Wonder Woman #26 Review

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Posted July 14, 2017 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Shea Fontana

Art by: Mirka Andolfo & Romulo Fajardo Jr

Publisher: DC Comics

Following up an industry titan on a beloved character like Wonder Woman is a daunting task. There are few acts tougher to follow than Greg Rucka. But a book like Wonder Woman can’t just end when a creative team decides they’ve completed their work with the character. A new creative team comes with lofty expectations, considering the quality of this book since the start of Rebirth.

Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo meet those expectations in some instances, while falling short in others. Comparing the two runs, however, is disingenuous. Early in the issue, Fontana establishes a tone for this book that is distinct than that of the previous run. Additionally, she wastes no time picking up threads left by Rucka and co. Instead, she and Andolfo embark on a story that is wholly their own.

Andolfo’s art is a key tool in establishing the tonal differentiation. Her style is a break from the DC house style, and more cartoony. The result is characters whose expressions are even more exaggerated than normal. Romulo Fajardo Jr’s bright colors further amplify the book’s more lighthearted tone.

The initially light tone, however, is dispelled by the subject matter of the book. Conversations in the back half of the book reveal that Diana may be grappling with a form of PTSD. As a plot point, this is immediately intriguing. Stories about superheroes dealing with mental health issues are few and far between. In the hands of a capable writer, the concept could make for one hell of a story.

Unfortunately, the focus quickly moves away from this line of thought. One of the issue’s major flaws is that it feels very scattershot. Fontana jumps between a refugee camp, a military base, a doctor’s office, a flashback to Themiscrya, and a wedding, all in the space of 20 pages. Each of these settings features new characters, not all of whom are written as well as Diana. Transitioning never feels smooth, and each setting introduces a new element to the story.

In all likelihood, the scattered plot elements will become entwined as this arc marches forward. Regardless, introducing so much in so little space makes the issue feel more like a chore to read than anything else. Paring down the focus of the issue likely would have been a boon to its quality.

Fortunately, Fontana has a strong grasp on Diana’s character, both in and out of the costume. Her compassion comes across in a few different scenes, and the book opens on Diana fiercely defending those who need it most. These moments are powerful, despite feeling a little lost in an issue that can’t quite seem to focus itself.

Ultimately, I’m not sold on Fontana and Andolfo’s run on Wonder Woman quite yet. There’s a lot to like in this issue, but it feels bloated with too many distinct characters and stories, not all of which are handled with grace. The potential is palpable, and it’s possible that this issue just represents growing pains for a new creative team. I’m curious enough to come back for future issues, but that isn’t a ringing endorsement.

Wonder Woman #26



Wonder Woman #26

6.5

Score

7/10

Pros

  • Fontana clearly understands Wonder Woman
  • Andolfo does fantastic work on the art
  • A few interesting, unexplored plot points
  • Distinct from the previous run

Cons

  • Introduces too many plot points and characters
  • Poor transitions
  • Inconsistent writing



About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.