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What She Could Have Been

June 17, 2010

Wonder Woman #44 is Gail Simone’s final solo issue on the series, and Wonder Woman’s up for the fight of her life against her cousin. Theana.  Astarte gives Wonder Woman some of the Citizenry’s weapons and tells her of the harsh training Theana endured; she had to kill hundreds of toddlers just to eat.  By the universal rules of engagement, Wonder Woman picks Lieutenant Zusen as her second.  The fight is brutal, since Theana is as strong as Wonder Woman and much nastier.  Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth on Zusen and gives her some orders: to contact Achilles, the Warkiller.  Outside, Achilles and Steve Trevor, the latter in the last of Wonder Woman’s invisible planes, take out some enemy fighters.  Wonder Woman and Theana’s fight bursts down into the area where the Silver Serpents are kept.  Wonder Woman ends up pairing calming words about Theana’s meaning in life with a blaster aimed at her chest to seal her victory.  However, just as she finds some common ground with Theana, Astarte has her daughter killed.  Wonder Woman charges in rage while outside, Zusen gets the message out to Warkiller.  As Wonder Woman chases after Astarte, Warkiller brings in Hippolyta, the Amazons, and the Gargareans as aid, having been given a way out of Washington D.C. by Zusen.  Wonder Woman defeats Astarte, and by Citizenry law, that puts her in charge.  She decides to bring Astarte to Themyscira to be reformed, and she orders Zusen to take the Citizenry away and to find resources on uninhabited planets.  In the ruined streets, Wonder Woman, Artemis, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Jason, Hippolyta, and Tolifhar all gather.  Seems that Gorilla City has finally forgiven Tolifhar for working with Gorilla Grodd and is ready to welcome him and his comrades home.  So Wonder Woman bids them goodbye and considers herself blessed for having so many good friends.

Well, if that wasn’t a schmaltzy ending, I don’t know what was.  I get that Gail Simone was contrasting Astarte and Theana with Hippolyta and Diana.  The whole point was to make Wonder Woman even more appreciative of how lucky she is to have lead the life she leads.  And yet, not only did I not feel that to be necessary, the story wasn’t that interesting otherwise.  I mean, it was a Gail Simone story, so it was still solid.  But it wasn’t terribly exciting, and the whole “Silver Serpent” thing was a total waste.  I thought there was going to be some sort of imagery there.  Especially considering Diana’s earlier comments about serpents when she fought Quetzlotl.  Unfortunately, if Gail Simone’s run on Wonder Woman has suffered from any one thing, it’s poor planning.  Although she’s had some great ideas, it doesn’t feel as concrete as her runs on Birds of Prey and Secret Six.  It doesn’t feel as much like she had some kind of grand overriding message or story arc to tell, or some final destination towards which to aim.  She did manage to revitalize Wonder Woman as a character after the disaster of the One Year Later relaunch.  But it just wasn’t as tightly constructed as you might expect from such a masterful writer.  I’m glad that Nicola Scott got to do the art for most of the issue, though.  Her work is absolutely beautiful, and the only thing that mars it is the odd inking of Wayne Faucher.  Oh well.  Travis Moore helped pencil as well, and I could barely tell the difference between his work and Fernando Dagnino.  While that’s good, I still wish Nicola Scott had the chance and time to do the whole issue herself.  Anyway, it’s too bad that this series couldn’t go off on a higher note, closer to the quality of her Warkiller and gal pal Black Canary arcs.  Still, Gail Simone has given us one of the definitive looks at Wonder Woman, and I only hope that future writers give Diana the same dignity and respect.

Plot: 7.8      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 8.6      Overall: 7.8

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