Wonder Woman #766
Count Vertigo does not like to be treated like a joke. Or...maybe he does? He's kind of insane, after all. When Lord Industries' psychic super-tech amps up the Count's armies to deadly new heights, Wonder Woman sustains injuries that she may never recover from! But never fear, the "reformed" Maxwell Lord has Diana's back...and as Diana will find out, he's not afraid to stick a knife in!
Mariko Tamaki has been ratcheting up the tension without wildly escalating the stakes in her run so far. That approach has been working incredibly well so far, allowing the creative team to focus in on character interactions and put story, rather than plot, at the front.
Tamaki has also made a very smart choice in pacing by taking advantage of the serial nature of superhero comics: each issue since its introductory arc ended has its own plot, and uses that to push the overarching story forward. It gives the creative team something different to do for each issue, allows them to have a little fun with character interactions, and constantly moves things along without having to ratchet up the stakes. It makes for tense and satisfying reading.
In this issue, Diana is literally fighting blind after being shot down by Count Vertigo. Max Lord takes advantage of the bedlam created by a peoples’ uprising to forward his own plans.
From the start of this part of the storyline, beginning with issue #764, the tension between Lord and Diana has been front and center—their personalities, their methods, their goals. Diana is forthright, open, honest, and is dedicated to her goals. Lord on the other hand, is amoral, duplicitous, and willing to throw anything or anyone at a problem to get ahead. So far, their uneasy truce has held, given that Lord has more to lose should he fail, but when that risk disappears, he makes his move.
There’s not a lot to say specifically about this issue, because all of the good points—great dialog and character work, top-notch art and action, good pacing—apply to this issue. Seeing our two leads separate to fight the same battle in their own way is satisfying, too. Max ditching Diana to face the threat alone while he makes his ultimate move is a simple thing, but their history and interactions give it extra weight here. Steve Pugh and Romulo Fajardo, Jr do stunning work here, and Pat Brosseau deserves a mention for his excellent work on the series, providing clear and easy to read bubble and captions that fade into the art until they need to be noticed.
These last few issues have been about digging into the differences in Diana and Lord’s approaches to solving problems, and has gotten a lot of mileage out of it. This issue in particular lays down some exciting groundwork for what looks to be a fun final confrontation. If Tamaki and her creative team can keep this up, Wonder Woman is going to be a must-read every month.
Wonder Woman #766 delivers another dose of tense action and great character work.
Wonder Woman #766: Primed to Explode
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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