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The Aunt She Never Knew She Had

May 11, 2010

     Gail Simone’s final arc on Wonder Woman continues with Wonder Woman #43, which starts off with a flashback to when Wonder Woman first left Themyscira.  Hippolyta came up with the general design for her uniform from looking up at the night sky.  Then, in the present day, Wonder Woman faces off against her aunt, Astarte.  She takes out a bunch of Astarte’s forces, but Astarte releases the Silver Serpent, a giant mechanical serpent, in the middle of Washington D.C.  Etta Candy tells her husband, Steve Trevor, to rally everyone they can find from the Department of Metahuman Affairs, since they’re cut off from the rest of the world.  Wonder Woman steals one of Astarte’s soldiers’ gauntlet blasters, since it can get past their Green Lantern energy-derived shields.  Tolifhar rescues a child who was almost killed by the Silver Serpent, and Achilles destroys the serpent singlehandedly, since apparently, his strength is related to his conviction (and he’s, er… convicted?).  Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth on Astarte and sees the time when she was taken away from Hippolyta.  Seems the Citizenry wanted Hippolyta, but Astarte loved her and took her place.  When Astarte points out that her ship is just a forward ship, one of hundreds of thousands, and that she’s losing her hold on her forces, Wonder Woman offers her a duel.  And her opponent is to be Theana, Astarte’s daughter, the most vicious citizen ever.

     You know, if only the beginning part were an indicator for the coolness of the rest of the issue.  This whole concept of these alien women is just… not fitting with what Gail Simone has done with this book in the rest of her run.  I don’t see how Astarte adds to the Wonder Woman mythos in any way, shape, or form.  And why is this arc related to the Silver Serpent when said Serpent barely plays any role?  We’ve had no explanation for what happened in the previous issue with the serpents slaughtering that planet and what the Citizenry did with one of said serpents’ bodily fluids either.  While it’s nice to see the supporting cast that Simone has built up for Wonder Woman (Tolifhar, Achilles, Etta, Steve), I just don’t feel like this story is as tightly constructed as some of her other ones.  While that has been a general problem for Simone on this book multiple times (Rise of the Olympian), this story just feels… less.  Plus, Nicola Scott’s beautiful pencils are desecrated by Wayne Faucher’s inks, which make everything look so fuzzy.  Nicola Scott is all about great detail, so I find that Faucher is possibly the worst choice for her inker.  And Fernando Dagnino’s little bits are fine, if still not terribly good looking.  I’m sorry, but going from Scott to Dagnino is just so… jarring in quality.  It’s sad that this is how Simone has chosen to go out with Wonder Woman.  I think a story with her facing one of her classic rogues would have been better, but alas, this is what we get.  Oh well.  At least the most of the rest of her run was better than this.  I mean, it’s not bad, but Simone set the bar so high that this just comes up short.

Plot: 7.9      Art: 8.2      Dialogue: 8.5      Overall: 7.7

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