Reviewer’s Note: This issue of Wonder Woman was first released September 27th, 2017.
In the months before the DC Rebirth relaunch, Wonder Woman and the Justice League were in The Darkseid War. During that war, she learned a truth from a dying Amazon, who coincidentally was there the day Diana was born.
Diana learned she wasn’t the only child born of Queen Hippolyta, but that she had a twin brother who was exiled from Paradise Island due to his gender. Since the conclusion of The Darkseid War storyline, that revelation has been pushed aside to allow the Rebirth relaunch to thrive… Until now. With a new creative team on the Wonder Woman book, we will finally learn of her brother…and the dark forces hunting him down.
**SOME SPOILERS BELOW**
Despite the title of the book being called Wonder Woman, the titular character isn’t in the issue for long. This issue is meant more to set up the antagonist, her goals, and the action that brings our heroine into the picture.
For this opening chapter, we have Grail, the daughter of Darkseid, hunting down the children of Zeus. Her most recent prey comes in the form of the legendary Hercules who isn’t going down without a fight. This leads to an amazing battle between the two demigods. And, without giving too much away, that’s basically what happens in this issue.
In terms of story, this doesn’t provide much in the terms of explanation. Only a person who has read Darkseid War is going to understand who this villain is. Even then, some might be confused as the character’s motivation has made so many changes that it’s a complete reversal of where she started.
The only actual part with Wonder Woman can be summed up with her punching out a bad guy then talking to a lawyer. This isn’t exaggeration either. Granted, this lawyer is a bridging device that will bring Wonder Woman into the plot, but in a book titled Wonder Woman, one would expect to her to be the focus of the story. She could have stumbled upon the battle and tried to help Hercules, only to swear to avenge him when Grail gets away. Anything would have been better than the story we were told.
Frankly, the art saved the issue even if it also had some flaws.
The pencils make the characters look fantastic, especially Hercules. I can tell Carlo Paguluyan did his homework when he drew the look of Hercules. His look is a recreation of the Hercules Unbound series of the 70’s. Grail also benefits from this art, making her look as terrifying and beautiful as ever. The colors of the issue are extremely effective in showing off the characters and their powers. It truly makes them pop off the page.
The real downside to the art is that there were some inconsistencies from panel to panel. It’s nothing that breaks the art as a whole, but small hiccups that build up over time. For example, Grail getting her ears pierced between panels. Another is Steve Trevor growing a five o’clock shadow, losing it, then grows it back in the span of three panels. This isn’t in separate pages either, its all on the same page.
While I am still excited for this storyline, this was not the best first step. The chapter was set up with barely any Wonder Woman. The art, while decent overall, has a bunch of hiccups that stop it from being truly fantastic. If you’re looking forward to this storyline, you could push your way through it to the next chapter. If you aren’t, I suggest skipping this one.