“The Fog Starts to Lift…” – Wonder Woman #771 Review
“Afterworlds Part 2”
Writer: Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan
Artist: Travis Moore
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Cover Artist: Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain
Variant Cover Artist: Joshua Middleton
Back-up Story: Jordie Bellaire, Paulina Ganucheau, Kendall Goode, Becca Carey
Last Time: After her decision not to join the Quintessence at the end of Infinite Frontier #0, Diana found herself on Asgard amongst other past warriors living out a daily ritual of war, death, and resurrection. Without her powers or any knowledge of who she is, Diana decided to play along, but signs that something sinister was afoot were everywhere. Warned of imminent danger by a talking squirrel named Ratatosk and by a mysterious figure in her dreams, Diana decides that it is something she can no longer ignore when her friend, Siegfried, is not resurrected from the battlefield by the Valkyries, his soul left to wander aimlessly. Seeking to restore her friend, her memories, and the realm, Diana has sought off in search of answers…
In This Issue: Her search for answers brings Diana face to face with some very familiar names and places within Norse mythology, and one familiar face from her own past. As her search progresses, Diana has come to believe that answers lie within the fortress of the Valkyries, and to get in she’s going to need a key. Unfortunately, the key is safe with a deadly keeper: Nidhogg, the serpent that lies in the base of the roots of the world tree Yggdrasil. To get what she wants, Diana will have to strike a bargain…and it might not leave her in the best of places…
The Breakdown: I’ve been critical of a lot of DC’s Infinite Frontier titles, and Wonder Woman is no exception to that. Although the first issue was among my favorite issues in March, the first chapter of this new run left me with some reservations. For instance, I’m typically not fond of the amnesiac hero trope, nor am I a fan of the depowered hero trope, and I felt it gave me very few indications for what this run would have to offer as a whole within the greater context of the Wonder Woman mythos. Yet, I believe it gave me enough mystery to get me excited and interested and to hold out and see how the next issue landed.
I am happy to say that what not only is what worked in the last issue is elevated here but most of my prior issues have been addressed in some way.
Getting to see Diana within the realm of Norse mythology is very cool and unique, and it gives the reader this opportunity to see her interact with these characters and foes that she really hasn’t seen before (per my knowledge). Anyone who is even slightly versed in Norse mythology will probably find moments and details within her to squeal about, and that’s something that’s always exciting.
These moments are really carried by the fantastic art team of Moore and Bonvillain. The world feels like it really exists in this otherworldly plane with these really beautiful hues and colors hanging on every frame, changing with every setting. Sometimes I feel that the shadows really start to become oppressive and I wish I could almost turn the brightness up because I want to appreciate these colors more, but ultimately this still remains one of the prettiest books DC has to offer at the moment.
Wonder Woman’s costume design here is one of my absolute favorite looks the character has ever adorned. Although I doubt it will last long after this arc has finished, I really, really wish it would. There’s a lot of fun little details in the art here that are fun to catch, and they really help make this world feel alive.
As for the story, we see a lot of progress made here in addressing a few of my gripes with the first issue. There is a surprising cameo here from Wonder Woman’s past that was nice to see, and actually lead to perhaps my favorite scene within the whole issue, and it made me happy because it gave this book a sense of connection to Diana’s past and anchors it in that mythos. I firmly believe that, when you’re exploring such new and unfamiliar territory, small moments like that can really go a long way. I also appreciate that the story is moving along nicely, we see elements of the Diana we know returning in both mind and body.
The new characters remain great and interesting, especially Ratatosk who is the most adorable sidekick that Diana has ever had. Nidhogg is an adversary that makes me feel uneasy and anxious, and where this issue ends leaves Diana in a very curious place with him that I’m excited, and a little mortified, to see unfold next month.
As for the back-up story, I truly wish I had more to say than, “The art is cute” but that’s, honestly, about all I have for right now. It’s gorgeous to look at, the art is adorable, I love the team behind it, and the story certainly feels more tangible and substantial here than it did in the last issue, it’s a fine enough back-up, but I’m waiting for it to become something that feels necessary. If DC is going to continue doing these back-up stories I would like to see them actually become something rather unique and special, but so far very few of them have managed to leave any sort of lasting impression on me and I hope that changes in the months to come.
Summary A solid continuation of last month’s mystery, Wonder Woman #771 improves upon the last issue and leaves Diana in an interesting place that leaves me excited to come back next month.