While it talks a big game, this opening for the next Wonder Woman arc needs some work.
With the Dark Gods arc come and gone, a new creative team has stepped up to take over. Steve Orlando has now taken up responsibilities in writing adventures for Wonder Woman. His first issue set the tone for his run as it began to peel back the layers of what makes Diana Wonder Woman. It followed her visiting a villain she took down earlier in the series, eventually befriending her. It showed off the peacemaking side to the Amazon Warrior, which was refreshing after the dark stories that came before. Now we have a full arc that will team up Wonder Woman and Aztek, introduced in Orlando’s Justice League of America run. How will this classic and new heroines unite and against what?
**Some Spoilers Below**
During a raid with ARGUS, Wonder Woman is approached by Aztek with a new mission. She has had a vision that shows an Amazon in the heart of an ancient Aztec temple. When Aztek describes the Amazon, Wonder Woman realizes that it is her long-lost aunt. This convinces her to go with Aztek to the temple and defeat the evil that has her aunt. Realizing they might need a little extra help, however, Diana turns to Artemis, a rival Amazonian. Putting their differences aside, Artemis joins them, and soon the trio finds themselves in a labyrinth within the temple.
This issue is a very large information dump, but with little explanation. If you don’t know the history of Aztek, you might get a bit lost on the character. Same goes for Artemis, but at least with her, they reference the comics. We also don’t get a clear explanation of what precisely the titular “enemy of two sides” actually means. This is the first issue, so I expect some of the story to be revealed over time, but this honestly felt like a clunky read. I will admit, however, that the story’s legend of the lost Amazon, as well as the labyrinth, is intriguing enough to keep readers hooked for next issue. Hopefully, as the series goes on the story smooths itself out.
The art is a bit hit and miss to put it simply. There are times where the designs of the characters and setting are fantastic. They’re very creative and blends history and the paranormal in ways only seen in a Wonder Woman story. The flaws for the art lie in the colorwork and the layout. While it isn’t uncommon to push past the traditional grid of panels, but this issue has some strange layouts. None of which are consistent, causing the story to feel more and more clunky. The colorwork also feels just a bit off, causing the characters to feel flat in some places. There’s enough good to balance the bad, but both sides are very noticeable.
Overall, this opening issue left me wanting and not in a good way. I can see where Orlando wants to go with it, but the story isn’t quite there. An adventure that shows off Wonder Woman’s personality as well as be badass is welcome. I do see potential in this comic arc. It just needs to be cleaned up and focused to become a great story.