myrina told her she has a brother, but Diana had no way of knowing if she was telling the truth. Now convinced that her twin, Jason, is out there, Diana quickly finds the “hidden” location of her long-lost brother and goes in search of him in the company of Mr. Hooper.

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A few other things we learn this issue, someone is killing off people and leaving energy connected to Apokolips in their wake. It’s obvious to Diana that Grail, daughter of Darkseid, is up to something, but it’s not clear what. You’ll also learn that Steve Trevor has somehow switched branches of the military….somehow….and that a room full of dead people doesn’t seem to concern anyone nearly as much as you think it would, especially since they all seem to be connected to Diana and possibly her bloodline……

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What Just Happened?

This is the second installment of this story arc, seeing little in the way of action or even of the main antagonist, but perhaps a lot in the sense of pieces moving. It strikes me as odd that Hercules would have known about Diana’s brother for so long and chosen to say nothing of him until he died, whatever the reason. And while Hercules was never counted among the great minds of the world, the “clue” he left Diana to find her brother’s location (which leads to something conveniently “hidden” 10 feet from where she’s standing) was a bit obvious. Mr. Hooper seems to know much more than one would expect and seems to be inserted more and more into the story. And while family ties are strong, these bonds seemed to have been forged a little too quickly at the end. I’m wondering, and to some extent hoping, that Diana is allowing her desire for family connections to blind her to a trap.
The art in the book overall is good, especially if you like art that is solidly described as “comic book art”, landing dead-center between cartoony and realism. There are few action sequences, but they are well-composed. The facial expressions take center stage and are quite animated, expressing emotion effectively. Everything about this book is such that you could tell me that this story was written in the later 1980s-early 1990s and I would have no trouble believing it. The issue as a whole harkens back to a style and feel that I can only describe as “classic”. That’s both a positive and a negative in my book. It’s a positive because the story is well laid out, the story and the artwork together to keep things flowing, and the overall experience is a dynamic read from beginning to end that moves forward at a steady, engaging pace. It’s possibly a bit of a negative because the book also occasionally strays too far and enters the world of cheese (and that’s all I’m saying about the Oddfellows).
In general, the book is continuing its trend of each story arc since Rebirth being interesting on its own, but seeming to suffer from multiple personalities. Rucka’s run at the beginning was a grounded foundation that swept away much of the recent past as lies and revealed a “truth” from which Diana could move forward. Then Fontana’s run seemed to largely ignore most of what happened, though she did tie some of it back together at the end. Now with this new run, there seems to be a return to what may or may not have been more lies in the quest for a long-lost brother. Each writer seems to have a completely different take on Diana, and it’s still hard to tell who exactly she is. Rebirth seems to have cleaned up things for a lot of heroes, but for Wonder Woman the waters seem to just be getting murkier.

Score: 7/10

Final Thoughts: Overall, Wonder Woman as a book seems to still be trying to find its balance since Rebirth. The good news is that the stories themselves are well-written and the art is solid. Next issue sees us learning more about Diana’s history and perhaps tying things together a little more. And of course, we expect to find out what Grail has planned for Diana. Whatever it is, it’s probably not good, but almost sure to be exciting!

 

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