ScarlettLynn is back with her review of Wonder Woman #30. Read it and let me know if she likes it…I can’t tell.
WONDER WOMAN #30 – Rise of the Olympian Part Five
I remember when I first began reading “Wonder Woman” trades and comics, that I wasn’t expecting very much. She was one of the few female superheroes who’s name I knew and the fact that she was the most known heroine was pretty much the sole reason I picked up the book for the first time. The tv show was from just before my generation and all I really knew about her was that she had a lasso and an invisible plane. I didn’t have the childhood-defining movie to connect to her like I did with Superman and she didn’t seem to have the cool-factor of Batman. But then… then I actually read the comics. Once I was actually exposed to Diana, Princess of Themyscira, I was totally hooked. She could spar with Superman and stare down Batman. She is different from anyone else in comics.
Wonder Woman isn’t just one thing; she’s endless contradictions and complexities that make her one of my favorite characters. She’s an ambassador for peace, yet she’s also a ferocious warrior. She’s a modern superhero who fights alongside the Justice League. And she’s incredibly serious about her religious pantheon of ancient Greek Gods who are very much a part of her life and philosophy. She’ll stand up at the United Nations and make a speech about the need for equality and about the cultural beliefs she wants to see the world embrace. And then she’ll go help Superman beat up a robot. She’s just plain awesome.
So, I should have known better than to have been worried about how she’d possibly survive the events of “Rise of the Olympian.” What I should have been worried about was whether or not any of her enemies would still be alive once the dust settled. Which is exactly what I was reminded of with this issue.
It’s still the aftermath of the explosion and Diana is determined to find her friend, Etta. Steve Trevor shows up and assures Diana that she’s got nothing to worry about from the Department of Meta-Human Affairs because he’s taken charge. All he needs from his friend is for her to find his wife and bring her back. So while Steve stands guard to assure some privacy, Diana goes to question Cheetah in further detail. It’s one of the most chilling unresolved scenes from this story. Sure, we still don’t know what’s up with Donna Troy or Wonder Girl, but the only big question that I’m waiting to get answered is: “What did Wonder Woman do to Cheetah?”
Wonder Woman has Cheetah bound in rebar – possibly having picked up some tactics from her earlier beating at the hands of Genocide. Of course Cheetah is all cocky and blase about Diana’s “idle threats.” Until Diana places her hands on Cheetah’s face in an eerily familiar post and reminds her of the name Maxwell Lord. At first Cheetah is certain that Diana’s bluffing. Of course she’s not really going to kill another captive enemy like she’d done before with Max, right? Diana even freely admits that she regrets her actions that day and wishes there’d been another option. Yet I think Cheetah starts believing that it might not be a bluff when Diana slashes her face with her tiara, picks her up by the tail and holds the sharp edge to it – threatening to cut it off. She demands to know where Genocide has taken Etta with a ferocity that would make Jack Bauer go cry in the corner and divulge his secrets.
Unfortunately we know exactly where Etta is. She’s currently being held in her own personal hell as Genocide tortures her with the stolen lasso. The creature is demanding that Etta tell her everything about Wonder Woman but Etta is utterly defiant. She’s certain that Diana will defeat the monster. Genocide tries to play on any lingering doubts about Steve’s feelings for Diana but instead of breaking Etta, it just pisses her off. She vows to kill Genocide if Diana doesn’t do it first.
On the new Olympian island of Thalarion, Zeus has gathered his men together to watch as he creates his new champion out of fire and a stolen God-heart. He names his new creation Achilles, King of the Olympians. Meanwhile, back on Themyscira, Hippolyta prays for the safe return of her people. The first one we see arrive is her loyal second-in-command, Phillipus. She also welcomes back the Bana-Mighdall Amazons who – despite their previous strained relationship – all embrace as Amazons sisters.
Diana has gotten her answer to Etta’s location somehow. We see her arriving at the headquarters of the Secret Society but we get no explanation to exactly what happened in that room with Cheetah to get her from there to here. Faust and Morrow watch on the monitors as Diana rips and smashes her way through steel doors, tanks and robots. Faust flees from the path of destruction Diana is leaving in her wake and Morrow goes out to face her. He tells her everything he knows about the creation of Genocide. That she was a creature made from a strange body that Cheetah had brought to their scientists and the dirt from the sites of genocides the world over. He begs Diana’s forgiveness for his soul and his sins and knows that the creature can never be stopped. Finally he tells her to go to the top of the building.
Diana flies straight up, through multiple floors and ceilings of the building, to find her best friend strung up with rope and a mocking note from Genocide. She’s non-responsive and in shock and Diana carries her downstairs in her arms. Some members of the society are standing there, foolishly thinking they’re getting their second wind. She tells them to get out and when they don’t listen right away… she begins throwing punches. Wonder Woman literally rips the entire skyscraper down with her bare hands in a fit of unrestrained rage.
When she walks out of the dust and rubble, Etta still unconscious in her arms, the only person who has stuck around is Dr. Morrow. He feels responsible for the hell that he’s unleashed and he wants to help Wonder Woman try to find a way to stop it. Diana has only one question: “How do I kill it, Professor?”
