Wonder Woman #54
Diana accompanies her long-lost aunt, Atalanta, and Artemis to the Quraci Bana-Mighdall camp. Atalanta's apprehension of how her return will be received seems unfounded as her people gather around her, but their arrival is tinged with darkness from the gathering war clouds. They seek out Faruka, queen of the Bana-Mighdall, and find an ambitious rule and a questionable advisor. The queen is convinced that an attack by the Quraci is imminent, but she plans to attack first. Will the heroes be able to untangle this twisted mess of mistrust or will one or more of them find them, as this story says, the enemy of both sides?
This is the third installment of the newest story, but it leaves me feeling like we’re moving backward. The first two issues of the arc offered something of a new direction with new locations and actors, albeit still a struggle against gods of one sort of another. Now we find ourselves heading into another story of family and betrayal. I realize these are classic themes, and the writing itself is enjoyable to read, but the last three or four arcs at this point have all centered around the same ideas in a different form. The motivation upon the arrival of Diana and the others to the camp seemed thin compared to the earlier parts of the story, making the Bana-Mighdall appear to be more naive about the outside world than Themyscira ever was. The plot, which was trucking along nicely feels considerably thinned out at this point. Ambitious rulers, deceptive advisors, betrayal, blind patriotism were all present along with a strangely incompetent queen’s guard.
The art style takes another considerable shift here, the new team brings a detailed and realistic feel, the pencil work is thinner and there are more subtle effects worked in throughout. There is less of a sense of motion conveyed in general, but a stronger sense of gravity, which is perhaps more appropriate for a senseless war.
I don’t always mention the cover art, which I should because it’s always fantastic, but I want to call particular attention to both versions this time. David Yardin delivers a beautiful classic action cover featuring the main players and a single image summary of the issue. Jenny Frison’s variants are routinely spectacular, but this one, in particular, is a hit out of the park, with a striking pose and a stunning use of color. Both are display-worthy assets to the book. The covers by themselves are worth looking forward to.
This book seems to continually struggle to find its way out of this loop of gods, corrupt rulers, and family in crisis. I'm hoping the next issue ties things together in a new way, and we don't see another case of Diana struggling with betrayal and loss.
Wonder Woman #54: The Sands of War
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 6/106/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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