Wonder Woman meets new friends and encounters old foes in this first issue by the new creative team of Mariko Tamaki and Mikel Janin.
Wonder Woman #759
Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Pat Brosseau (letterer), Mikel Janin (artist), Mariko Tamaki (writer)
July 28, 2020
In Wonder Woman #759, they seem to be setting up a storyline exploring the concept of heroes and villains and the nature (and nuisance) of justice. Topics explored in many cape comics, but I feel hopeful from this opening that it will be done in a fresh way. The narration, by villain Maxwell Lord, poses the theory that despite the fact that heroes are assumed to always be fighting for “good”, they are really the same as everyone else; in that their fight for justice is really a fight based on their own, personal intentions, and those are never above scrutiny.
The book opens with a lot of momentum, both for Wonder Woman and her foil, but loses some of that energy as it gets bogged down into some scene setting that comes with a creative team change on a long running series for several pages. For example, as a reader jumping into the series at this issue, it felt a little odd to have four women helping Diana move into her new place without giving any of them a line of dialogue and providing no context as to who they were. All whilst Diana ignores them in favour of a new neighbour, not a great way to thank your assumed friends for helping you.
The momentum and drive, literally, picks back up as a trip for a couch takes a dramatic turn. In one panel, we see Diana taking off her high heels as she starts chasing after a car (what she was doing wearing heels to “definitely-not-Ikea” is perhaps another question). But it is refreshing to see small details like this, which ground superheroes in some sort of reality and make them a little more human. I for one, always appreciate them.
Janin’s Wonder Woman looks both modern and timeless simultaneously. He draws her in action beautifully, showing her strength and grace with a combination of fluid movement and powerful impact. His layouts in action shots are effective and well thought out, but there is a page or two with some questionable use of Ancient Greek motifs and gutters that seems unnecessary and a little messy. It is hard to tell whether Diana’s civilian wardrobe is supposed to read as a bit dated or if Janin has that common blindspot among male comic artists for women’s clothing, but I found it a little distracting.
Janin draws wonderful close ups and generally does a great job of facial expressions and effective body language, although the small child in the runaway car does look less like a toddler and more like a 40-year old man with a receding hairline and a job in insurance.
Jordie Bellaire’s colours, as always, are spot on. In the latter half of the book there is a subtle and slow build of red in the pages; as the sunset behind the car chase fades from orange to red, and the crash site is bathed by red light from the emergency vehicles. There is a brief respite of washed out greys before Diana is plunged into red and shadow as she crashes into the prison fight where a riot has taken over. The only exception is the glowing eyes of the mind controlled prisoners. The use of colour in this way goes a long way in creating the tension and sense of unease in the back half of the issue.
Overall, I enjoyed Wonder Woman #759. I think the creative team has set up a compelling story arc and I like that they’ve moved the book into a lighter, brighter aesthetic.