Wonder Woman #28
Writer: Shea Fontana
Art: David Messina
Cover Art: Jesús Merino & Alex Sinclair (variant by Jenny Frison)
Summary: This issue continues the “Heart of the Amazon” storyline, which is turning out to be a more involved and interesting arc. The story was a step up from last issue’s rather disappointing “twists” and gives more hooks to draw in readers. The characterizations are still at times….odd, but overall a much more solid installment.
What has gone: Diana’s new story kicked off with a bang (literally) in the last two issues, stopping a bomb at the wedding of Etta’s brother, Etta getting injured, Diana getting attacked. The newly introduced Dr. Crawford turned out to be dying and desperate, attempting to harness the power of Diana’s DNA to save her own life. She failed, leaving Diana with questions. The episode ends with Etta recovering in the hospital, along with some cookie therapy.
Where we are (possible minor spoilers): We open with Diana paying her respects to Crawford, then heading to the hospital to see Etta. Somehow we’re back in the States, after an undetermined period of time. Back at Etta’s home, she and Diana discuss Diana’s mission, whether her presence poses a danger to her friends, how hard Diana is on dishes….leading to a touching moment interrupted by bullets, fighting, and plot hatching. We meet a new antagonist, Mayfly, who leads with the “I only do this because I have to” line and indicates that Crawford might not be our only DNA-dipper. There is a new schemer in town and they really don’t like Diana. The next issue looks to pit Diana and Etta against a whole host of trouble, maybe learning more about their shadowy puppet master. Judging by the title of the story, we will continue to learn more about what drives Diana as an Amazon and as a woman, presumably beyond what lies in her DNA and her abilities.
What does it all mean (possible minor spoilers): I liked Diana’s characterization more in this issue, her desire to understand an unfamiliar world was better balanced with her warrior training. I found myself less inclined to raise an eyebrow at the dialogue and the motivation of the antagonists, though I do hope that everyone doesn’t end up being either tragically misunderstood or desperate. The fights were better composed and seemed to be there to complement the story rather than distract from its weaknesses. The art was more grounded, with a high-contrast style that gave the book a bold feel. It’s a solid style, figuratively and literally, with thick inking and flat blacks that might be off-putting for readers wanting more graduation in shading (I happen to like high-contrast styles). This adds to Messina’s ability to make Diana the centerpiece of each panel she’s in without being overt about it, in turn giving Diana a naturally strong presence throughout the book.
There were a few odd things that nagged at me throughout, particular in regards to Etta Candy’s character. I’m still perplexed that Etta has completely dropped mention of Barbara Minerva and her resentment of the others, particularly Diana, over her. I’m hoping this will eventually be dealt with, it was a major point for Etta, and it seems like a cop out to just drop it and have them hug it out and go on. There were other…nitpicky things, the entire beginning at the hospital was odd. For example, the hospital worker seeming to have no idea who Wonder Woman is but accepting her signature as official and releasing someone to her care? Seems like “Diana of Themyscira” wouldn’t be accepted unless someone knew exactly who that was. Why are they back in DC? Crawford had done crazy god-power imbuing DNA experiments on herself, so they……just ship her home and bury her? How much time has passed? Why does Etta have a sink full of dirty dishes if she’s been in the hospital and she’s eating take out? Individually these things are very minor, but together they chip away at the structure of the story. Details are things that give depth to a character and a story. Neglecting them for too long can make a story less unique and memorable, but throwing things in for the sake of having them can also confound the logic of an otherwise good narrative.
Conclusion: My problems with the issue were minor though, and take as a whole the “Heart of the Amazon” seems to be on a better track after this. This issue gives an indication that there is more to the story than one crazy doctor with the ability to harness magic DNA, which was much needed after last issue. I’m still having trouble reconciling the current characters with the ones we saw three issues ago, but the basics are still there. The art was solid, giving a weightier feel to the book and working well with the increasingly darker tone of the story. The story has taken a more somber tone, the art and writing reflected that. Overall a good issue and a much better installment of the longer story than the last one.