Spotlight Sunday 12.2.18

The end of an informal moratorium and the early days of a new creative team mean that there are spoilers ahead for…

Wonder Woman #59
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Cary Nord
Cover: Terry and Rachel Dodson
Rated T
$3.99
DC

 “He? Who said anything about a he?”

Back when the comic featured in the Spotlight was selected by the votes of readers, I ended up doing along streak of Wonder Woman stories. It wasn’t a great time to be writing about the adventures of the Amazing Amazon, frankly. The comics weren’t bad, exactly,they just weren’t particularly interesting, and I was bothered by the fact that DC hadn’t had the sense to have a woman writing the series. Given how rarely that’s happened over the years, the period following the success of the movie seemed like the ideal time to correct that imbalance. There was a very brief run by Shea Fontana, but it was mostly filler as they prepared to have James Robinson take over the series.

Feeling a bit burned out, once things changed and I was the one making the selection, I opted to take a break from writing about Diana.

During Robinson’s run, however, it was announced that Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson would be taking over the writing chores towards the end of the year.

Now that her run is underway, I’ve decided it’s a good time to check in and see how things are going. The short answer, two issues in, is “Pretty well.”

Last issue found Diana having a prophetic dream about Steve getting in trouble while on a mission in another country and, despite the objections of Etta Candy, who had called to inform Diana that the dream from which she just awoke had come true, she rushed off to his rescue.

Meanwhile, on Themyscira, we checked in on the cell, deep below the ground, in which the Amazons held Ares captive along with his new cellmate, Grail, the daughter of Darkseid.

The two weren’t exactly getting along swimmingly,particularly given that his time as a prisoner had apparently changed Ares for the better, leading him to regret the manner in which he had lived his life prior to his imprisonment. Seeking justice rather than release, Ares asks Grail to kill him, and she obliges. The death of the God of War causes a great disturbance across Themyscira, a disturbance, Hippolyta fears, that will go well-beyond the confines of the island.

Back in Patriarch’s World, Diana travels to the war-torn country in which Steve is missing. An oppressed minority, led by a brutal warlord, is in conflict with the brutal dictator who rules the country, a dictator who is supported by the US of A.

Steve has been either captured or killed by the rebels,and though Diana finds the entire situation, and in particular, America’s support of the authoritarian leader, distressing, her primary concern is finding Steve.

Still, while she’s not there to intervene, she does stop government forces from murdering a young boy, and while those soldiers talk about “monsters”that they claim the boy is hiding – it’s clear that this isn’t simply a dehumanizing description of the rebels – she doesn’t have time to find out what they mean.

We learn, however, that the soldiers were right: the boy is hiding monsters, or rather, mythical creatures such as a satyr, who have found themselves far from their home in Olympus.

Diana, meanwhile, finds herself face-to-face with a reborn Ares, who declares that he has changed his ways and, like Diana, he wishes to fight for justice and protect the weak.

That’s were this issue picks up, as Diana and Ares find themselves in the middle of the conflict, and though Diana is uncertain as to whether she can take Ares at his word, she’s willing to accept his help in bringing the battle – which is, inconveniently, preventing her from finding Steve – to an end.

Unfortunately, she learns that what Ares considers “justice” doesn’t really align with her definition.

As the government fires a missile towards the rebels, she and Ares fly up to stop it. While she suggests redirecting it towards an empty field, Ares has a different idea, opting to drop it on a nearby inhabited village.

“To turn the weapons of a tyrant against his own people…is there any greater poetry?”

Diana attacks Ares, accusing him of lying to her and not changing at all. Ares, however, contends that he hasn’t told her any lies.

Their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of American fighter jets, which Ares attacks. Diana moves in to rescue one of the pilots and is in turn attacked by Ares.

Elsewhere, the boy has led the group of mythical creatures to some ancient ruins where other such creatures are gathered and are holding Steve prisoner.

Upon learning that Diana is there looking for him, Steve attempts an escape, but is soon recaptured, and a griffon informs him that they are going to take him to their leader.

The hiring of Wilson alone was enough to send the “anti-SJW”crowd into fits, and it amuses me greatly that in her debut on Wonder Woman she’s telling exactly the kind of story that will make them even angrier, addressing the complex and unsavory foreign policy practices of our government. The nonsense argument that “Comics shouldn’t be political” is not only historically illiterate, it’s a disingenuous lie from people who are really saying, “Comics shouldn’t be political…unless they’re espousing my politics.”

It’s a promising start, focusing on the contrast between a simplistic view of justice and one that’s more nuanced but which can be just as imperfect in its application as a more cut-and-dried approach. It’s especially interesting, given that in the last issue Diana was accused by Etta of having too simplistic a view of the way of the world.

I mostly know Cary Nord’s work from his run on the Dark Horse Comics Conan series – and, by the way, I’m eagerly anticipating the sullen-eyed, iron-thewed Cimmerian’s return to Marvel next month – and while he’s a good “get” for this title, I’m not sure he’s the right fit, at least for some of the more modern elements. His style works well with the mythical creatures and the pastoral landscapes in which we find them, but he doesn’t exactly excel at the rendering of the advanced weaponry or the scenes of modern warfare. It’s a minor complaint, and he does have a good storytelling flow, but this issue also seems a bit rushed compared to the last, with a very loose style that isn’t always appealing.

(I am loving the covers by the Dodsons, however.)

We’ll see where this goes, but I like it so far, and at the very least it doesn’t have Jason in it.

Recommended Reading

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That does it for the Spotlight for this week. Be sure to come back next week to see what it shines upon.

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Published by

Jon Maki

Born and raised in the sparsely-populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Jon Maki developed an enduring love for comics at an early age.

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