ScarlettLynn is back keeping us up to date on all the happenings with everybody’s favorite Amazonian princess. I have to say, were it not for Scarlett’s reviews I wouldn’t know how good this book has been. So thanks again go out out to ScarlettLynn for going strong on the reviews.
WONDER WOMAN #32 – Rise of the Olympian, Part Seven
If I was trying to do the super condensed, running-out-of-time version of the recap for this issue, I could probably do it in just one sentence: Wonder Woman and Genocide fight! Because that really does sum up the knock-down, drag-out, kick-ass events of this issue. But if you’ve read any of my reviews before then you’ll know I don’t really do “super condensed.” So here’s the long, rambling version that I just can’t stop myself from writing.
Last issue ended with Wonder Woman making a vow to find Genocide and this issue opens up with the revelation that she made good on that promise. She and Genocide are in the midst of a brutal fight through the streets of Washington, D.C. Civilians and cops are trying to stay out of the line of fire as Diana and the monster throw each other into and through various cars and buildings.
While the battle rages on the streets below, Tom and Morrow arrive in a stealth Department of Meta-Human Affairs helicopter that has been outfitted with some weapons that Morrow has managed to get his hands on. In an attempt to help out Diana, Tom launches a weapon at Genocide. This results in not a whole lot more than creating a cloud of dust that Diana has a hard time seeing through and pissing off Genocide. Things weren’t going well before the boys showed up but now the situation manages to get even worse. They’ve gotten Genocide’s attention and that is not something you want to do.
Genocide throws a city bus full of people at the helicopter. Diana has to fight her way free from the creature’s grasp so she can rescue them. It takes her a split second to make the choice in the heat of battle and she goes to save the bus load of people instead of Tom. Tom and Morrow survive the crash but now Genocide has her hands on Tom. Despite all the cuts, burns, bruises and broken bones that get dealt out during this fight, the most devastating blow comes in the form of what’s to come. Genocide uses the power of the lasso to uncover a secret and prompt Diana to answer a single question: Did she ever really love Tom? It’s an emotional kick to the balls when she answers, “No. I did not.”
Forced to hurt the man that she does care about, Diana is pissed off. The fight heats back up as Diana uses her tiara to slash at the creature and break her grip on Tom. She flies with the monster in her arms out of the atmosphere of earth; ice forming on them both as they reach space and then fire encompassing them as they fall through the atmosphere on reentry. Still trading punches they slam back into earth like a meteor, fight through subway tunnels and then back into the sky. Diana is pretty sure she’s broken something and her right eye is black-and-blue and swollen shut.
As the the warrior and the god fight it out, Tom is embracing denial. He refuses to believe for a second that it was real. All he can allow himself to believe is that Diana’s revelation was a trick. Zeus, meanwhile, is also watching the battle play out. He is showing Achilles the fight so that he’ll understand what a remarkable warrior he’s going to be following in the footsteps of. Achilles is kind of wondering why they don’t just go help her out. Zeus rambles on about Achilles taking over and never really answers that question. Someone really needs to smack Zeus upside the head at some point in this arc because he is just making all kind of dumb, crazy-ass decisions lately. (Although sadly enough, those decisions seem to be completely in character for him.)
The final stage of Genocide and Wonder Woman’s battle plays out in the sky over the ocean. Moody, black storm clouds surround them as they fight. Diana is broken, bruised, cut, burnt and scarred. But she’s not down and she is Wonder Woman, dammit. With a last burst of strength and power she grabs hold of the strands of her stolen lasso and rips the thing right out of Genocide’s body. She watches for a moment as Genocide falls into the water – broken and unable to move – and thinks about just letting the monster die alone in the dark. She’s tempted to allow it to end like that. Yet she can’t bring herself to commit murder if there’s any other way and she dives into the water to get it back. Genocide, however, has disappeared.
On the shores of Thalarion, Ares meets with an Olympian traitor, Euphemus. He confirms that he recovered the body of Ares’ future queen, Genocide, and pledges his loyalty to the War God. Ares’ commands him, as the son of Poseidon, to command every sea creature to attack. He plans to destroy Zeus and both the Olympians and the Amazons forever.
STORY: 5 out of 5
It’s awesome stories like this that leave me pissed off that Warner Bros can’t seem to get a “Wonder Woman” movie made. How awesome would this fight have been on the big screen? Incredibly, massively awesome! That’s how awesome. This issue seriously felt like the big mind-blowing fight that caps off an epic superhero movie. The whole story felt like it had been building to this moment and it just totally delivered.
