Boston is suddenly being menaced by a mysterious medieval warrior named Valda, a.k.a. the Iron Maiden!
Valda, though, chooses to adhere to an ancient code of honor and combat, and refuses to yield. Combat breaks out, though Diana continues to retain a defensive position. Despite her many attempts to broker peace, Wonder Woman is eventually left with no choice... but to fight!
Wonder Woman #752 is, on the surface at least, an all-action issue in which the eponymous heroine clashes with a medieval warrior-woman throughout Boston. Valda is time-displaced, but how and why remains a mystery for now. She appears to just be a villain of the month for Wonder Woman, but she brings to the table an examination of codes of honor between combatants, and how they reflect against Diana’s own pacifistic beliefs.
Valda represents an outmoded way of thinking: victory above all else; no quarter asked, none given. Death before dishonor. In her way, Valda acts as a surrogate for many given superhero stereotypes, thinking first with their fists and asking questions later. This is antithetical to Wonder Woman, who above all else seeks peace and understanding. Pitting these two ideologies against one another is a smart way for writer Steve Orlando to magnify the strengths of Diana’s philosophy, and why it matters as a contrast to standard superhero fisticuffs.
But for all that lofty ambition, at the end of the day, this issue remains a mostly all-fight issue. Sometimes it’s necessary to move a story forward; here it’s the chosen narrative route right from the get-go. That doesn’t bode well for the depth and scope of “The Iron Maiden” as a story. It doesn’t necessarily help that, at the end of the day, Valda just isn’t all that interesting or original. She feels more like a placeholder than a true challenge for Wonder Woman, a plot device rather than a meaningful character with depth. There’s also some comparative narration between the burdens of expectation mothers can place on their daughters, but it doesn’t amount to a whole lot of revelation, unfortunately.
The art by Max Raynor is decent, but nothing to get excited about. He’s fairly basic in his craft – that’s not a bad thing, in this case, just so say he isn’t particularly showy. He gets the job done without any major visual fireworks, and that’s just fine. No harm, no foul. The cover by Guillem March on the other hand, is an ugly and garish thing. DC really ought to put a little more thought into which artists they place on which books; Raynor is a good enough artist that there’s no reason he shouldn’t have been allowed to draw the cover as well as the interior. Food for thought regarding reader expectations.
Wonder Woman #752 attempts to have some lofty things to say about Wonder Woman's moral code in combat, but winds up being an underwhelming outing overall.
Wonder Woman #752: Let’s Get Medieval!
Writing - 6.5/106.5/10
Storyline - 5/105/10
Art - 6/106/10
Color - 6.5/106.5/10
Cover Art - 4/104/10
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