A new direction for Diana as Wonder Woman and Mayfly square off in a struggle of a different sort — human nature and the path to redemption. Will the two soar to new heights together or fall headlong into an abyss of despair?
WONDER WOMAN #51 “The fifty-second visit”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artists: Laura Braga
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Cover: (A) Stanley Lau (Artgerm) (B) Jenny Frison
Editors: Chris Conroy, Jamie S. Rich, Dave Wielgosz
What You Need To Know:
We’re starting a new arc with a new creative team, so most necessary knowledge is provided in the issue (a great time to jump in if you’re a new reader!)
What You’ll Find Out:
We check in with Mayfly, a mercenary from several arcs back who has been imprisoned for trying to kill Wonder Woman and Etta Candy. Diana feels there is more to her story, and so decides to walk the long road to rehabilitation with Mayfly. We follow them over the course of many visits through an undetermined amount of time spanning from past issues to sometime in the future. The two travel a road of denial, anger, buried feelings and shocking revelations. Will Diana reach the troubled woman or will both of them only find more heartbreak and disappointment?
What Just Happened?
This was the first story by Steve Orlando, so whether this was an interlude or part of a long game is yet to be seen. As a standalone story, this was an interesting take on two enemies learning about each other. The story focuses on the lives of the two women — the parallels and the differences. More of Diana’s past and outlooks are revealed to us while at the same time we get to know a relatively new character. Wonder Woman shares her feelings growing up and on losing her aunt Astarte, while both of the women reflect on Mayfly’s troubled and lonely past.
Much of the story focuses on the rehabilitation of Mayfly, or Moon as we learn her name is. This isn’t a new story, redemptions are a time-honored tradition in comics and in literature at large, but many of these stories take a much more negative tone of “return to nature.” When I started this review as a reader and as an adult (read: old fogey), the story occasionally seemed to me as somewhat simplistic and perhaps naive. But it’s easy to forget that when you’re a child or a young adult (which is where much of this story focuses), life seems much more cut and dried than it does later in life. Even the slightest-seeming actions, explicit or implied, speak volumes and can shape an entire life. As a story that walks a sophisticated path while also laying out paths for younger audiences to identify with, the efforts of this issue are impressive. Comic books have always had a large audience among younger readers, and Orlando taps into the role of comics as a form of escapism that also gives a sense that someone understands the feelings of isolation and abandonment that plague all of us from time to time.
For those that want it, there is also plenty of chair-throwing action expertly illustrated by Laura Braga. I really enjoy her style, it reads easily, conveying lots of action and emotion. She often breaks from traditional panel layouts, but the story flows seamlessly from page to page so that the narrative is unambiguously presented. The thicker inking lines gave a bold and weighty feel to a book that was already fraught with emotion.
The only thing that was a little odd was the passage of time. I’m not sure where the “present” fits in with this, but the story seems to span from the past into years from now. We do get an interesting glimpse of Diana through the passage of the years and at her growth, though whether these are possibilities or sneak peeks of upcoming realities is left unclear. This is a minor point for the story itself and doesn’t affect the current issue, but it does leave one wondering if this story has a further purpose and what seeds might have been subtly sown.
Final Thought: Overall a solid start for a new creative direction, well written and beautifully illustrated. Insights into the past glimpses into the future and a compelling story audiences can relate to on multiple levels. More, please.
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