By Gail Simone (writer), Nicola Scott and Travis Moore (pencils), Doug Hazelwood, Wayne Faucher, John Dell and Hi-Fi (inks), Hi-Fi (colors) and Travis Lanham (letters)
The Story: Wonder Woman must fight for Earth’s freedom in a one-on-one duel against the Citizenry’s finest warrior, as well as by outsmarting their leader— Diana’s own cousin.
What’s Good: This is the last—and, I’m happy to report, best—issue of this arc. Diana feels more like herself here, both in action and in dialogue. The resolution of the story makes sense and is satisfying enough. Hopefully this signals a return to form for Simone, who has been knocking it out of the park on Secret Six, but not so much on Wonder Woman as of late. Perhaps the new creative team is finally starting to gel. Either way, I hope this trend continues into the future, in better storylines.
What’s Not So Good: I think I’ve figured out the major problem with the three issues of this arc: the overarching storyline just isn’t very good. The Citizenry are not compelling villains. We fear them because we’re told to fear them and because they oppose our hero, but we really learn very little about them beyond that. The attempted solution, of course, was to throw in a family connection between Diana and the villains’ leader, but it is far too abrupt, and not nearly well developed enough, for the reader to invest any significant amount of emotion into any of the proceedings. It is, quite frankly, sloppy plotting that led to equally sloppy writing.
The artwork seems marginally improved, which is a positive step, but I still don’t feel comfortable putting it into the “what’s good” column yet. The action scenes are well done and the characters’ faces are fine when shouting or scowling. The major problem comes in when a character—especially Diana—is wearing a neutral or happy expression; they end up looking more like Barbie doll faces than real people. (This is especially true of Diana in the last couple panels of the book—ugh.) This book certainly has a large art team so maybe the issue is a clash of styles, or even a simple case of too many cooks at the pot.
Conclusion: This is the best issue of a weak arc that—I hope—bodes well for the creative team when they have better overall stories to work with in the future.