Yet, as bad-ass as the fight was, it wound up being Tom getting his heart broken that ended up really standing out for me. I think it’s incredible that it was the emotional punch that Diana dealt Tom that was the biggest blow delivered in this issue. From cover to cover the issue is pretty much a non-stop fight… except for that one jarring moment when Genocide calls everything to a halt and asks for Diana to tell the truth about her feelings for Tom. They’ve been foreshadowing something not-good in Tom and Diana’s future since Hippolyta appeared in a vision to him a couple issues back. I’d been crossing my fingers that everything would wind up working out for them but outside of joining Tom for a long swim in the river called “Denial”, I think I’m just going to have to accept that they’ve got a rocky future at best after this.
The whole thing was written so well. It’s complete payoff on the fight you’ve been wanting to see since Genocide first showed up and beat Wonder Woman. It’s Diana reclaiming her stolen lasso in the most fierce way possible. It’s the beat down that Genocide so richly deserved. I loved the way the fight was plotted out. It was dirty and messy and had them both evenly matched. One of the moments that I really loved was, in my mind at least, an homage to “Superman II.” When Genocide threw that bus at the helicopter there’s this moment where Wonder Woman looks on in horror and thinks “the people.” It instantly brought to mind the fight between Zod and Superman from that movie… and then instantly brought about my depressed rant about how we can never get a live-action “Wonder Woman” movie.
Seriously though… tremendous action, gut-wrenching emotion, total payoff of everything that’s been hinted at and a big set up for the final chapter in the next issue. Now if we could just get a mention as to whether or not Wonder Girl is still lying unconscious in a pile of ruble from several issues back then all my questions will be answered. (Aside from wondering what the heck is up with Crazy-Donna.)
ART: 5 out of 5
Page one and we are in the fight. Aaron Lopresti has to spend the majority of this issue drawing two characters beating the hell out of each other. Somehow he manages to never let it get dull. It’s a brutal and savage fight but he also manages to never let it just become gratuitous gore. (An especially impressive feat considering Wonder Woman stabs Genocide in the face with her fingers at one point.) Things definitely get violent but it never comes across as cheap.
There are some stunning hero shots of Wonder Woman throughout the issue. The fight scenes have a great sense of motion to them. And during the final battle, when Wonder Woman and Genocide are fighting in the air, surrounded by storm clouds, the setting creates this great moody tone. I really like the clean lines and clear art. You can see the detail of the battle and he makes it very clear so that you can follow exactly what’s going on from one panel to the next.
I love the way he can convey a character’s inner thoughts and emotions from the way he draws their faces. You don’t need a lot of exposition about what Diana is thinking and feeling when you can see a range of emotions play out across her face over the course of a couple of panels. There was also a great consistency in showing the toll that the fight was taking on Diana. From one page to the next you could see how much damage was being inflicted on her and by the end she really looked like she’d just gone ten rounds with an opponent who could have conceivably beat her. You don’t often see the heroes walking around with a swollen-shut black eye and it adds to the impact and weight of the fight she just won.
Main Cover: 4 out of 5
Oh, it is on! One look at this cover and you instantly hear schoolyard chants of “Fight, fight, fight!” There’s only one thing this cover makes you expect from the pages within and that is the mother of all superhero/supervillain smackdowns. And while both Wonder Woman and Genocide look ready to pummel each other, the ferocity that Diana is displaying is just off the charts. She’s almost snarling. The cover totally sets up a “this-is-going-to-be-good” reaction and that perfectly leads into what’s to come once you turn the page.
Variant Cover: 5 out of 5
The variant cover, this month, has moved away from the artistic depictions of the various images of Wonder Woman and has come back around to being about the storyline at hand. I like the previous type of variant art but I’ve got to say I like this even more. It’s still a beautiful piece of Wonder Woman art that focuses on the character. Now, however, it’s also a depiction of the warrior’s fury that she unleashes in this issue. Love the perspective in this cover. I think I’m going to have to start picking up a few of these variants.
Wonder Woman (to Genocide): “When we place your lifeless head on a pike, near our latrines… would you like to face east or west?”
Wonder Woman (thinking): “I heard a snap a moment ago. Not sure if its broken my collarbone, my morality, or both.”