Meredith Finch’s stories are too short. That isn’t because they are so good readers gnash their teeth in frustration at coming to the twentieth page of one of her Wonder Woman stories. Nor is it because David Finch’s art is so glorious that readers spend four weeks dreaming of more after finishing each issue of Diana Prince’s adventures. The stories are too short because they manage, in twenty pages, to say so very little.
That isn’t to say that Meredith Finch hasn’t settled into her themes. The various lines of development she has begun since issue #36 are continued here. Wonder Woman continues to struggle to find balance among the demands of her positions as god war, queen of the Amazons, and member of the Justice League. She continues to explore the implications of her relationships with her Justice League compatriots, especially Superman. The meaning of War, and what it means to be the divine incarnation of that concept, provides a theme in this issue. And family, its importance and influence, remains an important idea in the book.
No, the problem isn’t that Meredith Finch has abandoned any of her ideas. The problem is that she clings so tightly to all of them at once. She has no time to explore any one concept, or even any two. Rather, she spends the entire issue moving at rapidly from one plotline to the next, touching lightly on each in turn before arriving breathlessly at the end having done almost nothing with any of these interesting and important notions.
The book begins with the discovery of a new insectoid race that has been kidnapping and cocooning humans from the surface, evidently as a source of food. We learn next to nothing about them, as this revelation is only used as an excuse of Diana to become enraged and call on the power of War. She is stopped by Batman, leading to a brief discussion of very familiar themes concerning just killing. However, that is not explored, either, before she heads off to her home island to discover that her mother’s spirit has become infused into the fabric of the place. There is a very brief conversation about how her job as queen and god is to manage conflict, an idea once again unexplored, before she discovers that the political climate on the island is deteriorating, including the relationship between the Amazons and their Hephaestus-raised brothers. The book concludes when she confronts the Amazon council only to be challenged by the newly-created Donna Troy for leadership of her people.
All of that, and it’s not even dinner time yet. No wonder Diana’s feeling the stress.
Sometimes, a book needs to slow down to a walk and tell its story to full measure. Meredith Finch has fascinating ideas and worthy philosophical concepts. David Finch, Jonathan Glapion, and Sonia Oback continue to maintain standards on art. But it is very easy to say what this book is about, and very hard to remember anything at all that it has said. This creative team has shown they can tell a story. Now, they need to persuade us to care about the story they are telling.