The Justice League defeated, the Earth in chaos, Wonder Woman and her brother Jason stand together against the onslaught of the Dark Gods!
WONDER WOMAN #49
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: James Merino
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Covers: (a) Steven Segovia and Romulo Fajardo, Jr. (b) Jenny Frison
Editors: Chris Conroy, Jamie S. Rich, Dave Wielgosz
What You Need To Know:
Diana has unintentionally summoned the Dark Gods from the so-called “Dark Universe” during the events of Dark Metal (that’s a lot of dark). Now the gods intend to take their revenge for being forcibly removed from their home, by reshaping Earth to their own tastes. Immediately the most susceptible, those of wavering faith, renounce their previous religions and mindlessly serve the violence of the Dark Gods. While Diana was transported to Zamaron (see Wonder Woman Annual #2) to aid the Star Sapphires against the Dark God Karnell, Jason teamed up with the Justice League and Steve Trevor. The Dark Gods made their move, attacking on multiple fronts across the globe. The Dark God leader (King Best) absorbed the Justice League, leaving Jason on his own. Diana returns in the nick of time to stand with Jason against increasingly overwhelming odds.
What You’ll Find Out:
The issue opens with a survey of the Dark Gods and the chaos each individual has created. Savage Fire, the goddess of war, has turned all of South America into a war zone filled with senseless carnage. In the United Kingdom, Mob God holds the population transfixed in a rapture so complete, the devotees blissfully waste away from starvation and sickness. The other gods, Karnell and the God with No Name, wreak similar havoc, using the worst aspects of their spheres of influence against their new-found faithful.
Meanwhile, Diana and Jason regroup and face off against King Best, the Dark Gods’ leader. Steve Trevor acts as liaison, giving Diana the lay of the land since her disappearance. More heroes have fallen under the sway of the Dark Gods, while many others have been absorbed like the Justice League. It is becoming more and more apparent that Diana and Jason will be on their own very soon. After a fierce battle and managing to hold King Best off, for the time being, Diana travels to strategize with Steve in person while Jason travels to South America for Round 2 with Savage Fire.
When the gods regroup and head to Paraguay, Diana knows that Jason is in trouble. As she arrives her worst fears are confirmed — Jason has been enthralled by the Dark Gods. Diana now stands alone against the gods she has summoned, against her brother once again, and possibly against the world. Will Wonder Woman prevail or will the Dark Gods reign supreme? The story concludes with the milestone issue 50 in two weeks!
What Just Happened:
The Dark Gods were handled well in this issue, shown as twisted reflections of the darkest parts of humanity while staying on this side of interesting and without reading as overly cheesy. I think the vignettes showing ordinary lives thrown into turmoil really helped to elevate the sense of chaos and the threat the gods pose beyond a typical hero clash and into a global crisis.
Jason’s corruption and the subsequent showdown wasn’t really unexpected — headstrong hero goes to face the enemy on their own while people are being corrupted isn’t really hard to call. It was actually a little head-scratchy why Diana would have even gone along so easily with him going alone for a rematch with so many experienced heroes falling.
Still, this is one of the better issues in recent months and a pretty exciting installment to the story. The balance of the book was well-struck with the exposition of the Dark Gods, the glimpses of the ordinary people helplessly caught up in the horror, the fast-paced action, and the character focus. Diana and Jason were both utilized well in the issue and in leading the story through interesting twists. We saw more of the enemy through their action rather than Jason’s convenient Athena-power of complete dossiers on command. This issue felt like it pushed the story along better than the previous installments. If the pacing here continues through the next issue, the conclusion could still manage to excite.
The art continues to deliver throughout and to be a consistent highlight of the book. The team of Merino and Fajardo serves up quality work with a classic style and easily flowing layouts. There are generally fewer panels per page than traditional in the storyboards but the artists make good use of every single one. The creative panel designs, the switching between snapshots and explosive action, and the variation of scales all work together to create a solid visual product.
Final Thoughts: Overall this installment was a boost to the story and injected some much-needed life into things leading up to issue 50 and the conclusion of the Dark Gods’ attack. I’ve ridden the book pretty hard about the over-use of Jason to the exclusion of Diana. To a lifelong Wonder Woman fan, this issue was a much better use of both characters and a solid example of what I’d want to see in Diana’s solo book. I’m still not enamored with the story overall, but as an individual installment, this was much improved.
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