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‘Wonder Woman #762’ (review)

Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Carlo Barberi
Published by DC Comics

 

Uh-oh. I smell a placeholder issue.

Essentially, that’s what Wonder Woman #762 winds up being. In this part of the story, Etta Candy puts Wonder Woman and Maxwell Lord (they keep calling him Max, which gets a no from my old, comic book-reading behind) on the case to handle the hallucinogenic phenomena.

Talk about a mismatched buddy cop setup: Maxwell Lord doesn’t respect Diana and her god power, while Diana doesn’t trust Lord as far as she can snap his neck. (Or does that story line, from 2005 ahead of Infinite Crisis, not “count” in current continuity?)

Only thing is, we saw them do this in the previous issue. So it’s a lot of jogging in place. Even that issue’s conversation topics are repeated.

Diana and Maxwell still don’t know who the mastermind is, while we do: Diana’s new next-door neighbor, Emma, who says Maxwell Lord is her father.

However, we learned that from the final page of the previous issue.

So now we’re just waiting for her to (literally) run into Diana and dear old dad. Which, I guess, was the same as the last issue, but now she actually reveals herself and her nom de guerre: Liar Liar.

So far, I’m not impressed.

We don’t know anything about her yet. And don’t you dare think I’m going to take Liar Liar’s word for it that she’s Maxwell Lord’s daughter, either.

This confrontation, in another story, may have shown up at the start of this issue, or in the middle. Nope, here it’s the cliffhanger. Essentially the same as the previous issue.

The art jogs in place, too: Carlo Barberi Matt Santorelli are back on pencils and inks, respectively. I still don’t dig this ‘90s reboot with anime flair. The comic book posing lacks that necessary whiff of nature for something that isn’t going for full fantasy.

Most offensive of all is this rendition of Etta Candy, a fat, Black, queer, woman in this timeline. A lot of these criticisms are industry-wide problems regarding Black and other non-white characters, too, so buckle up.

Barberi and Santorelli fail to envision different, even generically Black facial features on Etta. She and Wonder Woman have nearly the same face. And they have no idea how to draw a fat body, let alone the particular way Etta’s fat may appear on her body. We’ve seen better from other artists. Etta’s hair – a mohawk with a rattail? – remains quite unnatural and bad, as well. Colorist Alejandro Sanchez can’t be let off the hook, either. Etta’s skin tones are just a touch darker than the white characters’ in this issue.

However, the splash pages of Amazons in full charge and Diana whipping out the bullets-and-bracelets bit are very nice.

I’m still grasping at straws about what Kamaki and DC’s senior editorial staff are really going for with Maxwell Lord in this story. He entered it fairly strong, as a criminal mastermind/mass murderer with mind control powers who figuratively and literally gets in Diana’s head.

But, with the previous issue and this one, the focus grows less and less sharp once the story starts bringing in stories from his other appearances in current DC continuity, none of which I have read. I haven’t kept up with the four or five (or more?) timeline shifting/continuity do-overs of DC since the New 52 revamp nine years ago, from all the “crisis” events to Doomsday Clock. The last time I read Maxwell Lord in a DC story was Blackest Night, 10 years ago!

Therefore, Lord talking in back-to-back issues about fighting the Justice League and seeing the Source Wall fall means pretty much nothing to me. And it doesn’t come through in the speeches or the art how psychologically devastated Lord is supposed to be (after extensive time reading fan wikis) about how he fails and gets unceremoniously killed in every timeline of the multiverse.

What does that fact really mean for him now, if he knows whatever plan he enacts leads to the same end?

I hope the story gets there.

 

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