STORY: 5 out of 5
Wow… just wow! Did I already say wow? Cause this feels like the “wow” thing could bear some repeating. So, um… wow.
I’ve read through this issue a couple of times now and it is just an awesome story. The pace, the energy, the dialog is just all hitting in the right combination. Somehow Gail Simone was able to take everything that had already happened and make it feel like we hadn’t seen anything yet. All the hell and devastation that had been piling up on Diana and making it feel like she’d fall apart at any moment only served to ignite this intense focus and rage in her. She is all warrior in this issue.
When we see Wonder Woman enter that basement to interrogate Cheetah alone, it’s very disconcerting. Cheetah has lost any ability to intimidate or threaten or seem even remotely menacing now that she has succeeded in ticking off Wonder Woman. Diana, on the other hand, has become almost frightening. The moment where she marches into the Secret Society headquarters is, perhaps, one of the most bad-ass moments I’ve read in comics. When she rips the steel doors off their hinges like they were made of tissue paper and uses them to demolish a tank… well let’s just say you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to make a dramatic entrance to a room.
Faust’s reaction to this was probably my favorite moment in the entire issue. He just steps back from the monitors in the security room and deadpans: “Well, hmm. I’m out.” It’s the most logical reaction I’ve ever seen a supervillain have to a situation like this. You’ve got an angry, battle-scarred superhero in your front lobby beating your robot and supervillain allies into scrap metal and cowering shells of themselves. What are you going to do? You put on your jacket, you turn to your now former ally and say: “Good Luck, May the Dark Gods bless you, I am gone.” It was awesome.
The stakes feel real throughout the entire story, too. It never just becomes about Diana punching Shrapnel in the face. You always feel the tension and the purpose. The need to find and get to Etta is always there and the urgency is palpable. Zeus’ hijinks with his Manazons are still fairly disconnected from Diana’s story at the moment – although you know that’s where it’s headed soon enough. But with Hippolyta’s scene with the returning Amazons you can really start to feel the beginnings of a huge battle getting underway. Zeus may have plans to retire the Amazons and ship them off into the sunset but none of these ladies are going anywhere without one hell of a fight.
Genocide remains horrific. Gail Simone never shies away from making her villains truly villainous. This is a horrible, monstrous being who is unspeakably evil. She, or it, is a sadistic creature that really feels unstoppable. And now I’m wondering if there’s even more to it then just the unstoppable God of Genocide that Diana’s facing now. Morrow described the body that Cheetah had brought them to use in the creation of Genocide as a body that “even in death, it pulsated with energy. It actually glowed.” I’m wondering if this is the body of someone we might know. Of course then I started wracking my brain for incredibly powerful, dead, possibly-female villains that might have it in for Wonder Woman… Medusa? Granny Goodness? I’ve got no clue but I do know that a Gail Simone comic = creepy villain.
ART: 5 out of 5
I feel like I see something new each time I read through the comic. There’s another line on someone’s face as they set their teeth a little tighter while shooting a defiant look at their opponent. There’s the small, appreciative smile on Diana’s face as Steve hugs her and reassures her that this isn’t her fault. There is such wonderful detail on all the character’s faces that you can clearly see their mood in each scene without having to read a word. The look on Faust’s face as he makes his “I’m out” comment works so well. You can almost hear him delivering the line with a dead pan tone and perfect comic timing.
There were some especially great panels that I wanted to point out. Just before throwing her tiara at Cheetah and slashing her across the face, Diana looks down at her own reflection in the metal. When she turns and faces Cheetah you see cold determination in her face but in this reflection you see the sadness and weariness that she can’t show at any other time in this story. In the same scene there is also the recreation of the Max Lord neck-snap scene. Just by simply blocking the image correctly and putting her hands on either side of Cheetah’s head in just the right way, she doesn’t even need to mention the name in order for it to evoke some strong memories of a major event in Diana’s past.
Main Cover: 4 1/2 out of 5
It’s a little bit overcrowded on the cover but aside from that I liked it. The coloring was really vibrant and just leapt off the page. It could easily have been too much but I think they were able to pull off intensity without becoming garish.
Variant Cover: 4 out of 5
I’m really liking this series of alternate covers they’ve been doing for the past few issues. There are some really varied takes on Wonder Woman and I think it’s making for an interesting series of images. This one really features the lasso in prominence and has a lot of strength and sharp angles to it. I think it’s a strong image and I like it.
Wonder Woman (to Cheetah): “All right. You said it yourself. We’re at war. Do you know who Maxwell Lord was, Professor?”
Wonder Woman (to Cheetah): “As I said, I regret my actions back then. I’m sure I’ll regret this action as well, Cheetah.”
Akila: “We… we lost our path. We strayed. We stand defeated, humbled and naked.”
Hippolyta (handing her a sword): “You belong here by birth and will. Let this cover your nakedness, Amazon. Sister.”
Morrow: “And I’ll have you know I worked for a year building that tank. It was designed to survive a nuclear blast.”
Wonder Woman (throwing a curved chunk of metal into the wall beside his head): “You might want this back, then. I think it was the steering wheel.”
Wonder Woman (internal monologue): “I thought I was done with this. The rage. It could never happen again, I told myself. And fool or not, that is what I need to be right now. And Goddess help any living thing in my way.”