OCG Opinion: All Eyes on Her – Wonder Woman is the Book to Watch
This whole month we’ve been getting our very first taste of DC Comic’s new “Infinite Frontier” publishing initiative. Although the number of titles DC puts out every week has been noticeably slashed, there’s still a lot that we’ve had to take in. Almost every continuing title has a new creative team, and there are a good handful of entirely new titles to round out the release slate, so it has been a lot to keep up with, especially if you’re someone like me who is checking out just about everything you can hoping you’ll find that one title that just clicks with you.
Now, at the end of the month, I can take a moment to look back in hindsight and reflect on all the titles that DC has given us. Like I said, I’ve been looking for at least one title that just clicks with me, and after a month I can honestly say I don’t know if I’ve found it. Nightwing was great fun, Teen Titans Academy boasts a large and diverse cast, but I still have reservations about each of these going forward, and a great deal of other books either failed to wow me or leave so much yet to be seen that I cannot make a definitive judgement on any of them yet. However, I can say with cautious optimism, that there is at least one book that has me more than a bit hopeful to see something new and exciting coming out of this Infinite Frontier.
That title is Wonder Woman.
To give just a quick recap, Diana has been through quite a lot in the last year. After her defeat of the Darkest Knight, Diana transcended to the Godsphere in this month’s Infinite Frontier #0, and she was offered a place amongst the Quintessence, some of the most powerful beings in the entire universe.
Diana refused their offer, however, preferring her role as a participant in the world around her rather than as just a passive observer. After donning a new costume, Diana vanished, assumedly to return to the world she left behind.
However, it is revealed in Wonder Woman #770 that maybe that wasn’t the case…
–WARNING// Full spoilers for Wonder Woman #770 ahead–
Diana awakens and finds herself in the midst of a battlefield with nearly no recollection of who she is, how she got there, and, shockingly, none of her powers. She finds this out in the most unfortunate way when she dies on page three…
Fortunately, the story does not end there as Diana is resurrected, and we find out that Diana is in Asgard! Amongst other warriors feasting and toasting in celebration in Valhalla, Diana learns that all here are warriors who live and fight and die each day in an eternal cycle, training for the eventual coming of Ragnarok. It all feels very Edge of Tomorrow, as deceased warriors are returned to life by the unseen Valkyries to fight on another day.
Yet, something is wrong. We are shown that this realm is dying, and Diana knows that there’s a life she once had that she can’t remember. There’s a strange, imprisoned phantom appears before her every time she dies or sleeps, warning her of impending danger and the ending of the realm, and when her newest (and ridiculously, impossibly attractive) friend, Siegfried, isn’t returned to life, Diana decides to act. Determined to save her friend, and solve the mysteries of who she is and what’s happening to this realm, Diana sets out on a quest to discover just what is going on.
The set-up here from Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan is truly engaging, and I want to take a moment to look at this issue’s biggest pros.
Let’s start with the art because Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain do such a fantastic job making this an absolutely gorgeous book. Regardless of what the story is, there are just some art teams that will make you pull a book just because they are doing your favorite characters so well, and Diana has scarcely looked better! She’s in this new, Norse-inspired costume and it’s easily my favorite Diana look in over a decade. Wonder Woman and pants? Now you’re talking. Wonder Woman in sleeves, a cape, and fur? Stop, you’re going to make my heart explode!
This is a team that has me excited to go forward, because I feel they’re really going to make this new and unexplored world theirs.
Which brings me to the world! It is beyond exciting to me to see Diana out of her comfort-zone. We’re going God of War over here, taking this Amazon and throwing her into a realm of Norse gods and I couldn’t be more here for it. We’ve seen Diana tango with the fiercest of the Greek pantheon time and time again, and now we have the promise of potential confrontations and exchanges not just with Thor, but with the Valkyries as well! Valkyries and an Amazon in a single book; the very notion of it makes me so giddy! I believe this arc has all the potential in the world to give us something truly unique and memorable.
I do have a few points of concern that I want to keep on eye on moving forward, and that give me the slightest of hesitancies about next month’s issue.
First off, I have grown very wary of amnesiac stories. They are very rarely something I find myself satisfied with, especially when they are used to launch an arc or a series. That is because when I’m starting a run, I like to use the first several issues as a pilot, and I’m looking for specific things: the plot, the tone, and the character. I found the first two easily here, but with Diana’s memories hazy at best—it will probably be several issues before we truly get to see how this team handles Wonder Woman as a character.
Will we see the Warrior Princess? The Ambassador of Peace? Something new? Only time will tell.
Another concern I have is that this first issue really gives us now scope or clues for how this run will play out beyond this arc. A lot of times, when starting a run, a team will set up a solid foundation, and this can give you a good clue for where potential arcs can spin out afterwards. In this book, although it’s fun to see Asgard, dropping us right here gives us no clue as to what will happen next. We don’t know where the Wonder family is, we don’t know what’s happening on Earth, we don’t know what Diana’s role on Earth will be or even how long until she returns there. Will she return there? Is Asgard only a one-arc setting? So many questions left turning in my head.
I think back to the variant cover to this issue which shows us everyone from Cheetah to Psycho, and from Yara to Cassie, but after this issue I still don’t know whether or not any of them will actually feature in this run. I would like to think they will, but I don’t know what the status quo will be moving forward, and that gives me pause.
Yet, unlike a lot of the other Infinite Frontier stories, I’m leaning on the side of optimism here. There are places where we still get to see Diana in this issue even if she doesn’t know who she is. Her heart is there, her empathy is there, her spirit is there, and that’s a great sign. She is selfless! She even throws herself into the line of fire to save a complete stranger from an axe…it was just unfortunate she decided to lead neck-first into that action…
Also, although this first issue makes me feel like I don’t yet know what the status quo for this run will be as a whole, it gives me a solid enough base for at least the next four to six issues, and it tells me that this will be something worth paying attention to for at LEAST that long. Where it goes after that, we’ll see. This issue gives us plenty for the here and the now, and that’s enough.
Not even to mention the really wholesome back-up story we get as from Jordie Bellaire, Paulina Ganucheau, Kendall Goode, and Becca Carey about a young Diana as a little epilogue! Seeing Jumpa the kangaroo is good, seeing Megalodons is better, and, although it’s so very short, this story serves as the perfect, sweet bookend to the whole issue.
A lot of my anxieties when it comes to Infinite Frontier come from the fact that I still don’t feel like I understand what DC’s position is moving forward. I still don’t know if their “everything happened” approach is going to hold up, I don’t know what the state of the world or the universe is, and there’s still so many favorite characters hanging in limbo right now that I just don’t know when I’ll see them again, and that can be overwhelming. Yet, this one issue, although not perfect, felt very much like a DC book I could love. It felt like a DC book that has something new to show us with a familiar face, it gave me hope, and in a DC era where we currently have only THREE female-led titles…it means a lot to me that Wonder Woman was the one to give me that.
My fingers are crossed, what about yours?